How to Evaluate Home Care

5 Ways to Review the Quality of In-Home Care

How can you be sure that an in-home care provider is doing his or her job well? Run a periodic home care review.

In this informal review, you check every month or so that care tasks are being performed well by watching the person demonstrate them.

Some tips:

No need to spy; just ask. You want to make sure that instructions are being accurately followed, safe procedures are being used (for lifting, for example), and equipment is used properly. Observe your loved one, too. How is he or she faring through the task?

Don't be shy. Ask questions, make suggestions, or correct things that aren't being done to your satisfaction. A satisfying experience for your loved one is what you're paying for, after all.

SEE ALSO: Find In-Home Care Help Near You

Demonstrate your expectations. It's a good idea for you to periodically demonstrate expectations of how to do care tasks, especially if there's been a change in a medication or your loved one has a change in the level of care required. Showing exactly what you need -- and having it performed back to you -- is the best way to keep everyone on the same page and give you peace of mind.

Run a review whenever there's a new face helping you. Timing this for the beginning of the new person's time with you, and again a week or so later, will get things off to a productive start.

Provide a written record book. This is where the aide can note what happened during the shift. You may choose to use a system that's as simple as a checklist of everything that should happen during the shift, and a space for recording any new observations or notes on mood or symptoms, depending on your loved one's needs. That's not only informative for you; it can be a useful record for the doctor if there are health complications.

You'll be more likely to enjoy your freedom when help is around if you have peace of mind that things are being done right. Then be sure to take advantage of that good help, rather than hovering. Remember also that your loved one may find it a refreshing change of pace.

over 4 years ago, said...

To give the caregiver tasks to complete and evaluate them. The problem I had was I wound up in the hospital the caregiver came on board and took over literally. She ran the swhow when I was in the hospital. When I came home she STILL wanted to run the show and wound say to the other caregiver @ plus me that she had to do what SHE said. They totally ignored me. When the social worker from the VA came she said the atmosphere was toxic. Wish I had your advice then might have made things easier for me and my dad. Also probably too many cooks in the kitchen.

over 4 years ago, said...

Need to know what is needed.

over 4 years ago, said...

Article is a good start, but needs more detail for a spouse or family member who has never supervised or evaluated an employee. Your loved one (patient); you (and family) and the caregiver must all win. Suggestions for improviing care must be matched with complements and re-enforcement to the caregiver and what is being done well or exceptionally well. The goal should be that you, the loved one, and the caregiver need a "satisfying" experience.

over 4 years ago, said...

I'm glad to see this article. When I was initially helping my mother when home health began, my instinct was to occasionally check on how things were going while home health was here, using many of the same tips in the article. This made the aide (who was threatened by family involvement and said she had "never had family be involved like this before") very uncomfortable and she complained to her boss and my sister who was our official contact. Unfortunately, my deferential sister decided to side with the aide and banned me/family from ever coming when the staff was here! Even though I had done nothing wrong other than look out for my mother's care. So, consequently, we hold no idea how things were going except by reports from the staff or by my mother who has dementia. I'm hopeful others will find support in their own situations by articles that encourage family advocacy.

over 4 years ago, said...

Where can I get a "checklist" to use---I'm new at this and not sure what I should ask my husband's caregiver to do other than the obvious. I'm still working 40 hrs a week and anything she can do to help me would be great!

over 4 years ago, said...

It provided some good suggestions such as the record book and periodic review of task. These were helpful for me to use for my evaluation of my mom's full-time aide.

over 4 years ago, said...

How to make the checkups matter of fact and not accusatory.

over 4 years ago, said...

The ideas are simple enough to try. Using a checklist/log book from day 1 gives you a basis to talk about how good things are going - or to spot trouble in a neutral way. It can get more difficult, tho' because of personalities and the reluctance to confront others with issues which is common for a whole lot of us. E.g my MIL, fairly astute and usually fair woman, disliked a caregiver whom her husband got on well with- and who seemed to be doing a good job. Another agency caregiver was so heavy - 350 lbs heavy - that she broke a chair and could barely move. Others needed to be guided in their work - they were so inexperienced.

over 4 years ago, said...

This article will be helpful when I have to choose a caregiver for myself when the time arrives. Right now I am the caregiver for my sister who is a cancer patient. I have been the caregiver for two other members of my family that were diagnosed with the same type of cancer that my sister now has. It is good to have a checklist that I can use when it becomes necessary for me to have a caregiver.

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