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Who’s watching the farm? Quality assurance tips from a San Diego Geriatric Care Manager

San Diego Geriatric Care Managers at Grace Care Management specialize in elder advocacy across the whole continuum of care however most of that care takes place at home. The primary provider of care in the home is undoubtedly the caregivers who are with your loved one for hours every day. Most of that time the caregiver is alone without anyone to monitor them.

How do you make sure that the caregivers with your mother and father are giving the care you hope they are? How do you make sure that they are giving the care you’ve been promised by their company? How do you get past the marketing fluff, the shining promises to the nitty-gritty of reality? Here are a few things any family can do to make sure that their caregivers are providing the care they should:

–          Make sure you meet your loved one’s caregivers in person and then make unannounced “drop-in” visits frequently to see what is actually happening.

–          Provide a documentation system that you can monitor. Define benchmarks for care standards you feel essential for your loved one and then provide a simple spiral notebook that you review systematically.

–          Evaluate the caregiver’s physical appearance as well as the soundness of their vehicle.  Poor hygiene and unkempt appearance indicates the potential for the same in your loved one’s care. A car without hubcaps, dented and with cracks in windshields is telling you something you should pay attention to. Having car insurance is not enough to protect a vulnerable elder from being driven around in a poorly maintained and dangerous car.

–          Make sure you keep a close eye on the food in the refrigerator. How food is utilized is a good indicator of the level of effort put into the rest of your loved one’s care. Food should be fresh and plentiful with a good variety. Come to visit at meal times to see what your loved one is being served.

–          If you are worried at all about your caregiver paying attention to your loved one or their level of responsiveness and respect, you can always ask receptionists at doctor’s/dentist’s/attorney’s offices, neighbors etc. to observe the interaction between your loved one and their caregivers and give you feedback.

–          You can “SKYPE” on a regular basis. How does your loved one look? Are they losing weight? Are there unusual bruises or skin tears? Do they look scared?

–          If you are really worried and yet cannot put your finger on anything concrete, meet with professionals who can help you find ways to monitor for neglect and elder abuse.

–          Hire a Geriatric Care Manager to supervise your loved one’s home care and caregivers. They are professionals who know what to look for and how to spot problem care and problem caregivers.

It cannot be overemphasized that hiring a “home care company” is not a guarantee of quality care. There is no substitute for your involvement and diligent oversight of your family member’s care.  Grace Care’s Geriatric Care Managers can help.

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