Judson Haims: What to look for in the company behind the caregiver | AspenTimes.com

Judson Haims: What to look for in the company behind the caregiver

Judson Haims
Special to The Aspen Times

Whether you are looking for a home care provider here in Colorado or another state, finding the best agency involves more than just a phone call. You need to learn about their services, reputation and values.

You are not just buying a product. You are buying services that are deeply personal. That is why it is vital to know the company that stands behind the caregiver who eventually comes into your loved one's home. As you consider different home care providers, consider the provider's values as a measure of the care they deliver. By seeking a company with high standards and sound values, you are likely to find the caregivers they employ are competent, compatible and compassionate.

Reputation Speaks Volumes

A provider's reputation speaks volumes. Quality agencies perform comprehensive and routine background checks to ensure their caregivers are vetted properly and suited for the intensely personal and often difficult tasks. Caregiver turnover also is important to know about. Companies with high caregiver turnover and caregivers who are not monitored for their prompt arrivals and departure should be avoided.

Find out how long the company has been in business and inquire about what the company does to be a part of the community. Company stability and community involvement lends to creating a quality and reliable workforce that will be loyal and committed to establishing a successful relationship with the client — and the client's family.

The Quality of Care

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Going with the lowest bidder may incur costs not measurable in dollars alone. While it is normal for our loved ones to worry about the cost of care, be wary of companies whose rates are far below other providers or a lack transparency about the real costs. Consistency of care is essential to superior home care. A revolving door of caregivers in your home is a red flag. An agency that promotes a consistency of caregivers and regularly trains its staff to evolve will ensure proper care and advocating.

Listening to Learn

When you are still getting to know a home care company, you want to see that they are listening to what you are saying — about your loved one's needs and your own. You want to know they value your input because your involvement may not just end when a professional caregiver enters the home. It is critical that the incoming caregiver recognizes this fact and affirms the value of your ongoing insights and partnership. Adding a professional caregiver to the team requires a blending of personalities and efficient communication. Listening to learn from one another is key to preventing significant conflicts and providing an optimal environment for care.

Flexible Care Options

A company with a long history of serving seniors and their families understands the unique needs of aging seniors and providing different levels of care. Your aging loved one may only need light assistance around the house for just a few hours a week. As the needs of care evolve, the provider can present an idea for increasing the level of care in a way that is respectful to the family and understanding of cost and their dynamics. Partner with a company with a long-standing reputation for delivering exceptional care and you will experience a more personal and rewarding caliber of care.

Education Matters

Training is vital to developing and retaining a strong workforce. Make sure the home care companies you are reviewing have an active educational component. A company that prioritizes continued professional development provides professional caregivers who will be prepared for a variety of needs and ultimately add value to your family's caregiving situation. Consider an agency whose caregivers receive specific training in dementia, fall-prevention strategies and social isolation remedies. This demonstrates a commitment to a higher standard of care.

Serves the Whole Family

Does the company recognize that a professional caregiver is there to support and serve the whole family, not just the senior? Do they stress the importance of advocating and fostering clear communication among caregivers and medical providers for the best success? Home care is a collaborative affair, so consider a company built on a collaborative, family-focused foundation.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. He can be reached via http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.

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