Finding the right home health aide for your senior loved one, even after months of research into candidates, can still be a roll of the dice for many people. After all, this individual is responsible for meeting the care and treatment needs of a person you have loved for decades, so it's understandable that you want to ensure your home health aide is the right fit.
There are some tried-and-true signs that you've hired a great home health aide no matter what kinds of conditions your loved one is struggling with. Here are the top five you should look for:
1. Good communication skills
Although a home health aide knows how to take vitals to prevent and identify health issues, the bulk of his or her job is going to rest on proper communication with your loved one, and with you as well. This starts with the home health aide having a good attitude and an open mind when he or she is talking through a daily routine, especially if there are changes to doctor recommendations or treatments. Above all, your senior loved one should feel calm and comfortable while speaking to the home health aide, according to Aging Care.
Before a patient receives care from a home health aide, he or she should sit down with both you and your loved one to discuss job expectations and his or her approach to care. This is also a time when you and your loved one should discuss what to expect during the day and what kinds of tasks should be carried out.
3. Plenty of patience and empathy
As with any care professional setting, providers need to have patience to best serve their patients. This is especially true if your loved one is struggling with a cognitive issue like dementia or Alzheimer's. In care settings, there are times when providers may run into frustrations, but during these times they need to remain calm and focus on the job at hand. Although this often results in extra time and empathy on their end, for providers, these two traits are absolutely essential to success.
4. A balanced schedule
There is a good chance that your home health aide is caring for several patients. This means you need to be respectful of his or her schedule and hours, and vice versa. Many home health aides today rely on apps and shared calendars to find a balance in the schedule. However, he or she should also be in communication with you when times or dates are rearranged just so all of the bases are covered when it comes to your loved one's care.
5. Experience with all types of care
Just like a doctor or nurse, successful home health aides have seen and been through it all, and that's a good thing. You want your home health aide to know what to do in a variety of medical situations, large and small. That's why every care seeker much look to the experience this individual has encountered over his or her years in the health care industry to see if he or she is the right fit for your loved one's health needs.