It’s 10:00 PM –
Do You Know Where Your Parents Are?
When making the decision to put your parent or elderly loved one under the care of another person, you worry about them the same way a parent worries about a child. Is Mom getting the attention she needs? Do the caregivers know what they are doing? Is Dad getting enough nutrition? Is he getting his meds? Does my elderly loved one get the companionship she needs?
These are all important questions, but you can put your mind somewhat at ease by asking the right questions to your caregivers from the start. Asking about the caregiver’s credentials, background and skills are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t be afraid of offending them. If they run a professional operation, they will understand the reason for your questions and be able to provide all the answers you need.
Even with layers of regulation and oversight for elder care, occasionally a nightmare scenario becomes a reality. On August 14, 2015 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers in Austin, Texas responded to a call concerning the welfare of a number of elderly residents in an Austin home. EMS found 22 elderly people living in poor conditions in a 1,400 square foot house with no air conditioning, and temperatures had reached 101° F earlier that day. Officials broke up what turned out to be an illegal, unlicensed business. Emergency workers and regulators have worked to find family or caregiver placement for all the elderly residents.
In the State of Texas, care for the elderly is overseen by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). DADS provides and contracts long-term care services and also conducts licensing reviews to ensure protection of patients receiving home health care. As part of these reviews, the regulatory body assesses credentials of staff working in nursing facilities and home health agencies. While DADS asks hard questions for each home health agency and caregiver, YOU can also ask questions of any prospective or current care provider.
What questions should you be asking about your in-home care provider?
Many common questions have been covered before, and you can find a good list at www.ElderCare.gov. Here is a short list of questions that we at Hill Country Care Providers recommend you ask before trusting your loved one to another person’s care:
- Does the agency have a current license to practice (if required in the state where you live)?
- What are the results of the agency’s most recent audit or survey by its regulatory body?
- Is your agency bonded and insured?
- How long has the agency been serving this community?
- What are the range of services the agency provides?
- Does the agency offer 24 hour in home care?
- What are the agency’s hiring criteria?
- Does the agency have client references or testimonials?
- What type of payment does the agency accept?
- Does the agency have any printed brochures describing services and costs?
As for ourselves, Hill Country Care Providers (HCCP) can provide answers to all of these questions and more:
HCCP has two licenses:
- A Personal Attendant Service license certified by the State of Texas agency Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) for non-medical private pay services.
- An LHH license (Licensed Home Health) for medical private pay services performed by our RNs and LVNs. Nursing staff are also licensed by the Department of Aging and Disability Services.
HCCP’s latest DADS survey (December, 2014):
- Texas DADS found that HCCP is "in compliance with all applicable Home and Community Support Service Agencies Regulations."
HCCP caregivers are employees of HCCP:
- Their social security and payroll taxes are paid by the company. HCCP is also bonded and insured.
HCCP has served the Austin area for 15 years:
- Jackie Verdoorn, RN, MSN, BSN, CMC, founded Hill Country Care Providers in 2001, after gaining more than 30 years of experience serving the elderly.
HCCP offers a wide range of services:
- Personal Care
- Geriatric Care
- Medication Management
- Respite and Vacation Care
- Alzheimer’s Care
- Skilled Nursing Care
- Post-Surgery Care
- Companion Care
- 24 Hour In-Home Care
HCCP offers 24-hour in-home care for our Austin, TX clients:
- Medicare does not cover 24 hour in-home care.
- Our clients either have additional long-term health care insurance or prefer to pay out of pocket for the best care available.
HCCP caregivers must pass a rigorous background screening and interview process, including:
- Criminal background check
- Nurse misconduct check
- Nurse Aide Registry check
- Employee Misconduct Registry check
- Criminal Watchdog Background check
- Social Security validation
- Employee reference check
- Multiple interview and skills assessment
- Thorough review of three previous work references
HCCP has a number of client testimonials:
HCCP Payment Options:
- We are an entirely private pay home health agency. Our clients either have additional long-term health care insurance or prefer to pay out of pocket for the best care available.
- We are focused on providing premier in-home care, not simply on providing the minimal care covered by Medicare.