Ask The Expert: Non Medical Home Care, Companion Care
Tom Arnold, Owner and CEO of Right at Home Wake County in Raleigh, NC
Q: What are the red flags to look for during holiday visits with elderly loved ones?
A: When families live far away from one another, the holidays and special occasions may be the only opportunity that long-distance family members have to personally observe older relatives. Age related decline can happen quickly. Family members who haven’t seen their loved ones for several months may be shocked at their rapid decline. For example a former healthy father or mother looking frail or a once well kept home in disarray. According to an AARP survey, more than 34 million Americans live more than an hour away from elderly parents. Reputable agencies like Right at Home can provide free health assessments and premises inspections to determine the need for possible in-home assistance and report their finding to the family. Along with providing in-home care we are often called on to advocate for the elderly family members and regularly report to the family.
Q: How important is matching a specific trained caregiver to my loved one?
A: Compatibility is the most important element in matching a client with a caregiver. They need to be able to exist together without conflict. The caregiver often becomes the person most responsible for the well being of the client and the person most relied on by the client. Another important characteristic is the knowledge the caregiver has of the client’s mental and physical condition and the training they have to provide optimum care. Before hiring a caregiver Right at Home does personality profiling, competency testing, background checks and drug testing. Many factors go into finding the “right match.”
Q: What if we need 24-7 care for my loved one?
A: Providing 24-7 care requires an agency large enough to provide a “team” of highly trained caregivers for 8 to 12 hour shifts or a live-in arrangement. At Right at Home the team is supervised by a Registered Nurse, and a lead caregiver supervisor. When the client, due to a deteriorating condition needs skilled services, Right at Home partners with other organizations such as home health and hospice agencies, DME suppliers, therapists, etc. Responsiveness, consistency and continuity are necessary elements of an agency providing 24-7 care.
Q: What’s available to assist my loved one with meals and medication?
A: Proper nutrition and following a prescribed medication program are two very important elements of a good wellness program. Many elderly individuals who live alone need assistance in preparing nutritious meals. Without on-site caregivers many rely on Meals-on-Wheels, neighbors, religious organizations or others to provide meals. Meal preparation is an important hiring criteria at Right at Home. Our caregivers can also do the food shopping along with the preparation.
Medication errors are common and costly. One out of ten hospital admissions result from incorrect use of medications. With assistance of RAH caregivers the Right at Home Medication Management Program can minimize the risk of missing doses, taking incorrect amounts, or taking medicines at the wrong time. The program assists in remembering to take medication at the prescribed time and dosage. Also our RN can refill pill boxes on a regular schedule, monitor side effects and notify anyone involved when there is a change in prescriptions or refills required.
Right At Home of Wake County, please call 919-783-5633.
Right At Home of Durham and Chapel Hill, please call 919-241-5292.
Tom Arnold is the Owner & CEO of Right at Home of Wake County. Since 2008 Right at Home has become one of the largest and most respected home care agencies serving Wake County and surrounding area. As a senior himself, Tom understands the desire of the aging population to remain active and independent. Business Leader Media named Tom a 2011 Triangle Mover & Shaker, a 2012 Top 50 Entrepreneur, and Right at Home of Wake County, a 2012 Top 300 Small Business in the South. He has authored numerous articles and serves on several non-profit boards and committees.