If you are considering hiring help, it’s important to know the different types of hired caregivers and choose the one that’s right for you. Caregivers can range from companions to licensed nurses and their responsibilities vary widely, as can their cost. Determining what type of caregiver you need is important for the safety of your loved one and the protection of your pocket book.
If you are unsure what type of caregiver your loved one needs, seek the advice of a social worker or case manager nurse. They can help you determine your needs and match a caregiver accordingly. There are also worksheets available to help you do a self-assessment of your needs. If you’d like to try this, you can request a Needs Assessment Worksheet from Family Care America.
There are essentially four types of caregivers: the companion/assistant, the personal care attendant, the unskilled health aid, and the licensed nurse.
The companion or assistant caregiver is one who helps with daily household chores. They may do the shopping and run errands, help with driving your loved ones to appointments, cook meals, and do the laundry and housekeeping. Doing this type of caregiving requires little training or certification and therefore costs less than the other types. [p[You may consider hiring a companion caregiver if your loved one is still able to manage their personal care needs like bathing, dressing, grooming, and taking their medications. Some families choose to hire this type of caregiver to free up some of their own time so they can provide personal care to their loved one.
The Personal Care Assistant
A personal care assistant is someone that helps your loved one with their activities of daily living (ADL’s). These include:
- Dressing and grooming
- Shopping, and meal preparation
- Household chores
You might consider hiring this type of caregiver if your loved one needs more assistance with these ADL’s than you can provide. Often times, family members don’t feel comfortable helping their loved one with such personal care. Having someone else in the home that can help with the bathing, dressing, and toileting can lift a huge burden off these folks.
Because this type of caregiver is providing hands-on care to your loved one, you’re going to want to screen them a little more carefully than a companion. They should have proper training in home safety, body mechanics, and first aid. Also for this reason, you can expect to shell out a little more money.
The Unskilled Health Aide
If your loved one needs help with all of their ADL’s and needs a little more health supervision, this type of caregiver may be right for you. These caregivers are often home health aides (HHA) or certified nursing assistants (CNA). They are trained in taking vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse rate, doing non-sterile wound care, range of motion exercises, and proper turning and positioning of people in bed.
If your loved one needs frequent doses of medication or if you’re hiring someone for 24 hours a day, you’ll need to find out if the caregiver can administer their medications. Often times, caregivers can legally give the medication only if it is pre-dosed, or pre-measured, by a nurse or family member. It’s vital you find this information out ahead of time so your loved one doesn’t miss any doses of important medication.
The licensed nurse can help with all of the above duties as well as perform sterile wound care, administer medications, supervise oxygen use, and monitor vital signs. You might consider hiring a nurse if your loved one is bed bound and requires extensive medical care. Nurses can be quite expensive so many families only consider this option if they truly cannot provide this care themselves and don’t want to consider a nursing home.
How Often Do I Need Them?
Once you’ve determined the type of caregiver you need to hire, you’ll need to determine how often you’ll need them. Many families know that they want a caregiver on hand 24 hours a day. This can be an expensive option but if it’s what best for you and your loved one, it may be worth it. Cost can often be minimized if you hire a live-in caregiver and agree to help during the night shift.
You may decide to care for your loved one during the day and have hired help at night to allow you to get a good night sleep. You might choose to have someone there for four hours in the morning to get your loved one bathed, groomed, and out of bed while you manage the lighter care the rest of the day. There are a lot of options when hiring a caregiver and with a little planning, you can find out what will work best for you and your family.
If you’re unsure how often you need hired help, talk with a social worker or case manager nurse. They can help you determine the safest and most cost effective choice.