Need help finding care?
Step 1: Convince Your Parents They Need In-Home Care
Distrust, invasion of privacy, expense, resentment, and simply denial that they need help are universal objections conveyed by parents. This is a very common dilemma faced by families everywhere, so rest assured, you are not alone with your concerns and frustrations. Resourcefulness, persistence and especially pre-emptive strategic planning must be employed to succeed in getting your parents to accept care. Focus on achieving this outcome even if you have to employ some questionable tactics that enable your parent's to remain in their home.
Strategic planning might begin with confiding in your parents that you agonize about their welfare which causes you constant worry and uneasiness. You might say, “Knowing you have a caregiver helping you at home would be a huge relief and give me peace of mind”. Another approach would be explaining that in-home care is vital to allowing your mom or dad to stay in their home. You can reason with them by saying “I know how much it means to you to live independently, but without help, this will likely not be possible.” The long-distance family caregiver has even more justification for urging their parents to hire in-home caregivers.
More Negotiating Tactics
Emphasize that their preferences and needs are the main priority during the entire planning process for in-home care. Remark that “Mom, you can decide on the time the caregiver will visit and what outings you might like to go on.” Or “Dad, you can request the caregiver to make some of your favorite home cooked meals.” Persuade them to agree on a free in-home care assessment visit by suggesting “You can get checked out by the nurse and we can at least hear what they have to offer, but not commit to anything.” Negotiate with them to agree on a trial run by trying in-home care for a week or maybe on a very part-time basis initially.
Step 2: Take Advantage of a Free In-Home Care Assessment
Yes it's free, therefore be sure to take advantage of an in-home care assessment prior to signing up with a home care agency. Most agencies offer a home visit at no charge that is performed by a healthcare professional. The purpose is to evaluate your parent's needs and care requirements. It sends up a red flag when an agency doesn't offer a free in-home assessment or if it's not performed by a qualified healthcare professional. Reputable home care agencies understand the importance of building a trusting relationship from the beginning. The home assessment is expected to be scheduled for a time that accommodates your parent and all participating family members.
What to Expect During your Assessment
Initially the nurse or other home care professional will evaluate the overall health of your parent and care needed. The nurse will discuss services the agency will provide and the type of caregiver required based on the evaluation. Anticipate a plan of care will be made detailing specific services that are to be provided to ensure everyone is on the same page. The agency should make every effort to schedule services on days and times that coincide with your parent and family preferences. The professional should explain procedures for voicing concerns and making complaints should they arise. Contracts for care are signed and payment options will be disclosed when services are agreed upon by a family.
What is this "Plan of Care"?
The "Plan of Care" simply outlines the in-home care that is to be provided to your mom or dad. It details the schedule of services including days of week and times care is to be given. A thorough plan of care describes meal preferences, outings enjoyed, favorite skin products and special comfort measures. The agency should provide a back-up plan when the regular caregiver is unavailable and after hour emergency contacts. Your parent and family should be encouraged to play an active role in making this plan and receive a written copy for you to sign. Another copy is kept by the agency and distributed to caregivers participating in your loved one's care.
Step 3: Hire the In-Home Caregiver Best for Your Parents
CNA (certified nurse assistant), PCA (personal care assistant), helper, companion, homemaker are but a few names you will hear describing in-home caregivers employed by private non-medical in-home care agencies. However a CNA (or in some states a PCA) are specifically required by state regulations when your parent needs personal care. Personal care referred to sometimes as “hands on care” may include one or more activities such as bathing, toileting, grooming, exercising and transferring. A non-certified nurse assistant, homemaker, or companion can likely manage your parent's care when they need help with household chores, meal preparation, transportation errands and companionship.
The typical home care agency charges a dollar or two more for a certified nurse assistant (CNA) as opposed to a non-certified assistant companion. When your parent doesn't require a CNA to provide personal care and cost matters then save a couple of dollars by requesting a non-certified assistant caregiver. Dependable companion helpers that are compassionate, pleasant, supportive and encouraging are likely to be best suited for the job. Keep in mind that your parent's acceptance of care depends mostly and understandably on simply being comfortable with the caregiver in their home.
About the Author
Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 42 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.