Home Care – Patient Safety, Rights and Protections

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,593
    Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care discusses how to select an in-home care provider. In this video she talks about patient safety, rights, and protections.

    Mary Alexander: Hi! I'm Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care. Today I'm discussing how to select an in-home care provider and now I'm going to talk about patient safety, rights, and protections.

    We're all concerned about safety and privacy these days. Unfortunately, there are many people in the world who would take advantage of others, especially, vulnerable populations such as seniors. It's important to make sure that the agency you select pre-screens their employees and conducts criminal background checks and drug testing. But what else could be done to protect your loved ones' safety and rights?

    The first step is to make sure that they're receiving the appropriate level of care. In that case be sure to ask if there are any pre-service clinical evaluations done. And if so, who among the family and medical care professionals are consulted. You should also ask about the credentials of the person doing the pre-service evaluation. For example, is that a nurse, or therapist. Also find out what the evaluation entails so that you can inform your loved one about what to expect.

    You also want to make sure the in-home care provider is taking a holistic approach and ensuring their services will be compatible yet not compete with other care your parents are receiving. Ask if family members will be included in the process because they perhaps more than anyone understand your loved ones needs.

    Next, make sure the plan of care will be provided in writing. The plan should detail the specific task to be carried out by each professional caregiver, and the copy should be given to both your parents and in member of the family. You should also inquire if the caregivers will update it as changes occur. Find out if the provider will take time to educate family members about the care being administered to the patient and see if they can be involved in making care plan changes. We all know that emergencies happen. So be sure to ask what procedures the provider has in place to handle emergencies.

    Alright, is care giver is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week? If not, ask for advice for other options such as a personal emergency response system like life-line. For sure, since we're all human, there may be situations where your loved ones or you notice something isn't up to snuff and needs to be fixed. Be sure to find out who you can contact with questions or concerns and find out the agency's policies for following up and resolving issues.

    The last safety and security question to ask the in-home care provider is how do they ensure patient confidentiality. Be sure to ask for this policy in writing to guarantee the safety of your senior loved ones' personal information.

    Okay, so now we're at the last step. At this point you should have your choices for providers narrow down to two or three options. Your next task is to check references. Ask each home care provider to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members. Contact each reference and ask, do you frequently refer clients to this provider? Do you have a contractual relationship with this provider? If so, do you require a provider to meet special standards for quality care? What sort of feed back have you gotten from patients receiving care form this provider? Either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey. Do you know of any clients this provider has treated whose cases are similar to mine or my loved ones? If you so, can you put me in touch with these individuals? In addition to asking for formal references, you should also ask around. Talk to friends and relatives to see what they have heard, good or bad. Often times, the most straightforward answers come from these sources and if the care is great, they will be sure to let you know. You can also inquire with local and national consumer protection agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, AARP, The American Society on Aging, The National Council on Aging, and the National Family Caregivers Association.

    The task of selecting an in-home care provider may seem daunting. But going about it in a comprehensive and methodical way means that you get the best care for your loved one. That way you ensure they are continued independence and a great quality of life for you both.