There are a number of reasons a person might be in a position of needing a little extra help around the home, personally or for a loved one. For the purposes of this article Well-Being focused on the kind of help one might require after a hospital stay from an illness or injury, when recuperating from surgery, or for someone who is growing older and needs more help with the tasks of daily living and/or with the management of medications or other medical treatments or therapy. So where do you start?
Southern Healthcare is a Mississippi-based healthcare staffing company located in Ridgeland that provides home care and other professional staffing services. Well-Being spoke to Josh Young, Chief Financial and Operations Officer of Southern Healthcare for insights into how to best approach the task of finding a home care company to provide for your loved one’s needs.
“Before we begin any new case, we have an RN (registered nurse) perform a nursing assessment on the person to determine the level of care that is needed,” describes Mr. Young. “We provide a CNA (certified nursing assistant) if the person only needs help with their activities of daily living. We choose to use CNAs for all sitter positions because they have a certification in medical care. We provide an LPN (licensed practical nurse) if the person needs a higher level of care such as monitoring vital signs, medication administration, wound care and dressings, ventilator care, and feedings through gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes). We provide an RN if the person needs an infusion, PICC line or one of the more advanced IV therapies.”
Generally speaking, a home caregiver should assist with the everyday tasks that a person does throughout the day, and if required, provide a higher level of care relating to medical issues. Basic duties include meal preparations, cleaning, transportation to doctor’s appointments, hygiene maintenance and companionship. It should be noted that there are a couple of areas where expectations can be unrealistic unless the degree of services to be provided is specified in advance of any contractual agreement being finalized. Caregivers provide basic meal preparations for the person, but they don’t provide large home-cooked meals for the entire family. Also, caregivers provide basic cleaning to maintain a clean living environment, but they are not responsible for large projects like spring cleaning of the entire house. Make sure that you are clear on what the caregiver is expected to provide so there are no misunderstandings.
When looking for the right home care company, there are some criteria you should look for.
“You want to find a service that carefully vets its employees to be sure that the person to care for your loved one will adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and honesty,” notes Young. “Always ask for prescreening and background checks that the company requires of their employees to make sure they have a strong vetting process in place. Our company, for example, requires rigorous screenings that include FBI fingerprinting on all individuals and extensive skills assessments followed by pre-employment interviews.”
“Certifications also are very important, and you should ask for them when shopping for a home care provider,” he continues. “There are many different certifications available so each one should be researched to know the standards they require. You want to use a company that operates under industry standards. Certifications ensure they are held accountable to those standards.”
Once you have determined the level of professional care needed and settled on a home care company, you should ask to interview several candidates so you can be assured of a good match between the person needing help and the caregiver.
Knowing that a loved one is safe, secure and well cared for at home can provide a great sense of relief for family members and friends. Finding the right caregiver is a challenging responsibility, but is well worth the time it takes to find the right fit, professionally, economically and emotionally, for the one you love.
The following is a checklist of questions to ask providers and individuals who may know about the provider’s track record. Their insights will help you determine which provider is best for you or your loved one.
In addition, ask the home care provider to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members, and community leaders who are familiar with the provider’s quality of service. Source: National Association for Home Care & Hospice
Southern Healthcare, located in Ridgeland has been a leader in healthcare staffing in Mississippi since 1993. It employs experienced specialists who match the right professionals for the specific needs of those seeking home care services for themselves or a loved one. Southern Healthcare is the first healthcare staffing agency in Mississippi to earn certification from the Joint Commission for their excellence in providing healthcare staffing services.