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5 Tips for Implementing Home Care Services in Assisted Living

Sherry Christiansen
By Sherry ChristiansenDecember 21, 2018

If you are a caregiver for a parent or senior loved one with a condition like dementia, you may be wondering just how to find the right assisted living community that will meet their needs. Fortunately, there are some innovative strategies like implementing home care services in assisted living, that can help during this time.

Read our top five tips for integrating home care services in assisted living to provide the best care for a loved one.

Top 5 Tips for Implementing Home Care Services in Assisted Living

Assisted living communities may not be able to provide the 1:1 personal care that a person with early-stage dementia requires. Other senior care options like memory care or a skilled nursing community can be expensive, providing too many services, for example, for a person who is in the early stages of the disease.

The solution is a joint effort between an assisted living community and a local home care agency — a common scenario, but how is it accomplished?

Here are some tips to help caregivers combine these agencies for continuity of care for a senior loved one:

Tip #1: Any home care agency is only as good as its staff.

Do your research and find a home care agency that has experience integrating their care with an assisted living community’s staff. Try to ask about an agency’s specialty professionals, such as those certified to care for dementia.

Tip #2: Caregivers with specialized training have more to offer than other agencies with no specialized training.

Formal training is required for all home care agencies, but specialized training can help caregivers better assist parents and senior loved ones with dementia in assisted living.

Tip #3: Home care agency caregivers can interact with other residents, but it’s important that they never solicit their services while on the job.

A home care agency should never start providing any services without first notifying the assisted living community. Home care staff should be providing specific care, such as helping with bathing, dressing or eating, not just serving as a companion. Assisted living communities should then provide supervision.

Tip #4: The home care agency staff should follow each policy of the assisted living community and be well-instructed.

This means that when any new issue surfaces, the home care agency staff should attempt to work with the assisted living community to resolve the problem. For example, if a home care agency is hired to help a resident with eating and the resident suddenly begins refusing food, the assisted living community needs to be notified right away. In turn, the community will notify the family members, observe for an ongoing pattern of loss of appetite and perhaps report the issue to the health care provider. The funnel of communication should be well laid out to each team member of the home care agency, as well as the assisted living community.

Tip #5: The key to success is effective communication.

It’s imperative for the assisted living community and the home care agency to each be involved in effective communication. Each party bears responsibility for timely and quality care of the resident.

Here are some common workflow scenarios, requiring good communication between the agencies:

  • Any time a resident is moved to another bed, such as when a higher level of care is required
  • When a care plan is updated
  • When a new staff member who is not familiar with the community is brought in as a caregiver
  • When there is a change in the status of the resident

Collaborating with an assisted living community and home care agency to ensure your senior loved one gets the level of care needed can take some planning, but once you’ve learned what to be on the lookout for, the process should be seamless.

Have you and your family been through this process before? What other suggestions would you have for implementing home care services in assisted living? We’d like to hear your tips in the comments below.

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Sherry Christiansen
Sherry Christiansen
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