What Makes the Best in Home Care?

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posted by Samantha Cox on July 28, 2021

Man delivering groceries to a senior in the best in home care

You only want the absolute best for your loved ones. You’re always looking out for them to get them a better deal or a better accommodation, and that should include the best in home care. The tricky thing there is that you’re not always sure what to look for.


You might think the best in home care is only the care you provide yourself, but that’s not always the case. Some people’s needs require professional attention. Plus, you can’t be home all the time. In home respite care is an important piece of the puzzle, even if you’re the best caretaker there ever was.


Here, we’ve detailed what makes an in home caregiving service the best. We’ve broken it down into the different components that make up the best in home care. That way, you have an easy list to refer to when you’re searching for the ideal caregiving service to meet all of your loved one’s needs. Read on for the different qualities that makes an in home care service the best choice for you.

Service Availability

The best in home care for you and your loved ones has to be available when you need them. Think about when that is before you commit to a care service. Some people need 24/7 care, and others will thrive with only a few hours a week, spending the rest by themselves. It’s easy to say that the best in home care is the most comprehensive, but round-the-clock care is not the best solution for everyone. If your loved one is able to be mostly independent and only needs help with a few things around the house, for example, you’d likely be best suited to part-time options. Check to see if your preferred service provider offers that sort of care schedule.


If you’re the primary caregiver for your loved one and only need in home respite care, look into those sorts of options. Not everyone will offer them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from time to time — caregivers need to take care of themselves, too. In home respite care fills those types of gaps. 


Also make sure to consider outliers to your regular schedule. Will you need help on holidays? Not all agencies schedule aides on those days. Other unforeseen instances can include if you’re running late to relieve a caregiver — will they stay overtime? Make sure to ask about all of these schedule snafus when you’re interviewing different care services, whether they’re in home respite care or 24/7 monitoring. 

Open and Efficient Communication

This is particularly salient if you don’t live in the same town as your elderly loved one. You won’t be around to check in and make sure everything’s going according to plan. The best in home care providers will create and maintain a clear line of communication. 


That means they make complete reports about your loved one’s health on a regular basis. Ask how often they’ll check in with you on those topics when you’re exploring your different options. Specifically with in home respite care, there needs to be a good method of communication for when someone’s schedule changes. If you need to leave early or get back later than planned, for example, you need a reliable way to get in touch with your in home respite care provider to let them know. You don’t want to be panicking that your loved one might be left alone. 


They also need to involve all stakeholders. Sometimes this process can get messy if not all family members are on the same page, but the best in home care providers are able to be a neutral third party. They can diffuse arguments and work to put their client’s needs first in every conversation. 


All these different types of communication are vital aspects of the best in home care. When you’re looking for a service for your loved one, make sure all of them are present.

Caregiver Screening

You want to be absolutely sure the person you’re letting into your loved one’s home is trustworthy, reliable, and qualified to care for them. You can’t know any of these things unless you’re asking the right questions. 


If you’re hiring an independent caregiver, you need to do your own background check on them. You’ll want to be sure their criminal record comes back clean. If you’re going through an agency, then you should ask about how they screen their employees. Make sure there’s a comprehensive process before they hire a new caregiver. You can also do your own screening of the company — read any reviews you can find, and check to see how they stand with the Better Business Bureau. If you see any complaints, that might be a red flag.


Checking the service’s or individual caregiver’s references is another good step in ensuring a high standard of care for your loved one. You want to make sure they have a proven track record of being an outstanding caregiver. Lots of people choose to skip this step, but if you want to be absolutely sure you’re getting the best in home care for your loved one, it’s important.


Even if you only need in home respite care, you need to be vigilant about screening your potential caregivers.

Initial Interview

You don’t want to have a caregiver start work without ever having met your loved one. The ideal circumstance is to let everyone meet first to see if they’re compatible. The caregiver might have a squeaky-clean background and great references, but sometimes, people just don’t get along. That’s okay. It’s just best to know that before you get in too deep, and having an initial trial interview will help you make that determination.


Even if you’re only interviewing a caregiver for brief, infrequent in home respite care, you want to be sure they’re someone your loved one will be comfortable letting into their home. Having them meet first is a great step in ensuring that positive relationship.

Absentee Policies

Life happens, and even the best of caregivers have things come up that preclude them from showing up to work. What sets the best in home care apart from the rest of the pack is the way those caregivers communicate when conflicts arise. You’ll also need to be aware of the agency’s policies for providing a replacement. 


The best in home care providers are prompt — they’ll let you know as soon as they can that they won’t be there. This will give you as much time as possible to change your plans. If this is an in home respite care provider, you might choose to stay home and continue caring for your loved one instead of taking a break, or you might choose to have a replacement come and take over the shift. If that replacement is going to be a stranger, that can be upsetting for some folks, so having that option and clear communication about the situation is vital to keeping everyone happy.

Replacement Options

Sometimes, things just aren’t working out. Maybe your caregiver is recommended as the best in home care provider in the area, but they just aren’t getting along with your family, or they’re in over their heads with your loved one’s specific needs. 


Or, maybe issues with your in home respite care provider arose over time — they seemed great in the initial interview, but recently, you’ve noticed them slacking. Whatever the reason, sometimes a change in caregiver is necessary. The best in home care works to make that happen as seamlessly and painlessly as possible.


Obviously the best in home care is not likely to come cheap. As with all things, you get what you pay for. However, the best in home care services for you and your loved one is not always the most expensive option. Medicare won’t cover long-term care needs, so you’ll need to find another way to pay for in home care. That’s a significant strain on many families. The best in home care providers will work with you to design an affordable care plan and to find other resources you can use to pay for it.


Keep in mind that where you live will greatly affect how much the best in home care is going to cost. Rural areas tend to see steeper prices. Another element to determining how much is reasonable is considering the services your loved one needs. Constant help is going to be a lot more expensive than in home respite care, for example.

Licensing and Certifications

This is another consideration that you need to look at both at the agency level and at the individual caregiver level. The best in home care will look great in both areas. 


First of all, most states require agencies to be licensed. They’ll need to be reviewed on a regular basis to keep up that license, and there should be publicly accessible records of those reviews, if they exist. Definitely check the requirements in your state. In Missouri, those inspections happen each year by the Department of Health and Senior Services. Those surveys can be unannounced, meaning the agency will be judged on how they act on a day-to-day basis with no time to prepare for a special visit. That should give you some peace of mind. 


Also at the agency level is Medicare certification. That means they meet federal guidelines set out to ensure everyone’s health and safety. If the agency doesn’t have this certification, you should ask them why. The answer might be illuminating. 


Beyond looking at the licensing and credentials of the agency, though, you also need to look at the qualifications of the caregiver themselves. What kind of licenses, degrees, or training do they have? Can you verify that with any outside sources? Whether you’re looking for 24/7 help or in home respite care, these are all important questions to ask.

Flexible Services

Your loved one’s needs will likely change as time goes on. The best in home care will change alongside them. Maybe you start by only needing in home respite care, but then, your loved one’s needs progress to the point where you need more support. In an ideal circumstance, the best in home care that you’ve been happy with the whole time can flex and accommodate those growing needs.


That continuity can be really important for many seniors. It can be difficult to get them used to a new caregiver or a new service, so extending existing providers can be more manageable in some circumstances.

High Quality Care

All the other aspects we’ve listed here are important, but this one is the absolute most important one to ensuring you’re getting the best in home care for your loved one. The agency should provide comprehensive training to their employees, and the caregivers should be patient, competent professionals. Hopefully, if all the other items here have been checked off, this one should follow naturally. 


Don’t compromise on quality of care. Even if your loved one is only receiving a few hours of in home respite care a week or less, it’s important that they get the very best.

Make the best in home care work for you.

At the end of the day, ticking off boxes on a list are not what the best in home care is all about. What will actually be the best for you and your family is a care provider that meets all of your individual needs. Obviously, there’s no singular best in home care for everyone. Some people need in home respite care, and others need constant monitoring. There’s no way to proclaim one service the best over all the others.


So, as we’ve displayed, what makes the best in home care is that it’s professional and responsive. The quality of care is there for you and your loved one’s specific needs, and the other considerations make it easy to manage. If your caregiver is readily available, communicative, and well-trained, you’re well on your way to having the best in home care for your loved one. As long as they’re in your budget, you’re golden.

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