10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Provider

When selecting a home care agency, it is important to know what questions to ask. Here are some examples of important questions that consumers should ask of a prospective service provider:

1.) How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?

2.) Is a written, customized care plan developed in consultation with the client and family members, and is the plan updated as changes occur?

3.) How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?

4.) Do they closely supervise the quality of care, including maintenance of a daily journal in the client’s home and non-scheduled supervisory visits?

5.) Does the agency employ a nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?

6.) Do they provide a written document that states the rights and responsibilities of the client, and explains the company’s privacy policy and code of ethics?

7.) Do they triple-screen their caregiver employees carefully, including use of reference checks, driving records and criminal background investigations?

8.) Does the agency mandate ongoing training of its employees to continually update their skills?

9.) Does the agency manage all payroll and employee-related matters and adhere to state and federal guidelines in its employment practices, such as withholding appropriate taxes and providing workers’ compensation and other benefits?

10.) Do they also use independent contractors? If so, who employs the person and what type of background checks do they do on their employees? Also, who pays the mandated taxes and withholdings?

Gay Seniors Fear Nursing Home Discrimination

A national survey done two years ago on the topic indicated that of about 770 gay seniors living in nursing homes, 43 percent reported some type of mistreatment by staff or fellow patients.

The most common complaint was abuse or harassment by other residents. This accounted for about 25 percent of all the problems faced by LGBT patients. This is not surprising, given that long-held attitudes and beliefs die hard. For many years, discrimination and harassment of gays and lesbians were the norm. Many people aren’t able to let go of those beliefs. The problem is, now they’re living side-by-side, and sometimes in the same room.

Additional problems included that about 20 percent of LGBT patients were abruptly discharged from their facility – a far higher rate than their straight counterparts.

A number also admitted verbal and physical harassment from staff, specifically pertaining to their sexual orientation.

What’s worse is that for many of them, the fact that they are gay has often served to isolate them from friends or family members. This is often a common thread in many abuse and neglect scenarios. With no one to closely watch after them, they are more vulnerable than their straight counterparts.

About 75 percent of LGBT respondents in another poll said they would likely hide their sexual orientation if they ended up in an institution.


Ref: http://www.floridanursinghomelawyerblog.com/2012/08/gay_seniors_fear_nursing_home_1.html

Nursing Home Residents Living Without Choice and Control

A recent study shows that cognitively intact nursing home residents attach importance to CHOICE and CONTROL over basic life matters such as bedtime, rising time, food, roommates, care routines, use of money, use of the telephone, trips out of the nursing home, and initiating contact with a physician. Certified Nursing Assistants sound in on the fact that such control is important to residents:  Due to the necessity to effectively run a controlled environment, Nursing Home facilities and their staff are placing lower importance than residents on use of the telephone and personal expenditures and higher importance on control and choice over visitors and formal nursing home activities. Residents polled are not satisfied with their control and choice and nursing assistants agree that they are unlikely to experience control and choice of the areas of concern.

Aging in Place is the solution to spending the last phase of our lives in control of of lives. Living a long life is a virtue that should be honored with respect to one’s Choices and Rights. Home Care provides that solution. Having a Home Care Companion or a Certified Nursing Assistant at home enables us to live freely with support instead of restriction.

Ref: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9288016

The Aging Brain on Music, Pets and a little Exercise

We know that music, pets, and exercise make us feel good – but did you know they can also make the aging brains stronger?

It used to be that getting older meant forgetting more, slowing down, and acting more and more like our grandparents. But that does not always have to be the case.
We can add years to our lives and boost our brain power by learning to play an instrument, jog around the block, or even bond with our dog. Science shows that the best thing we can do to keep our brains healthy is to stay active – both physically and mentally.
And the best news is that we don’t have to begin when we’re young. It is never too late to start.
And we don’t just keep our brains strong when we play an instrument or exercise. We grow new brain cells that build a more flexible brain that resists shrinkage.
REF: http://www.yourpublicmedia.org/content/wnpr/aging-brain-music-exercise-and-animals

Music as Medicine

For centuries, music has been known to calm people down and provide relief from stress and tension. Some studies worldwide have found that Music Therapy may be useful in helping patients with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association recognizes that Music can stir long-term memories. Some patients might respond well to rhythm-and-blues, or to instrumental hymns and spiritual songs. U2 and Beyonce will not work for some one over the age of 8- years old – for example.

This is an exciting addition towards bettering the lives of those living with Dementia and or Alzheimer’s decease.

Ref: http://www.parentgiving.com/elder-care/music-as-a-tool-to-improve-communications-skills-in-alzheimers-patients/



Seniors and Hospitalization

Senior  medical care has become  more and more complex and difficult to manage. As hospital visits and admissions become more frequent, overall health can decline as a result of even a brief hospitalization stay. Hospitalization is sometimes necessary for seniors but is not always free of risk.
Episodes of confusion (delirium) is a common feature in hospitalized elderly.In a hospital setting, patients are subject to unfamiliar sounds, medical tests, and schedule disruptions that contribute to disorientation and delirium.Delirium is treatable and often reversible, it can sometimes linger for a long time and possibly reset one’s mental function at a lower baseline. Delirium can be caused from several reasons:
  • Infection
  • Medications
  • Unfamiliar Environment
  • Unfamiliar sleep and wake schedule due to consistent vital check
  • Medications for pain and sedation which can alter thoughts and mental judgment
  • Sensory and Sleep deprivation caused by florescent lighting and unfamiliar sounds
  • Intravenous lines, urinary catheters, and other medical devices attached to the body
Other potential dangers of hospitalization of seniors:
  • Hospital environment infections
  • Medication and procedure related side effects and complications
  • Interaction between home medications and new hospital drugs
  • General decline in function and deconditioning
  • Falls and injuries
Although there are many problems that seniors may encounter, both in and out of the hospital, understanding the problems and then forming a plan to address them is a first large step in making the senior years still productive and enjoyable. Seniors should consider finding a geriatrician who is a specialist in the care of seniors to help manage their specific medical concerns and foreseeing problems and minimizing risk.
See how Choice Matters Home Healthcare can help you and your loved one while in the hospital with our hopital sitter services.
1. Blue Sea Care
2. http://www.uspharmacist.com/continuing_education/ceviewtest/lessonid/105762/