Having a family get together can be eye opening for some children of aging parents. You may see that a parent has lost the ability to regularly perform typical daily activities. It often leads to a conversation among siblings as to how best to assist the family patriarch or matriarch to remain safe and healthy.
With many families having members living in different cities who are not readily available to provide the extra hand themselves, they have several alternatives to choose from, which typically takes multiple conversations. If mom or dad wants to stay at home, the choices narrow. Homecare for a loved one is not an easy decision for everyone to agree upon, especially for the person who needs the help. Losing independence is difficult emotionally and physically.
Homecare is an option that many don’t understand unless they’ve experienced it in the past. That was the case for my wife and I when her mother needed supervision while progressing through the stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. We had both been in the health care industry for over 25 years and didn’t know the benefits of private duty nursing or non-medical homecare or how it worked.
Her mother was living in an independent living community in another state and none of the children lived within driving distance. She was exhibiting behaviors due to the disease that didn’t allow her to safely stay at home by herself. Over time, she became a wander risk and was seen walking with her walker several blocks away and across a busy state road from the community. At that point we decided that she needed someone to keep an eye on her during the day. We hired an independent caregiver for about $15.00 per hour thinking that we had solved the problem.
After several months my wife and I visited mom and found out what was really happening. The caregiver didn’t know what we looked like and so she didn’t respond upon seeing us enter the dining room to visit. Mom was sleeping in a chair at the table by herself with her cold food sitting untouched in front of her. When we asked where her aid was, the person who was busy chatting with the facility staff reacted by saying that she was just getting ready to help mom with her dinner. At that point, we realized mom wasn’t getting the support she needed as her abilities declined. These independent caregivers had no supervision and no one to hold them accountable.
We experienced a similar situation with my father in Texas. He had been fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer and toward the end of his life, he was too weak to care for himself. We hired an agency that said all the right things, but we experienced a multitude of other issues. When the overnight caregiver was relieved by the next caregiver in the morning, the overnight caregiver told her that she had changed my dad during the night. But when the morning caregiver went in to check on my dad, she found that he was soaked up to his shoulder blades. Another caregiver told my brother, who also lives locally that she didn’t wash his bed linens because she didn’t know how to work the washing machine. They also never did the dishes nor picked up the house. My brother had to wash three loads of my dad’s laundry and three loads of dishes. My dad was only on their service for less than a week before he was transported to the hospice unit. These issues would not have occurred if a supervisor had made any visits.
Fast forward 12 months and my wife and I started our own homecare agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. With a lot of experience in hospice care, we built our company to assist our clients with more than the typical Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, walking, dressing, toileting, taking medications as prescribed, etc. We wanted to ensure that we were not only assisting with those important activities, but also addressing the mental well-being of the client. We hired a Nationally Certified Activity Director to work with clients to engage them in enjoyable activities designed to be interesting and sometimes therapeutic. We don’t charge for these services because we knew most families wouldn’t see the benefit and therefore wouldn’t ask for the service. Within a short period of time our clients were less agitated, more active and overall happier due to the attention and activities.
We also wanted to set ourselves apart from other agencies, many of which are franchises owned by persons without experience in healthcare, by being the most consistent, professional homecare company in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. We invested in managers who provide training and onsite supervision daily. With over 30 years of experience in caregiving in facilities and private residences, Sallie, our Director of Client Services hires, trains and manages our caregivers. She or our nurse supervisor, Gabrielle, also work alongside all caregivers when they are caring for a client the first time. That way, the family doesn’t need to reorient a caregiver who is caring for their loved one for the first time. They will introduce each caregiver and demonstrate what needs to be done, where things are kept, the care plan and preferences of the client.
This accomplishes two very important things. The caregiver can’t say that they didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing and the client never has a stranger show up at their door. We don’t bill the client for the managers’ time because the investment we make in personnel will ensure better service.
Unlike what we experienced with my father, our nurse supervisor makes electronically verified visits (unannounced) to ensure the caregivers are following through on their assigned tasks for the client in a compassionate and professional manner.
We have been awarded the Caring Super Star status from Caring.com for the last four years. The determination is based solely on client reviews, both quality and quantity, and we have earned a top rating of 5 stars each year. There are only 134 agencies in the country selected for this designation. With over 50 agencies in Cincinnati alone, we are proud of our record and reputation for providing quality care. While many of our clients have used other agencies and weren’t satisfied, we haven’t had a client fire us to use another agency in the entire 7 years we’ve been in business.
Call us if you or a loved one can use some assistance. An owner will answer your call and my wife, Michele, or I can provide you with information and assistance in determining what’s best for your situation.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring Homecare Services in Indian Hill OH, please contact the caring staff at Queen City Elder Care today. Serving Cincinnati and Surrounding Communities. Call Us Today (513) 510-4410.
Michele Vollmer is a visionary leader who is perpetually searching for ways to improve, so to remain at the leading edge of the home care industry.She has served in the healthcare industry since 1989, including pharmaceutical and home health sales, as well as hospice sales and sales management.