What to Expect When You’re Expecting

what-to-expect

I would bet that most moms have read this book.  Back when I was pregnant it seemed like this was the ‘go to’ book to prepare for what was yet to come.  Personally, I remember reading and highlighting the pages, trying to ready myself for this enormous change that was about to happen to my life. I loved that book because it prepared me for the unknown. By the time my baby arrived I was armed with information- I was ready (or so I thought!).

On the complete opposite end of the life spectrum it seems like we are less and less prepared for growing old. It’s almost as if aging sneaks up on us. Maybe it’s denial that it’s happening, or maybe it’s because we are so busy thinking about everything else- but it seems like we could use a “What to Expect When You Grow Old” book?

If I were to write such book, I’d include a chapter on what to expect when hiring homecare. Hiring help in the home can be a wonderful way to ‘age in place’. People can receive care similar to what they would get in an Assisted Living, but in the comfort of their own home. And as with any new thing, it’s helpful to know what to expect.

Below are my top 10 tips on – “what to expect when hiring homecare”.

  • 1.Expect a to have an assessment the homecare agent will spend a couple of hours asking questions and gathering information on what exactly the client is looking for. They need all of this info so that they can then write up a plan of care tailored to the particular client.  This is also a great opportunity for the client to get to know the homecare agency. They can ask questions and learn more about who they will be working with.

 

  • 2.Expect several days between the assessment and when care actually starts. Many people assume that caregivers are available at a moment’s notice, but this is unrealistic. In some emergency cases agencies will be able to provide a caregiver with little notice, but for most clients finding the right caregiver, who has the appropriate skill set and availability, may take time. We’ve had clients expect care immediately- and when we aren’t able to provide that they move on to another homecare agency- only to have the exact same situation. Be patient… we want to make the best possible match and that might take time- but it will be worth the wait.

   

  • 3.Expect communication– the homecare company should communicate with you on who will be caring for you or your loved one. They should also communicate to you any changes in scheduling or concerns the caregiver has about the client’s health or status. They should be available 24/7 to answer emergency calls.

 

  • 4.Expect trained caregivers who are certified nursing assistants. If you are receiving 24 hour, overnight or live in care- expect that there will be more than one caregiver caring for you. It is impossible for one person to work that many hours!

   

  • 5.Expect the agency to do all they can to provide consistency. Expect that sometimes the same caregiver might not be available (people do get sick or have emergencies), but expect the agency to have a back up caregiver to provide service.
  • 6.Expect that homecare is paid for privately- or with long term care insurance.  Unfortunately, it is not covered by Medicare.

 

  • 7.Expect that the caregiver might not look busy 100% of the time. Many people hire caregivers to assist them with their daily needs and help with light housekeeping or transportation- but there will be some down time when the housework is done and the client is asleep or comfortable. The caregiver may be reading a book or watching TV. They are there and ready to assist as needed- but know that they may not look busy all of the time.

   

  • 8.Expect to be able to make changes to the schedule– you decide how much care you want, when you want it. Most agencies have a 4 hour minimum- but otherwise it is up to you to decide how much care is necessary.  As a courtesy, if you are cancelling care- you should call at least 24 hours in advance avoid being charged.

 

  • 9.Expect that English may not be the first language of the caregiver. In our 9 years of providing care we have found that some of the best caregivers were born in different countries. However, it is always our goal to hire people who can communicate clearly.

 

  • 10.Most of all, expect compassion, professionalism and respect. Expect a relationship you can trust. 

Knowing what to expect when hiring homecare can help alleviate any concerns. Having a realistic view of what to expect makes the whole process much smoother. 

Please let us know how we can assist you or your loved one. Capability Homecare strives to be an industry leader in providing safe, compassionate care in the home.

Call us today 425 679 5770.  

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Above and Beyond

Sheila

Sheila winning a door prize at the Alzheimer’s conference last year.

It’s important to highlight what makes Capability Caregivers so special. When you’re choosing someone to care for your elderly parents, it helps to know this person will go above and beyond what’s expected.

 

Take for instance our amazing caregiver Sheila.

Sheila has been caring for the same couple for over a year and a half. She provides live in care– meaning she spends 4 full days living in their home- helping them with day to day tasks (ADL’s) such as making meals, helping with bathing and dressing, personal care (assisting with toileting and catheter care) providing companionship and keeping them safe in their home.

She also takes them for walks, drives to doctor’s appointments, runs errands, takes out the trash, gets the newspaper each day, takes care of light housekeeping, keeps the kitchen stocked and more… all the tasks that we take for granted, but have to be done to keep our homes running smoothly.

Sheila has been a caregiver for 8 years- she is a trained CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and on her own time takes extra CEU classes to further her education and skill set. Last year I remember running into her at the Alzheimer’s conference- she had attended on her own so that she could learn more about caring for her clients.

Sheila says she loves working with Mr and Mrs S because she learns so much from them- they are interesting to talk to- and more importantly, they are still so in love with one another. Their love for one another brings a smile to Sheila’s face because she knows that she is helping them stay together in their home to live out their old age.

The hardest part of Sheila’s work day is recognizing that Mr and Mrs S both have dementia- and they are slowly slipping away from their former selves which makes Sheila sad.

Sheila’s passion is cooking- as was evident the day I went over to visit and interview her for this article. The house smelled delicious! She had prepared an omelet with green peppers, fresh cottage cheese with berries, sausage links, toast, coffee and juice (keep in mind she had no idea I was coming by, she cooks like that every day!).

What I noticed more than the amazing food- was that on the table were decorations for St Patty’s day. She had 4 leaf clovers scattered around, confetti strewn on the table, pictures of leprechaun and other little nick knacks on display. On a white board next to the table was written the day of the week, the schedule for the day and a little note reminding them that St. Patty’s day was coming up.

I asked Sheila about this- and she replied that she does this each month as a reminder to Mr and Mrs S about whatever holiday is coming up. It helps them stay in touch with the outside world and brings them a little joy. It also adds a festive element to their home- making it seem like a party every day!

I was so touched by this- because to me- it goes above and beyond what would be expected. She truly cares about Mr and Mrs S and treats them as if they were her own parents.  Her devotion to them is so evident in the loving way she cares for them. I know Mr and Mrs S (and their adult children) are grateful for all that Sheila does to help them live comfortably at home.

Sheila exemplifies the core values that we live by at Capability Homecare- honesty, integrity, empathy and compassion.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease

0039486-R1-018-7AThe Seattle Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Sept 20th. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and help fundraise for this terrible disease. Capability Homecare will have a team there this year and we are looking for your support. Please consider joining our team- or donating! If you are interested, click here.

Many of you know that my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. Over a short period of time, the disease  took over her body and changed her into a stranger.

My family watched as this incredibly friendly, outgoing, social butterfly turned into a shy, frightened and sometimes angry old woman.

Her easy laugh was replaced by tears and her friendly smile was replaced by a look of confusion. She knew something wasn’t right in her brain- but became defensive and angry when she recognized that she couldn’t figure things out.

It was heartbreaking for our family to witness. We tried to be patient, tried to not get frustrated that she asked the same question over and over again, and we tried to calm her fears by keeping things familiar for her.

Eventually, her disease progressed to the point that it was more than we could manage and we needed to find help.

In home care is a great option for someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  Being surrounded by things that are familiar and comfortable can help reduce the stress and anxiety caused by memory loss. Capability Homecare offers live in or hourly care to help families keep their loved ones safe at home.

We can help with:

  • personal care
  • housekeeping/ homemaker services
  • transportation
  • meal preparation
  • life enrichment
  • personal safety
  • managing behavior
  • ambulation and mobility
  • companion care
  • To find out more about how we can help you or your loved one, call one of our care advisors today-

    425 679 5770.

Questions About Homecare

Q. Who uses homecare services?

A. Our clients are seniors who chose to live at home (age in place) but need assistance with activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, helping with getting in and out of bed, meals, housekeeping, transportation). We assist clients who have Alzheimer’s or dementia- or any other debilitating illness. We help people who are recovering from a major surgery. We work with hospice providing end of life care. Some clients are in a skilled nursing facility (or assisted living) but need extra care and will use our services.

We provide:

Q. How much do you charge?

A. It all depends on what services you need. Typically, prices range from $26-$28 per hour, depending on your level of need and if Nurse Delegation is required.

Q. I’ve heard other agencies don’t assign caregivers, what does this mean?

A. At Capability Homecare, we are experts in recruiting and staffing and we take great pride in matching caregivers to our clients so that a trusting relationships will be formed.

Some agencies simply send out whatever caregiver is available that day- so the client never knows who will be showing up and a trusting relationship is never formed.

Q. Couldn’t I just hire someone privately? Wouldn’t this be less expensive?

A. Hiring privately is always an option. However,  Capability Homecare performs extensive background checks (both national and local), reference checks and interviews- screening out anyone who might take advantage or abuse a senior.

Furthermore, if you hire privately, you would  be considered the employer and responsible for paying taxes and insurance. You would also be required to handle all scheduling- and in a crisis or emergency, you might be left without care. At Capability Homecare, if a caregiver has an emergency, or is ill, we are able to replace them and make sure you have the help you need.

Q. What if I only need care 1 day a week?

A. We will provide care for a minimum of 4 hours. Sometimes all you need is someone to come in to your home, clean your house, grocery shop and prepare meals and that’s it. We will cater our scheduling to match your specific wishes. Each person’s care plan is designed for their needs, and all plans are constantly reviewed and revised by our director- who is a Certified Senior Advisor.

Q. What qualities do you look for in a caregiver?

A. Our company is based on core values of honesty, trust and hard work. We look for those values as well as experience, empathy, and people who truly love seniors. We look for people who speak English clearly and communicate well. We have extremely high standards and only hire approx 10% of applicants.  We take great pride in offering the best caregivers in the industry.

Q. How are caregivers trained?

A. Our caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants or have their Fundamentals in Caregiving certification. Many have additional certifications in specific areas such as dementia training. We require that they have hands on experience working with seniors.

Q. What sort of background checks do you do?

A. We do the following checks to ensure our clients are safe:

Washington State Patrol search
National Background checks that include State Courts, Dept of Corrections, Sex Offender Registries, Traffic Courts and County Criminal Courts
Motor Vehicle Reports
Washington State Dept. of Health credential verification
Employment verification and reference checks
Social Security number and work authorization verification

Q. Who pays for Homecare?

A. Homecare services are traditionally paid for privately. Because Homecare is considered non-medical is it private pay.  Some LTC policies cover it as well. For the most part, homecare is largely uncovered by Medicare.

Q. What sort of supervision/ oversight do you have for caregivers?

A. Communication is essential in building a relationship you can trust! Our caregivers are supervised by a Certified Senior Advisor- who regularly assesses and communicates with both the caregiver and the person receiving care (and/ or their family).  Once assigned a new client the caregiver undergoes orientation to learn about their specific needs and the care plan is carefully discussed. In addition, a notebook is placed in every client’s home that includes the care plan as well as a place to leave Care Notes after each shift. These notes are monitored by both the family as well as Capability staff. Furthermore, we have a telephonic system where the caregiver (or family) can leave messages with concerns or questions about the client. These messages are monitored and addressed daily. Our Director of Operations does unplanned home visits to check to make sure things are going smoothly- and to visit with our clients.

Q. What is Nurse Delegation?

A. Essentially, Nurse Delegation is when a RN delegates her skills (trains a caregiver to perform a designated task) to a caregiver (CNA) so that the caregiver can provide the services needed- for a much lower cost. See click here to learn more.

It is a cost effective option because instead of paying an RN’s hourly rate, the client can pay the caregiver rate and receive the same services. It is often used for administering medication, checking insulin levels, giving eye or ear drops, applying ointments, tube feeding, simple wound care or colostomy care as ordered by a physician.

In order to comply with State regulations, anyone needing Nurse Delegation does have to pay for an assessment by the RN before services can begin.

Q. What about Alzheimer’s Care?

A. Capability Homecare is passionate about working with clients with Alzheimer’s. Both our owner and our Director of Operations have personal experience with Alzheimer’s. Our caregivers are experienced and trained to work with clients who are suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Our goal is to keep seniors safe and in their homes as long as possible.

Q. What about Live In? What does this mean?

A. Many clients find that hiring a caregiver to actually live in their home is a better option than hourly care. Traditionally, 2 caregivers will work for the client- one will work 3 days on and the other will work 4 days. The client is able to stay home and age in place and someone is in their home at all times- providing care and companionship as needed. If someone is a fall risk, this is often the best way to ensure they are safe.

Q. I’m going on vacation and just want someone to stay with my mom for 1 week, is this possible?

A. Absolutely! That is what we are here for. Just call us in advance to give us time to find the best person to match your mom’s personality and needs.

Call us today at 425 679-5770, or check out our website for more information.