In the current midst of the COVID – 19 pandemic, if you are in the Dallas – Fort Worth TX Metroplex and needing a caregiver for in-home care or home health care, you are probably wondering how safe it will be to allow someone new in your home. As a provider of senior home care and home health care for the past 33+ years, here are some thoughts from this experience that you may find very helpful.
As of the date of writing this, yes, there is an added risk to your health today when allowing anyone into your home. When searching for a home health agency providing senior home care and/or home health care, it is important to know what factors will mitigate this risk. A licensed home care agency’s reputation for following Texas Department of Health & Human Services licensing mandates for infections & contagious diseases as well as related mandates from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, home care agency transparency, home care agency caregiver turnover rate, home care agency ability to staff with minimally necessary amount of staff, and having the choice to set your own caregiver requirements are all important risk mitigating factors.
Before gong into more detail on the aforementioned risk mitigating factors, it is important to put this all in the perspective of the risk to your health of doing nothing in terms of needed home health care. Throughout my 33+ years helping families as a home health provider, those clients tending to have the best outcomes have been proactive in getting help based upon warning signs, versus those that have waited to react to something much more unfortunate happening. Unfortunately, the added risk of waiting is not fully assessed until after a preventable unfortunate event occurs.
A Texas licensed home health agency that has a long history of following all its licensing mandates, including infectious and contagious disease protocols, will pose less risk to your health than those that don’t. You can find this information at Texas Department of Health & Human Services.
Home care agency transparency means full and timely disclosure to you of anything material to the service being provided. The expertise in you, or your loved one, is held by you and not the home health agency. Ask the agency what their policy is on disclosing to you information on your prospective caregiver, agency policies, agency procedures, as well as material events or changes related to your service with them. You can’t properly assess risk if material information is not being disclosed.
Caregiver turnover rate is an important risk mitigating factor because of its impact on continuity of care with received from the home care agency. You don’t want to start with a seemingly great caregiver only to have that person missing work or quitting, and other caregivers are being placed in with little chance to do your risk assessment due diligence. Ask the agency about their rate of caregiver turnover, and most importantly inquire into the work stability history with the particular caregiver(s) you are considering.
Over the years I have had many families call me using other agencies, and shared staff schedules that make no sense at all for being in the best interest of the client. The schedule usually reflects what is best for a particular caregiver, or it’s just what the agency is able to staff. In this time of pandemic, it is especially critical to minimize risk by using the minimum number of caregivers that is prudently possible to meet your needs. Ensure the home health agency you are considering is able to do this consistently.
Finally, gong back to what I mentioned earlier about you, not the home health care agency, holding the expertise in you or your loved one. This further entails working with a senior home care agency that allows you to set all the personal requirements you want to see in a caregiver to ensure a best fit. This will significantly add to the comfortable level of safety and security you need in these more uncertain times.
As the Director of Care Mountain home health agency in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, I can assure you of our company’s strength in all the aforementioned risk mitigating factors. Our reputation with the Texas Department of Health & Human Services is phenomenal with a ZERO State complaint history and ZERO deficiencies on our most recent re-licensure survey covering four years, we are fully transparent with clients, our caregiver turnover rates is averaging 4% versus 84% for the industry average, we have a very experienced and deep pool of caregivers to best ensure you an ideal staffing situation, and we have a very successful proprietary caregiver client matching process that best ensures a caregiver meeting ALL your important requirements.