Selecting an in-home carer is a highly personal and potentially emotive decision. Ensuring the person is trustworthy and has the right experience are a given, but the key question then arises, is your carer doing a good job?
There is no one set of criteria you can use to measure this, for what is “good” for one family, might not be good for another.
Here are some general guidelines you can follow.
At Careseekers, we recommend you establish a care plan, and ensure it is followed. It is important to establish what tasks you need a carer to do each day. These may include bathing, toileting, washing, cleaning, and/or cooking.
Dr Katherine Smith, GP Registrar Primary Care at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, suggests asking the following questions:
1. Does my loved one appear safe?
Look for any behavioural changes from your loved one, such as withdrawing, or a reluctance to talk. Ask them from time to time if they are happy with the care they are receiving. Additionally, ask if there is anything they would like to change?
2. Is my loved one experiencing maintained or improved mental well-being?
According to many families, the reason they hire in-home care is to maintain the independence of a loved-one, by keeping them connected to their community and established rituals. Family members should determine if their loved one is getting continued quality of life, or indeed, is it noticeably improved?
3. Is your carer open and communicative?
This will assist in hand-overs, and ensuring that any changes are anticipated and managed in advance.
4. Does the carer seem attentive to your loved one’s needs?
Is your loved one clean and being looked after when they need it? Are they attending their outings or appointments? Does the carer work calmly? Do they ask the family questions so they can establish a rapport with the person they are caring for?
5. Are they reliable?
Do they show up to the house on time and ready to work? Do they seem dedicated and willing to offer help?
At the outset of any relationship, Careseekers recommend you be aware of the insurance policies that cover your carer, as well as their training.
Importantly, always undertake background checks of your caregivers. References from third parties will help you decide if a carer is going to be a good fit for your ageing parent and really help you answer is your carer doing a good job?
The original version of this article appeared on careseekers.com.au. Reproduced with permission.
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