It is a difficult time when it is realised that a loved one can no longer manage on their own. Once that period of acceptance is navigated and you’ve decided that home care is the most appropriate form of help, you need to invest some time in finding a care agency. It is important you are completely happy with the agency you choose as you are entrusting a loved one to their care. Here are the major considerations of finding the best care agency where you live:
Decide what kind of help is required
This is the first step because this is the key criteria on which you will select an agency. Any agency that cannot meet the list of requirements can be immediately ruled out. The main things to note are:
- What tasks/areas do you need help with
- How often do you need help?
- What times of the day is the help needed?
- Are there specific activities you want them to help with
- How much help can your budget afford?
This brings us to …
Know your budget
One way of distinguishing between different care agencies that offer at-home senior care, or care in your particular area, is the price they charge. Do some research by checking out some basic prices for care agencies in your area. Also, understand why some prices vary – what do you get extra if you pay more? And, while on the subject of budget, it is always worth investigating if your loved one is entitled to any financial assistance for healthcare. Enquire with your local authority.
Make a shortlist of agencies
You can start with a long list and narrow it down or you can cherry-pick a few agencies. One vital thing to do when making this list is to check that the agency is registered with the Care Quality Commission or is a member of the home care association. This is some surety that the agency is legitimate, regulated, and has standards of care. Also, check online for any reviews. If someone takes the trouble to leave a review it is worth reading what they say. Be circumspect with the reviews – one bad review should not condemn an agency with an otherwise good record.
Interview the Agencies
This is best done in the home of the patient-to-be as the agency representative will be able to see the environment in which the care is to be provided. The interview is the time to explain what you want from the agency but also the chance to find out if they are a good fit for what you want. Make a list of questions and ask each agency you interview the same questions. Which – the UK consumer association – has an excellent list of questions that you can download.
Observe and Review
After you have engaged an agency, follow up by checking in with your loved one as to the standard of care they are receiving. Also, visit occasionally when the caregiver is there to see them in action and see how they interact with your loved one. Contact the agency immediately if things are being missed or there is any deficit in the care you are paying for and that which is being provided.
Take the time to find the right agency and do not be afraid to change agencies if one doesn’t work out. The prime consideration is that your loved one gets the best care you can afford.