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 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 care agency is different, so don’t just assume that they will know exactly what type of care you’ll need.
This is also the time to discuss the agency’s billing rates and service contract in more detail. Never “sign on the dotted line” until you carefully read over all the fine print. Make your expectations clear up front about being contacted when your primary caregiver can’t make it and find out what the agency’s backup plan is in the event of an emergency.
Resolving issues with agency staff
Just like in any other relationship, misunderstandings are bound to happen. The keys to constructively resolving those issues through the agency’s office staff are:
- Think before you speak. Don’t make emotional decisions or accusations that are unfounded. Choose your words carefully and write out your thoughts beforehand.
- Keep your message clear. Using your notes as a reference choose specific issues to discuss and respectfully stick to them without backing down.
- Stay neutral. Being on the defensive when starting a conversation is a good way to ensure that the discussion won’t go well. Be open-minded, consider your caregiver’s feelings and how they might react.
- Be an active listener. State your concerns, ask any questions you might have, and then actively listen to what the other person has to say. Avoid the temptation to interrupt or raise your voice.
- Use the right form of communication. Whenever possible try to talk things out in person or on the phone. Don’t use impersonal forms of communication like text messages or emails.
Sometimes the issues between you and your home care provider can’t be resolved. When things reach that point it’s usually best to find another agency.
When It’s Time to Make a Change
Finding the right home care agency is never easy. When you need assistance contact Blue Arrow Care Homecare. Our agency communicates openly and honestly with the families we serve so that their loved ones can age safely and comfortably in place with dignity and independence. For your added peace of mind all our caregivers are carefully screened, well trained and closely supervised at-all-times.
While serving as an extended family in the home, our compassionate caregivers can perform essential services like personal care, respite care, companionship care and even 24-hour care. To learn more about Blue Arrow Home care now, or to schedule a FREE assessment for a senior in Richmond Road Kingston Surrey, today, please visit us at: www.bluearrowcare.co.uk