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Finding a Quality Home Care Provider – Checklist

Many people don’t want to imagine a future where they have to spend their remaining years in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people. The majority of people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, and this is possible with Australia home care services.

However, finding a quality home care provider is of the utmost importance. They will help with daily tasks or even specialist nursing care. This can make the difference between being able to stay in your own home or moving into residential care. Choosing the right home care provider is one of the most important things you’ll do for your future, or for a loved ones future.

All Home Care Providers must be accredited and operate under the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities for Home Care. However, not all are created equal. It will be a good idea for you to research and compare a number of aged care providers so you can weigh up the pros and cons of their services and find the one that matches your needs best.

Here, we’re going to give you some important questions you should be asking a home health care agency that you’re considering, as well as a checklist to help you find the right agency, and some tips. By the end of this article you’ll be well equipped to find the perfect home care provider in Australia.

Questions To Ask A Home Health Care Agency

So, let’s say you’ve looked through potential agencies and you have a list of those you are considering. You can now call them up or arrange a meeting and ask questions about their specific health care services, as well as the standard of the clinicians. You can start by asking things like:

  • What license does your agency have?
  • How soon do plans of care begin after being discharged from the hospital?
  • When developing a care plan for a patient, what is the evaluation process and how do you assign care givers?
  • Will a nurse or therapist consult the patients’ family and physicians?
  • How often will loved ones get updates and feedback regarding the progress of the patient?
  • How detailed will a course of treatment be?
  • What are your emergency procedures?
  • How often are care givers available? Is it 24/7?
  • How do you come up with a care plan?

Of course there are other things to consider when finding a quality home care provider. References should be available for you to see. You should also have a good idea of the types of services needed to ensure that they provide them – for example, physical therapists, occupational therapists, medical social workers, etc. Other services may include:

  • Companions
  • Speech language pathologists
  • Home health aides
  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Nurses (registered nurses and licensed practical nurses)

Once you have asked the above questions and you are aware of the types of services needed, you can use the following checklist to make your search easier. Ensure you know the things that are non negotiable for you so that you can make your decision. Some of the things listed are extremely important, so don’t underestimate them.

Provider Checklist

  • The provider is accredited
  • There are no open complaints being investigated
  • The provider publishes information about their organisation openly, and they also note their experience and values.
  • All of the care needs applicable can be met by one provider. For example, home maintenance and specialist services.
  • Training is in place for special needs for instances like dementia and mental illness.
  • When developing a care plan, they will involve my loved ones and will ensure they are informed if anything needs to change.
  • If I am eligible I am able to access subsidised home care.
  • The provider will help to set and achieve goals as part of the care plan. For example, improve mobility.
  • Periodic reviews are an important part of the care plan.
  • I am able to read reviews and testimonials that back up the satisfaction of existing customers.
  • A supervisor will oversee the quality of care at all times.
  • There is a clear process for handling complaints.
  • Procedures are in place for emergencies.
  • I understand all of the fees associated with the service, including set up and exit fees.

Carer Checklist

  • When selecting and training employees, background checks are conducted and the minimum qualifications are required.
  • Customers and carers are carefully considered before being matched. Interests will be considered.
  • I can request to change my carer if required.
  • I will have the same carer where possible.
  • Special needs and personal preferences can be met, e.g. cultural preferences.
  • A case manager will be appointed to me.
  • My carer will be punctual.
  • Carers can be flexible in the work they perform. E.g, if they have time they can read with the patient, make a snack, or hang out washing.

Other Tips For Finding A Quality Home Care Provider

Deciding to work with a home care provider can be a big decision. Finding the right one is crucial and it can be a big expense. You want yourself or your loved one to remain as safe as possible, as well as independent at home and comfortable. Below are more detailed tips for finding a quality home care provider.

Get Recommendations From People You Can Trust

Start by getting recommendations from people you feel you can trust. This includes both trusted professionals and community members. Doctors, attorneys, and other kinds of professionals can be great people to ask. Other medical providers may also be appropriate, as well as friends and family members. Doing this should give you a good idea of who is worth looking into and who is not.

You may be able to create a great shortlist by simply getting recommendations.

Know Your Liability

Ensure you know your liability when you look into home care provider services. You may need to consider things like taxes, insurance, liability and worker’s compensation, backup coverage, and even background checks/oversight and training. If hiring through a nurse registry or employment agency, the family may end up being the official employer. This means you will be responsible for pay, taxes and other obligations.

Alternatively, fully licensed private duty home health agencies offer more comprehensive services and protections as employers of the caregivers, so this is something worth considering too.

Research How Current Their Monitoring and Communications Technology Is

It’s a good idea to research how current monitoring and communications technology is within the company. Is it easy to monitor the care you or your loved ones are receiving? Can you speak to a care giver or manager whenever you feel you need to? These things can make such a huge difference within a care plan that they should not be overlooked when making your initial search.

Get A Feel For An Agency’s Process

You really need to have a feel for an agency’s process if you want to choose the right one. You must know who you’re hiring and get a feel for their process in a way that suits you. For example, are you able to interview potential care givers? You’ll also want to find out important things, such as how they handle replacing a care giver that isn’t right. How will they ensure coverage and accountability? How does the company train, supervise  and support staff? Will there be different staff each time? How many care givers will be on the shift? Finding out the answers to these critical questions will make such a difference to a care plan and the quality of life of the person being cared for.

Looking for home care Australia can take some time if you’re serious about figuring out an agency’s process, but it’s always worth it. These things set Australian home care providers apart from other elderly home care services.

Elderly home care professionals must have satisfactory processes.

Research The Company’s Involvement In The Community

Something else that can help you to figure out if a company is worth working with, is how involved they are in the community. Look at providers who have a history in the community and the industry and figure out which ones are really serious about the services that they provide.

For example, do providers get involved with national associations like the Alzheimer’s association? Involvement in causes such as this will demonstrate passion and dedication for their field. This is what you want!

Whether you’re looking for in home care Sydney or home care in another location, a history in the community shows they are committed, stable, and have a positive reputation that they care about protecting.

Evidence of work in the community for great causes is a wonderful reason to choose a home care provider offering their home care services in sydney.

Australian home care services all differ, but you can feel confident you’ve found a home care place with clear morals and values when you can see they volunteer their time in the community.

If The Care Is Not For You, Discuss With Your Loved One

The care services you are looking at may not be for you, but a loved one. In this case, fully involving the person is paramount to their happiness and quality of life. It will also ensure adherence to any care plan they are given. They will be less likely to fight against anything they are told they must do to enrich and improve their life.

Many companies don’t achieve this, even if they do have the person to be cared for’s best interests at heart. They can have all of the best interests at heart in the world, but without discussing it with your loved one you may be doing them a disservice. Your loved one will be far more likely to accept help when they feel more in control, so bear this in mind as you look through providers and consider the care that will be required. If they are able, they may be able to give you some of their own thoughts and opinions on the subject.

It’s also important that you understand the differences between care so you can figure out whether they need low level hourly care or 24 hour live in care. Make sure you also discuss this with your loved one.

Search The Website For Accreditations and Awards

The website of a home care provider is a place you can find a lot of the necessary information before you even decide to have a meeting with any of them. Searching the site could help you to answer some of your important questions in advance, as well as find accreditations and awards that could potentially help you to make your decision.

Accreditations are a must, and awards show that a home care provider is doing their job to an incredibly high standard. For finding the highest standard of care, ensuring awards will help.

Make Sure You Have Plenty Of Time To Ask Your Questions

When you still have questions to ask home care providers, make sure you can set up a meeting with them and that you have plenty of time. You should not feel rushed, or be made to feel bad for asking a question. It is your right to have all of your questions answered so you can feel that you/your loved one is getting the best quality care.

Even if you have found answers on the website as mentioned earlier, confirming the answers to certain questions in person may give you peace of mind as well as a more detailed answer. Don’t be afraid to take a notepad and pen so you can look back on the answers later, and perhaps even compare answers from different care providers. This is an important decision and you really can’t be too meticulous.

Make Sure There Is On Call Support

Ideally, there should be an on-call professional available 24/7. This includes evenings, holidays and weekends to respond to emergencies or changes. You never know when an emergency may occur or something that requires an important change, so ensuring somebody will be available to talk to you will help you to navigate these situations.

Ensure The Client And Care Giver Are Carefully Matched

The client and care giver should always be carefully matched. No client should be paired with a care giver willy nilly, or given numerous care givers in such a way that they aren’t able to build a good relationship with them.

The client and the care giver will often be working closely together to achieve different aims, so things like cultural preferences and even interests should be taken into account. Plus, it’s imperative that a client should be able to change a care giver if they feel they need to.

Find Out If The Company Performs Regular Quality Assurance Checks

A company should perform regular quality assurance checks to ensure clients are receiving the appropriate level of care at all times. They should have procedures to monitor the quality of the service and care provided, and you may need to ask targeted questions to find this out.

Will they contact the client early on to check that the care is working for them? Will they send out Satisfaction surveys? Do they care about feedback? Are they happy to work alongside other health professionals, such as mental health professionals? These things are key!

You’ll also need to find out whether they monitor key events and incidents, and regularly pop in to support staff and ensure the client is ok. Unannounced spot checks are also a bonus. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how well trained staff members seem to be – things can go wrong. If things like unannounced spot checks aren’t put in place and feedback from the client isn’t prioritized, care may not meet the high standards expected of the client.

You’ll want to check how often are care plans reviewed and updated to ensure that up to date treatment is always received.

Take Advantage Of No Obligation Meetings

As a general rule, you will be able to take advantage of no obligation meetings with home care providers before you make your decision. These meetings can be used to ask questions and ensure you are going to gel with this company, and that you’re confident they are going to do what’s best for you or your loved one. If you don’t feel comfortable you are free to stop the process at any time.

As previously mentioned, you may find it helpful to take notes at these meetings so you can compare the various home care services later on.

Conclusion

If you’re searching for high quality home care for yourself or for a loved one, making sure they are right for your needs is key. Using the checklists found here, as well as the example questions and tips will ensure you end up with the best in home care service imaginable.

Not all home care providers in Sydney are created equal, so ensuring you ask for recommendations and check accreditations is key. It isn’t all about qualifications and awards, though; you need to make sure your needs are going to be met and continue to be met throughout the course of care, even if those needs change.

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