Home Care is About Consistency in Care
Many families feel that hiring one person to look after their loved is crucial. We have discussed on previous articles, the key aspects that separates a placement agency (Private Hire) concept to a true Home care company service provider. Today, I will be addressing a question we frequently get on caregiver “Perfect Match” and “Consistency”. Yes, home care companies (the good ones at least) try to maintain aspects of both.
Perfect Match: Is a caregiver that will be matched based on many criteria. This is important because care givers and clients need to be comfortable in each other’s presence and the family needs to feel a sense of security in allowing this person in their home. This can include language in some cases where possible but really is a match of likes/dislikes, nature, attitude, level of activity, physicality, mobility, medical or condition knowledge etc. One example is a client requiring a caregiver who speaks a specific language This can only be gathered by an in-person, in-home meeting with the Care Designer and family including the client. Matching is then as much scientific / factual as it is a gut feel utilizing experience.
Consistency: Consistency of caregivers depend on variables such as frequency of visits, predictability of visits, and length of visits. The more of any one of these factors results in more consistency of caregivers. However, I would like to challenge this notion slightly because I believe consistency of caregivers are important but what families are really asking for is consistency of care with a team. When you have consistency of care, every caregiver that comes to the home has clear familiarity of what’s required in the home, needs/likes of the client, and families do not have to keep re-orienting caregivers on what’s needed. Additionally every caregiver that comes in the home is a perfect match.
This takes us to the understanding that if we are able to ensure consistency of care and have a perfect match every time, then it does not need to be one Personal Support Worker or Nurse. So what ensures this?
- Clear documentation and sharing of client likes dislikes , plans between caregivers.
- Frequent communication between family members and Care Designers to get updates for changes.
- Regular visits by supervisors and Care Designers to assess progress of care and changing needs.
- Ability to change caregivers if the fit is not right
Change in caregivers is inevitable as there will be sick days, vacations, personal circumstances, weather, which will impact caregiver availability. A good home care company will stay on top of this to minimize the impact to the family and the client by ensuring consistency of care. It takes multi-layer teams to accomplish this and thus is not just one Personal Support Worker or Nurse.
If you are to go to a hospital, in order to get great experience of care, you will meet an intake nurse, followed but a charge floor nurse, a doctor, a specialist. Some others that you will likely not meet is a large list of administrators, cleaners, security etc. It takes all to run a good hospital. What is relevant to you will be that everyone that comes to meet you and to care for you knows who you are, knows why you are there, knows what you need and provides compassionate efficient service of care. This is not different from home care. For the best home care experience, it’s important to note that there is such layers of teams and not to get too fixated on one Personal Support Worker. It is only then that you will realize the true value of a home care provider and the benefits such as your peace of mind.