We asked you, you told us. Here are the answers to the most important question we asked you in our elder care survey.
Over the past 24 months, Life Force, a provider of live-in caregivers for the elderly, conducted a survey across Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. The survey was conducted among 322 professionals in the home health care industry, including social workers (37% of sample), registered nurses (23%), administration (10%), volunteer coordinators (10%), directors of services (9%), and others.
This survey asked respondents questions relevant to the home care industry, particularly the live-in personal care industry. The key question in the survey asked what the top three most important considerations are upon referring a client for live-in personal care.
Below is a breakdown of the survey, as well as how Life Force delivers on each count.
Ensuring the safety of a caregiver living in an elderly client's home is one of the most important responsibilities of the client and a foremost priority of our home care agency.
Since most Life Force's caregivers are live-in caregivers for the elderly, the client's home becomes a workplace for the caregiver. These client responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following.
To ensure that home services are provided in a home that is structurally sound. This may sound like a no-brainer, but we have learned never to assume anything. By structurally sound, we mean, for example, that the caregiver should not have to walk up wooden steps where a step is missing; the caregiver should sleep in an area where the roof doesn't leak; and the caregiver should not be subjected to living in an area of the residence that is undergoing major construction. One way for an agency to assess the safety of a client's home is to develop a Home Safety Checklist. An agency representative can bring this checklist to perform a home inspection at the time of the initial meeting with the client. The Home Safety Checklist may include a list of safety issues in the following areas of the residence: exterior; interior (entry and main living area); kitchen; bedroom; bathroom. For example, for the exterior of the home, the checklist might include the following question: Is the porch light working to adequately light the porch and door?
In running a home health care agency specializing in live-in care for the elderly, we have found that finding qualified caregivers is the most critical factor in an agency's success. A criminal background check, face-to-face interview, a high score on a pre-assignment competency test, TB screening, relevant experience, and two references still may not guarantee that the caregiver is uniquely qualified to assist elderly clients with the activities of daily living. Although caregivers may meet every criteria required by the state, there are certain intangibles that make a caregiver excellent, rather than merely good.