Although choosing the right home care agency is the first step in ensuring that you or your loved one enjoys a higher quality of life, open communication is just as important as the caregiving process moves forward. As in any other relationship, communicating effectively with your home care provider will establish clear boundaries that minimize confusion and yield positive results. Following these communication guidelines should help you and your home care agency enjoy a more mutually beneficial caregiving experience.
Poor Communication Affects Care Quality
The time-period right after hiring an in-home caregiver is much like a honeymoon phase. For many seniors accepting home care assistance is the biggest hurdle, and once that’s done it’s all smooth sailing- at least in the minds of family members.
At that point, far too many informal caregivers simply walk away because they assume that their services are no longer needed. But for one reason or another, that’s usually not a good idea. Family and friends should constantly stay involved in the client/agency communication process so that their loved one’s quality of care remains high.
According to the Annual Home Care Benchmarking Study, some of the lowest scores in client satisfaction stem from a lack-of-communication between an agency’s office staff and the care recipient and their family members.
Here are some situations when poor communication can affect a client’s quality of care:
- Not being told when a caregiver calls in sick and no replacement is available.
- Coordination-of-care confusion when multiple caregivers- or even caregivers from different agencies- are serving in the home.
- Not clearly understanding the agency’s billing rates.
- When changing health care needs are not being met.
- No set policies for staying in touch during an emergency.
Communication Tips for Home Care Recipients
Thankfully, building a more rewarding, long-term relationship with a home care provider is possible when taking these steps:
Clearly express your expectations
First, schedule a consultation with an agency supervisor during which you learn more about their services and how those overlap with your needs. Ask how their caregivers are screened and trained, including any ongoing training that could be beneficial as circumstances change. Every home ca