Hiring a Caregiver

What to Expect Post-Surgery

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friendly nurse visiting recovering senior patient

Regardless of age, your post-surgical routine will often play a role in the overall effectiveness of your surgery. For older adults, this often requires  hospice care, visits to the hospital for a short while, or hiring a licensed at-home caregiver. It’s believed that the home is the optimal environment for a successful recovery.

Generally speaking, recovering from surgery will be a much smoother process with the help of a licensed caregiver in the home. It’s of the utmost importance that, once you return home from the hospital after a medical procedure or surgery, you’re as comfortable as possible. Having someone around the home who can help with things like cleaning, meal preparation and transportation to appointments could make a world of difference.

It’s expected that there will be some post-surgery pain. A licensed caregiver can assist with a variety of tasks, including rehabilitation and giving pain medication. One can also requestfriendly doctor talking to a recovering patient in wheelchair that several different caregivers come to the home for short periods of time after surgery as well. For example, a physical therapist may visit for rehabilitation, and a nurse may visit to assist with changing bandages and pain management. Another caregiver may also visit to help clean the home. Sometimes a single caregiver can provide all of the mentioned tasks.

It’s of the utmost importance that the caregivers be licensed and state-certified. They should be insured and have passed an extensive background check. After all, as we mentioned before, one of the biggest components to a successful recovery is feeling comfortable and safe.

Another service home care centers provide is companionship. While you’re recovering, there may be a lot of down time in between physical therapy, meal times, appointments and medication. Friends and family may not always be able to visit, and the independent life you’re trying to maintain may feel lonely while you recover. As a result, you can choose to have a companion visit your home when you’d like some company. This person can sit and talk with you, play games, and engage in safe activities that aid in your recovery. The risk for depression is higher after surgery, and a companion may be able to help curb some of those feelings.

Would you like some assistance or more information about surgery recovery or home care assistance? We offer a full range of home care services in Phoenix, Arizona and would love to send one of our highly skilled professionals to come put a smile on your face today. Give us a call, we’re always here to assist.


Helping Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients: 3 Stages of Care

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Helping Elderly PeopleeCaring for sufferers of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease comes with a very specific set of challenges. Three stages of care are needed with these diagnoses, and they grow, evolve and change as the disease progresses. Each stage comes with its own unique challenges, as well. Whether a person is in the early or late stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a skilled, licensed caregiver is beneficial in helping the individual transition and adapt to a new way of life.

Stage One Care

This is the beginning stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can last for years, and may present minor changes to a person’s learning and cognitive capabilities. Most people are able to function and engage in normal activities during Stage One. As a caregiver in this stage, you’re primarily needed for support, companionship, and help with planning for the future, as well as making small lifestyle changes, assisting with medications, recalling memories (dates, names, places), keeping appointments, and managing finances.

It’s important to help bring out the talents and strengths of a person in the first stage of dementia, and to support their independence as much as possible. Encouraging and assisting the person to express their feelings and locate a support group is also beneficial. This is the time to make all necessary legal and financial decisions for the future.

Stage Two Care

During the second stage, the level of care is going to increase. This may be the stage that you’ll want to seek extra support in caring. This is when damage begins to show in the brain, and the person may not think the same way, or perform the tasks they used to be able to on their own. There’s also a chance that the individual will behave in peculiar ways, become upset more often and have a difficult time speaking in sentences that make sense. Help with hygiene and driving may be needed.

This is a good time to adopt lifestyle changes and to keep up a solid routine. The level of care required may be demanding during this stage, and it’s important for a caregiver to take good care of themselves and exercise patience.

nurse showing care to patientStage Three Care

During the final stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s, a person requires care 24/7. This stage may last only weeks, or several years. The person will eventually lose the ability to communicate, and may require assistance with walking. Eating and swallowing becomes difficult, and the risk of infections increases. There’s still a possibility that this person can connect with familiar scents, sounds, music, foods, nature, sunshine, and old photographs.

It’s helpful to monitor the weight and caloric intake during this stage, and to help with range of motion exercises if the person in need of care is confined to a chair. Keeping the person comfortable and upright is important, as is ensuring they’re not in pain. Someone in stage three may need to be fed, and assisted in going to the bathroom. Setting consistent bathroom times is important, as is limiting liquids before bed. This person may require bathing, and may need to be lifted at times. This is the stage where it’s essential to have extra care.

Are you or someone you know suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and in need of some extra support? With MD Home Health, you can expect to find licensed professionals in  Phoenix, Arizona to assist you with your home care needs 24/7.


In-Home Care: Risks of Hiring a Caregiver vs. an Agency

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A recent study revealed that the average cost of full-time, non-medical, in-home care in Arizona averages around $45,000 per year, based on 44 hours of care per week. As a result of this considerable expense, many are choosing to hire a caregiver directly rather than going through an agency.

All in all, there are several risks to consider before making a final decision on either route. If you’re leaning toward hiring your own caregiver directly, be prepared to address all the following tasks before allowing anyone in your home or caring for a loved one.

Personal Background 

Before hiring someone to assist in caring for your loved one, it’s important to conduct a thorough background check, including: a criminal background check, DMV and credit check, citizenship, and auto insurance verifications.

In addition, we recommend verifying the licensed caregiver’s current paperwork and credentials; requiring a TB test and reviewing their medical history; and ensuring they are certified in both first aid and CPR.

Competency

Once a candidate has passed all necessary background checks, it’s important to ensure the caregiver you’ve chosen has what it takes to make sure your loved one is safe, and is keeping up on the latest educational information pertaining to their field of care.

In addition, when hiring directly, there’s always the risk that the provider will become sick or injured, will need time off, or simply won’t show up for work.

In the event that this should happen, it’s recommended to have a list of screened, competent back-up caregivers who will be able to report for duty at a moment’s notice.

Taxes

The IRS holds individual employers responsible for paying Social Security and Tax form conceptunemployment taxes on the wages paid to an in-home caregiver.

If you fail to withhold these taxes, not only will you be liable for the total cost plus interest, but you could incur penalty fees of up to $100,000 and possible criminal charges.

Insurance

Before hiring an in-home caregiver, be sure to check their insurance policies.

Back strains and slip-and-fall injuries are common occurrences within home care, which is why your homeowner’s policy needs to be sufficient to cover such incidents.

It’s also important for the caregiver to hold their own malpractice policy in the event that they cause a life-threatening or fatal injury to your loved one.

They should also have a bond for repayment of any and all household items they could possibly damage or break.

 

Hiring an Agency

When hiring an agency to handle the in-home care of your loved one, the agency assumes all risks regarding background checks, competency, taxes and insurance. This removes the stressful process of hiring a caregiver from your list of duties, and allows you to focus your time and energy solely on your loved one. Agencies also have on-call staff in the event that the primary caregiver is unavailable.

Are you considering hiring in-home care for yourself or a loved one? We’re here for you.


What To Expect from In-Home Assistance

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Having an extra hand around the house when caring for a loved one can be priceless, which is likely why there’s a variety of in-home services available today. Whether you need assistance caring for someone or would simply like some help around the house while you do, there’s an in-home service that’s perfect for your unique needs.

Knowing what to expect from in-home assistance is crucial when looking for a good provider. From medical to non-medical services, there’s a wide variety of options available, with numerous factors to consider first.

Searching for in-home care might feel overwhelming at first; but by the time you’re finished reading this blog post, you’ll know exactly what to look for when seeking out a high quality provider.

Range of Services

There’s a wide variety of in-home services available for those seeking assistance. Companies which offer both non-medical and medical services give you the most options. A good in-home care provider will offer non-medical services such as personal care assistance and homemaking tasks, plus the back-up of licensed nurses who can provide you with valuable consulting as well as provide skilled services for potential medical issues.

Personal care services include bathing, shaving, shampooing, dressing, skin & nail care, and assistance with the toilet. Other services might entail feeding and medication reminders.

If a person needs assistance with personal care tasks, they’re likely to also need help with household tasks as well. Common housekeeping services include cleaning and dusting, doing laundry, washing dishes, running errands, cooking meals, and making beds.

A full-service provider will even include things like tucking in and waking up, companionship, transportation, newborn care, sick childcare and post-surgical care. Depending on the level of need, a caretaker can live in the home, or visit on an as-needed basis.

Customized Care

Every person seeking care has their own set of individual needs, and an excellent healthcare provider will offer intake services to meet with the client, their physician, and their loved ones when creating an individual care plan. This includes all of the individual’s medical, physical, nutritional, environmental, cultural, social and emotional needs.

Caregivers

Once the level of care and individual care plan has been established, the right caregivers will be selected to be placed in the home.

All caregivers should undergo extensive criminal background checks, fingerprint scans, driving record inspections, TB tests, drug tests, license verifications and written competency exams.

Once caregivers have meet these criteria, they should be monitored by their employer through: on-site visits at the patient’s home; weekly review of the caregivers’ notes compared with doctors’ orders and care plans; individual supervision; discussions with the patient and other staff; and yearly mandatory continuing education.

 

Insurance

A competent and reputable in-home service will have insurance covering their caregiver activities. This is meant to protect both the patients and the service providers so that patients and clients can rest assured knowing their home, livelihood and belongings are covered in the event of an accident.

A good service provider will also consider their patient’s medical insurance in order to identify exactly what is covered, then work with either their private/commercial insurance, Medicaid/AHCCCS, Veteran’s Administration, Division of Development Disabilities (DDD), worker’s compensation, etc. to get them all they’re entitled to. They may even offer competitive pricing for cash-paying clients.

Are you searching for such a service in the Phoenix, Arizona area? Look no further than MD Home Health. We offer everything listed above, with the highest-quality caregivers around. Give us a call today to discuss your individual care plan—and we’d love to provide you with the information and assistance you need.


Directly Hiring a Caregiver to Save Money? Pt. 2

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Directly Hiring a Caregiver to Save Money? Know ALL the Risks and Costs Before Doing So. (Pt 2)  By Dave Hildebrandt, Executive Director of MD Home Health/MD Home Assist

Another area of consideration in directly hiring consists of taxes and insurance.  The IRS states that individual employers are liable for Social Security and unemployment taxes on the wages paid to a direct hire.  If you are considered to have “willfully” failed to withhold these taxes, you will be liable for not only the taxes but interest on the amount of underpayment and civil fines of up to $100,000 as well as possible criminal penalties.

Now, how about insurance? What if the caregiver is injured on the job? Back strains and falls are very common with home care.  Will your homeowner’s policy cover it, and if so, will the policy limits be sufficient?  What if the caregiver causes your loved one a serious, life-threatening or fatal injury? Will they have malpractice insurance that will compensate you for the costs? And finally, if the caregiver should break or steal any of your personal property, will they have a bond to reimburse you for their replacement?

All of these concerns are very real.  All of them can cost a family considerable amount of money and possibly even their lifetime savings should the worse occur.  But most importantly, the safety and welfare of your loved one may be at risk unless you can insure that all these steps are followed before allowing a privately hired caregiver into your home. Sure, the costs and time commitment of performing all these steps is probably more than you ever imagined, but do you really want to cut corners when dealing with the health care of your love one?

When considering ALL the costs and risks associated with the hiring of a competent caregiver, it becomes obvious that directly hiring may not be the most prudent route to go. Your alternative to direct hire? Hire a reputable, experienced agency to assume all the costs and risks associated with hiring, training, taxes and insurance, thus allowing you to give 100% of your attention and support to your loved one with the goal of them getting better or at least reaching maximum comfort.

For more information about MD Home Health or MD Home Assist, rate quotes, or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us via: MD Home Health/MD Home Assist.


Directly Hiring a Caregiver to Save Money? Pt. 1

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Directly Hiring a Caregiver to Save Money? Know ALL the Risks and Costs Before Doing So. (Pt. 1)  By Dave Hildebrandt, Executive Director of MD Home Health/MD Home Assist

A recent study revealed that the cost of full time non-medical home care will average $45,000 per year in the state of Arizona (based on 44 hours of care per week). Given this, the tendency for some families will be to try to and economize by directly hiring a care giver to save money, rather than going through an agency.  This is a classic example of the phrase “penny wise, pound foolish”. Before taking this step, it is important that the consumer or family be aware of all the risks and costs associated with directly hiring a caregiver to save money.

There are basically two areas that a family must address when directly hiring a caregiver to save money: the caregiver’s personal background and clinical skills, and the administrative costs of taxes and insurance.

The first part to consider is the steps involved in conducting a background verification of a caregiver.  Once you have identified a potential candidate, which in and of itself is not always easy, you will need to interview them, run a criminal background check, credit and DMV check, verify their citizenship, their automobile insurance, and their list of references. Also, if they are licensed (CNA or RN/LPN), you will want to know if their license is current, in good standing, and if there has ever been any disciplinary action taken against them. Finally, you will want to be sure they have no communicable diseases, specifically TB, and have taken First Aid and have a current CPR training certification.

Should all of the background verification go smoothly, you will then need to be able to determine the actual competency of the caregiver, especially if you are requiring special skills that will be needed to provide the care. Are you qualified to do this?  Do you really want to use your loved one to test their competency?

And finally, suppose your direct-hired caregiver is sick, wants a day off, gets injured or simply doesn’t show for work.  Will you be prepared with a list of qualified and trained alternate caregivers who will report on a moment’s notice?

For more information about MD Home Health or MD Home Assist, rate quotes, or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us via: MD Home Health/MD Home Assist.


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