4 Things To Look For When Choosing A Home Care Agency

7/25/2013

Let’s face it, aging isn’t fun; new aches and pains develop, and joints that used to work smoothly now creek and crack like an old wooden bridge. And while aging isn’t exactly a walk in the park, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dreaded experience.  Once of the largest sources of frustration for the elderly is the realization that what used to be normal, everyday tasks are now either impossible or much more difficult to complete. Well-meaning families often rush to Grandma’s side, only to have her refuse the extra pair of hands because she “doesn’t want to be an imposition”. Sounds familiar, right?

So you grab the phone and start calling home care companies, only to find that they’re a dime a dozen and all seem to be giving the same sales pitch. How do you sift through all of the choices? Here are 4 important things to look for when choosing a home care agency:

1. What licenses and certifications do they have? At they VERY least, you want to use an agency that is licensed with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Anyone that isn’t licensed through DHMH isn’t regulated and therefore isn’t held to any minimum level of care. In addition to the state license, there are a plethora of other licenses and certifications out there.

Here at 2nd Family, we are Certified Dementia Care Providers, as well as members of the Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, the Maryland National Capital Homecare Association, the National Aging in Place Association, and Caring.com.

2. How do they screen the caregivers? It goes without saying that you want to know that the person caring for Grandma is both certified and not a criminal. Important things to look for are whether or not the caregiver has a clean background report, are they a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), have they been tested in their job competency levels, are they evaluated for on the job performance, etc. There are many caregivers who do private-duty work independent of an agency. All of the same information needs to apply to them as well!

Caregivers at 2nd Family go through a rigorous screening and hiring process, including a criminal background check, 2 interviews, a written skills quiz, a written HIPAA privacy quiz, a skills demonstration, and 120 day reviews. Additionally, every 2nd Family caregiver has either a CNA or GNA certification. It’s important to us that our caregivers are highly trained and qualified!

3. Client Testimonies This is pretty straightforward – if other people have had positive experiences with a company, chances are that your experience will be positive as well.  Read the reviews and ask if you can speak to any current clients. It’s always helpful to speak to someone who is in a similar position to yours. You can read some of 2nd Family’s testimonies here.

4. Transparency of Services One of the main concerns, especially for families who live far away, is “How do I know whether or not the caregiver came to see Grandma today?” Along those same lines, you might also wonder “What did the caregiver do with Grandma today?” It’s important to have complete transparency between the caregiver, the agency, and the client and their family. Look for an agency that can show you exactly who, what, and when is taking place in your loved ones home.

2nd Family uses GPS in combination with a Mobile Timecard to ensure that our caregivers are arriving on time and providing the care that is expected of them. Through the Family Portal, family members will be able to see which caregiver came, what time he/she clocked in and clocked out, and which tasks they performed while with the client. Full transparency, no confusion!

2nd Family Makes a Difference in the Lives of Families Throughout Maryland. Click to View the Areas.

Carroll County: Finksburg (21048), Hampstead (21074), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Reisterstown (21136), Upperco (21155), Westminster (21157,21158), Keymar (21757), Mount Airy (21771), New Windsor (21776), Sykesville (21784), Taneytown (21787), Union Bridge (21791), Woodbine (21797)

Baltimore County: Baldwin (21013), Cockeysville (21030), Hunt Valley (21031), Ellicott City (21043), Fork (21051), Freeland (21053), Glen Arm (21057), Glyndon (21071), Hampstead (21074), Hydes (21082), Joppa (21085), Kingsville (21087), Lutherville (21093, 21094), Timonium (21204), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Monkton (21111), Owings Mills (21117), Parkton (21120), Perry Hall (21128), Phoenix (21131), Randallstown (21133), Reisterstown (21136), Sparks Glencoe (21152), Stevenson (21153), Upperco (21155), Upper Falls (21156), White Hall (21161), White Marsh (21162), Woodstock (21163), Towson (21204, 21286), Gwynn Oak (21207), Pikesville (21208), Baltimore (21206, 21209, 21210, 21212, 21215, 21224, 21229, 21235, 21239, 21241, 21250, 21252, 21282, 21284, 21285), Sparrows Point (21219), Middle River (21220), Essex (21221),Dundalk (21222), Halethorpe (21227), Catonsville (21228), Parkville (21234), Nottingham (21236), Rosedale (21237), Windsor Mill (21244), Boring (21020), Brooklandville (21022), Butler (21023), Chase (21027), Fort Howard (21052), Hunt Valley (21065), Long Green (21092), Maryland Line (21105), Riderwood (21139)

Baltimore City: Baltimore (21201, 21202, 21205, 21211, 21214, 21216, 21218, 21231, 21251, 21287, 21203, 21233, 21263, 21264, 21265, 21270, 21273, 21274, 21275, 21278, 21279, 21280, 21281, 21283, 21288, 21290, 21297, 21298), Raspeburg (21206), Gwynn Oak (21207), Pikesville (21208), Mt Washington (21209), Roland Park (21210), Govans (21212), Clifton (21213), Arlington (21215), Druid (21217), Dundalk (21222), Franklin (21223), Highlandtown (21224), Brooklyn (21225), Curtis Bay (21226), Halethorpe (21227), Catonsville (21228), Carroll (21229), Morrell Park (21230), Parkville (21234), Nottingham (21236), Rosedale (21237), Northwood (21239)

Howard County: Annapolis Junction (20701), Laurel (20723), Fulton (20759), Savage (20763), Highland (20777), Jessup (20794), Brookeville (20833), Clarksville (21029), Dayton (21036), Ellicott City (21042, 21043, 21041), Columbia (21044, 21045, 21046), Elkridge (21075), Hanover (21076), Marriottsville (21104), Woodstock (21163), Cooksville (21723), Glenelg (21737), Glenwood (21738), Mount Airy (21771), Sykesville (21784), West Friendship (21794), Woodbine (21797), Simpsonville (21150), Lisbon (21765

Montgomery County: Laurel (20707), Highland (20777), Glen Echo (20812), Bethesda (20814, 20816, 20817, 20889, 20892, 20894, 20813, 20824, 20827), Chevy Chase (20815, 20825), Cabin John (20818), Olney (20832, 20830), Brookeville (20833), Barnesville (20838), Beallsville (20839), Boyds (20841), Dickerson (20842), Rockville (20850, 20851, 20852, 20853, 20847, 20848, 20849) Potomac (20854, 20859), Derwood (20855), Sandy Spring (20860), Ashton (20861), Brinklow (20862), Burtonsville (20866), Spencerville (20868), Clarksburg (20871), Damascus (20872), Germantown (20874, 20876, 20875), Gaithersburg (20877, 20878, 20879, 20882, 20899, 20884, 20885, 20898), Montgomery Village (20886), Kensington (20895, 20891), Silver Spring (20901, 20902, 20903, 20904, 20905, 20906, 20910, 20907, 20908, 20911, 20914, 20915, 20916), Takoma Park (20912, 20913), Mount Airy (21771), Woodbine (21797), Washington (20088), Hyattsville (20787), Washington Grove (20880), Garrett Park (20896)

Frederick County: Frederick (21701, 21702, 21703), Woodsboro (21798), New Market (21774), Walkersville (21793) Monrovia (21770), Clarksburg (20871), Ijamsville (21754)

If you don't see your area listed, please contact us as our service area is continually growing.

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