Remember when you first helped your parents with the holiday decorations? Bringing those boxes of tangled light sets and frosted ornaments down from the attic, you knew something exciting was happening. Those scenes were a preview of family traditions that would be passed on to the generations.

Shopping for Home CareToday, as Hawai‘i’s aging population grows, many of us carry on these traditions and are the privileged caregivers for our parents.

Holiday festivities can be challenging, as many need to work and balance family life at the same time, in addition to their caregiver roles.

“When the decision is finally made to get help, we often see families in a panic, overwhelmed and confused about home care providers,” said Janet Grace, sales and marketing director at Attention Plus Care.

Exercising due diligence, vetting home care agencies and understanding what resources are available can keep these challenges to a minimum, and improve the quality of life for families. Knowing how to discern what matters in home care agencies can also go a long way toward an effective decision-making process.

“Asking the right questions when shopping for a service provider is paramount to giving your parents high-quality and safer care,” said Cindy Baker, RN at Attention Plus Care. “When the roles are reversed and the adult children of seniors are tasked to find care, we encourage those involved to ask questions. It’s a good sign.”

Don’t let first meetings, minimal fees and quick promises of services mislead you. Real life doesn’t operate that way. In a July 13, 2012, study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers posed as consumers seeking a caregiver for an older adult relative. Surveyed were 180 agencies around the country regarding hiring methods, from screening measures, training and skill competencies assessments to supervision, with the following results:

  • Only 55 percent of agencies did a federal background check
  • Only one-third of agencies said they did drug testing
  • One-third test for caregiver skill competency
  • Supervision ranged from one to weekly, which included home visits, phone calls and caregiver office visits

Based on just a few results, consumers looking for a home care agency are taking a risk as to whether they will get a trained professional who provides quality care or one with little to no experience and training.

Taking the proper steps will help keep your holiday traditions memorable and keep the spirit of giving special. No matter what the newness of the season brings, loving our kupuna is the greatest gift of all.

For more information and details on home care and free community workshops on Aging in Hawai‘i hosted by Attention Plus Care, call 808-440-9372.

FOUR KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK ARE:

  1. How long has the provider served as a home healthcare agency in Hawai‘i?
  2. Is the provider currently accredited by The Joint Commission? Is there a history of maintaining accreditation?
  3. Is the agency audited by the state Department of Health for proper bonding and insurance requirements under state law?
  4. Are caregivers regularly supervised, monitored to a home healthcare standard audited by a state or federal agency?

ATTENTION PLUS CARE Accredited by The Joint Commission
1580 Makaloa St., Ste. #1060, Honolulu, HI 96814
808-739-2811 | www.attentionplus.com

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