It had been a long and often emotional road for Nancy and her siblings to
find the right professional caregiver for their 78-year old dad. He was
still in relatively good health but needed some help around the house.
They thought their work was done.
However, their dad began sharing with Nancy that his caregiver, who visited
three times a week, didn’t seem to “get him.” He said he felt awkward in
his own home. Nancy’s sister, too, had noticed that her dad didn’t seem to
be thriving. They worried they had made the wrong choice.
So, Nancy and her family found themselves in the sometimes-uncomfortable
place that countless families do when seeking a compatible and competent
professional caregiver for a loved one. They needed to switch professional
Finding the right professional often takes time, adjustment and patience.
And navigating a switch requires honest communication between family
members and professional caregivers as well as articulated expectations
Key Questions to Ask Before You Switch
If you are contemplating a switch, first ask yourself if you have given the
professional caregiver enough time with your loved one. As in any
relationship, there is an adjustment period and i-t's very important.
Take time to talk with your loved one’s professional caregiver as well as
the home care services provider to share your concerns. They may be able to
help navigate the issues.
Also, be honest with each other and yourselves. A few fundamental questions
to ask yourself and your loved one:
What is missing? For example, does your loved one need a different type
of care or attention? Is there a personality conflict?
What makes you or your loved one uncomfortable?
Are there changes the professional caregiver could make? And if so,
make a list and share that with the caregiver and provider.
If you can’t resolve the issue with the caregiver directly, reach out to
the company and explain the problem and see if they will provide another
caregiver that is more suited to your needs.
Before You Make a Change
If the current provider cannot seem to meet your family’s needs or if your
family isn’t comfortable staying with the agency, it is best to do your
research before you make a switch.
Some questions you should be prepared to answer:
Did you sign a contract or an agreement? If so, read it in full to
understand your obligations.
Are you required to give notice? If so, how much notice are you
required to provide?
Are you required to provide written notice?
Will there be administrative or exit fees to terminate the contract or
Will a switch affect any insurance that may be covering payments? And
if so, how much time will be needed to make those changes?
Also, keep in mind new
, aimed to take effect in July 2017, will require home health care agencies
to be more responsive to their clients or risk losing Medicaid or Medicare
funding. While it remains unknown when the changes will be fully
implemented, it does seem clear that new rules will continue to focus on
the rights of the client and families.
"These new regulations stress throughout that it's important for agencies
to look at caregivers as potential partners in optimizing positive
outcomes," said Peter Notarstefano, director of home and community-based
services for LeadingAge, a trade group for home health agencies, hospices
and other organizations, to the
Kaiser Health News Network.
When You Decide to Make a Switch
You and your loved one should never feel pressured to stay with a
professional caregiver who is not meeting your needs, nor an agency of
which you remain uncomfortable.
Here are a few pointers if you and your loved one decide that switching
home care agencies is the best option for everyone:
Before ending your agreement with your current provider, be sure you
have vetted a new home care provider. Here are the
critical first steps
to follow to help you:
Provide adequate notice to your current agency. Inform them you will no
longer require their services (again, refer above to essential notes
about the contract you signed).
Alert your insurance or bank to ensure payments continue on-time, so
there is no lag in caregiving.
Remember, too, to be patient as your loved one adjusts to a new
professional caregiver. Sometimes, it just takes time. And sometimes,
there's a better fit. Either way, the critical thing to realize is that
this is a problem that any superior home care provider can solve. And to
superior home care services
look like, click the link.