It’s painful to watch the physical and mental health of your loved one deteriorate as they age. You may also worry that mom or dad will feel isolated as you juggle the demands of your own life. That’s why caregivers are hugely beneficial in caring for seniors. Caregivers have the expertise to provide assistance in a number of areas including feeding, bathing and providing physical activity.
But what’s the best way to find quality senior care? Should you seek out a nursing agency or find a private caregiver on your own? Let’s explore both options to see which is best for you and your loved one:
What is a nursing agency?
A nursing agency provides nurses and healthcare assistants to seniors that require medical support Nursing agencies can help you determine the level of care your loved one will require. Agencies provide tailored services for seniors with various illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The healthcare worker will be able to provide care in a number of settings including in the home, a retirement/nursing home or hospital.
What is a private caregiver?
Private caregivers’ qualifications vary widely. Some caregivers may have offered companionship to an elderly neighbour for a few years, while others may have a nursing degree and 10 years of hospital experience under their belt. Private caregivers often advertise their services in newspapers or on the internet. They may rely on word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients as well. These individuals will discuss your needs with you to see if they’d be a good fit.
Hiring a nursing agency
This is often the first choice for families and seniors. A nursing agency will match your loved one with a registered nurse (RN) or a personal support worker (PSW) depending on your needs. A reputable agency will ensure their pool of professionals are credible and trustworthy. The agency will run criminal background checks, train employees and make sure they adhere to a strict code of conduct. The caregiver will be insured and also First Aid and CPR certified. Here are some of the services an agency can offer:
Finding a health care professional through an agency is advantageous for many reasons. An important benefit is that disputes are handled by the organization. Should your loved one want to change nurses, the agency will provide a new one. This is an important distinction from hiring a private caregiver; all disputes must be handled by the family should the caregiver begin making demands. Often times the dispute will not be handled because the family may fear having to go through the hiring process again.
Hiring a private caregiver
Because the family is responsible for screening candidates, it’s important to be diligent in your search. The most reliable way to find a good caregiver is through a direct referral from a trusted source. Apart from family and friends, ask neighbours and acquaintances from your church or other organizations who they’d recommend. If you know a nurse, therapist or social worker in your community, ask them for leads as well.
One of the drawbacks of hiring a private caregiver is that the family is responsible for all aspects of employment. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you are up for the task:
The amount of legwork involved in hiring your own caregiver is overwhelming for a lot of families. After finding potential candidates, all caregivers must be interviewed. Even after checking their references, you may still be uneasy about letting this person into your loved one’s life. There is a tremendous amount of trust required.
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