Being a family caregiver requires a generous amount of time and you may not be able to do everything all the time. There may come a time when you recognize you require outside help for your loved one and hire a caregiver. Before taking that next step, you should understand the differences in care, what to look for in a caregiver, and how to find one.
Types of Home Care Workers
A few types of paid in-home care workers offer a whole range of services, from skilled healthcare to helping around the home.
Some types of home care workers include:
Home Health Aides (HHAs)
- Monitor your loved one's condition
- Assist with daily living activities like using the bathroom, dressing and bathing
- Check vital signs
- Offer companionship
- Prepare meals
- Do light housekeeping
Personal Care Aides (PCAs)
PCAs are not licensed and come with varying levels of training and experience. They serve as companions and helpers, and:
- Engage in conversation
- Bath and dress your loved one
- Prepare meals
- Provide light housekeeping
- Participate in neighborhood walks
They might also provide transportation to appointments, shopping, and picking up prescription medications.
Registered Nurses (RN)
RNs hold an associate's degree in nursing or a nursing diploma. They have passed the National Council Licensure Exam that the National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers. They have met all licensing requirements for their state's nursing board mandates.
RNs providing important healthcare duties. Some of the duties they perform are to:
- Administer medications
- Provide direct care
- Operate medical monitoring equipment
- Advise family members
- Assist physicians in medical procedures
Skilled Nursing Providers (aka Licensed Practical Nurses)
They are licensed by states and meet federal standards for safety and health. They assess, manage, and observe the patient's care while providing direct care that cannot be performed by nonmedical and home health aides.
Skilled nursing providers:
- Administer IV medications
- Administer shots and tube feedings
- Provide diabetes care
- Change wound dressings
- Educate patients and caregivers
What To Look For In A Caregiver
Some things to look for in a caregiver are:
- Compassion: When a person has compassion for another person, they know what that person is going through.
- Patience: Caregivers must be patient and understand there might be changes to plans, hesitation at times from the patient and that things might not go as fast or as smoothly as planned.
- Dependability: Individuals who require home care do not typically require it sporadically. They typically require it regularly, therefore it is important the caregiver is reliable and dependable and will show up to care for your loved one.
- Attentiveness: It is essential the caregiver is attentive to the changes and needs taking place. When they are attentive, they will notice when there are physical and emotional changes in the patient they are caring for.
- Trustworthiness: Caregivers are often allowed access to the patient's belongings so it's essential they're someone who is trustworthy and won't breach that trust.
How To Find A Caregiver
Some ways to find a caregiver are:
- Asking for referrals from individuals you trust and know in the medical community
- Asking for referrals from friends currently using a caregiver
- Letting individuals know you are looking to hire a home care worker
- Placing an ad online or in the newspaper
- Contacting your community Area Agency on Aging
Home care services are growing more than ever as more individuals find them to be an affordable option of caring for those needing assistance at home. Be sure to consider you’re your family member’s needs, your budget, and the caregiver’s references before hiring anyone. The right home care worker will make all the difference in how the home care turns out and how your loved one receives the care they need.