Roles and Responsibilities of Home Care Professionals
When it comes to the health care of a loved one, you want the best treatment possible. Whether you or a family member need temporary in-home care in Lafayette, or full time senior home care in Walnut Creek, you expect experienced, professional caretakers. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of a home health caregiver will assist you in choosing the best agency for your needs.
Care Should Match Needs
Some seniors are capable of caring for themselves, yet they may require assistance with daily needs, such as bathing, housekeeping, meal planning, medication reminders, or even pet care. Others may be recovering from hospitalization or suffering from a long-term illness and require more extensive care. The goal of home care is to provide the opportunity for seniors to stay in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
- Check with the agency to see what level of care is offered. Some agencies provide non-medical services only; however, their caregivers are trained to take vital signs and help with medications.
- Some agencies also offer transportation services.
- Agencies offer services in 30-minute to 24-hour options.
- Live-in care and 24-hour care are not the same, and are billed differently. Live-in caregivers reside in the home and serve in a safety and companionship role, sleeping when the client sleeps. The client is charged by the day. Not all agencies offer live-in care providers. With 24-hour care, the client is charged by the hour. The caretaker never sleeps, and works in 8- or 12-hour shifts, rotating with other caretakers employed by the agency.
Choosing the Right Provider
Find the names of potential home care providers through reliable online sources, including the Medicare website and the National Home Care & Hospice website. If your loved one has just been released or will soon be released from a hospital, check with the social worker or discharge planner for reputable home care service providers, or check with a physician. To ensure quality of care, also check for the following:
- Find out the length of time the agency has been in business.
- Understand the process used to hire caretakers, and ask for documentation of any training provided.
- Verify that caretakers are adequately supervised, and their work is evaluated on a regular basis.
- Fee structure should be clearly understood and provided in print form.
- The caretaker should provide a list of references.
Licensing and Certification
A California law that went into effect on January 1, 2016, requires senior home care workers to be state-certified if they are employed by a non-medical, licensed home care service provider. A criminal background check is also required. Home care agencies who provide non-medical home care services must be licensed through the California Department of Social Services.
The agency is responsible for ensuring that the certifications of their workers are up-to-date and a thorough background check was conducted. As the client, you have a right to see the results of that background check before accepting the caretaker into your home. Here are additional responsibilities:
- The agency should insure the caretaker to protect you from liability should he or she be injured in your home.
- The caretaker is hired by the agency, and their wages are paid by the agency. The agency is also responsible for withholding Social Security, unemployment, and other taxes, in addition to maintaining accurate records of their employment.
- The agency supervises the caretaker and ensures the employee is following guidelines and adhering to standards.
- The agency should offer a consultation to determine the level of care you are expecting, and match a caretaker with your needs.
The caretaker should be trained to handle the level of care agreed upon, and should also be familiar with standards and regulations. In addition:
- The caregiver will likely assist with personal daily care, such as bathing and dressing.
- Caregivers may assist with meal planning and preparation.
- Light housekeeping duties usually fall within a home care professional’s duties.
- Most are trained to provide basic medical assistance such as vital signs and medication reminders.
- Some provide transportation to and from medical appointments or errands.
- Companionship is an important aspect of the professional caregiver services.
The role of a professional home care provider is to ensure a safe environment for the client. If you feel the caregiver is not performing to expected standards, or if you are concerned about the caregiver’s behavior, contact the agency immediately and report your concerns.
For more information regarding professional home care in the Berkeley area, contact 24HR Home Care via our toll-free number, and speak with one of our trained client representatives.