Q: My mother is currently in a skilled rehabilitation facility, recovering from a fall. She will be ready to be discharged in a week and will need assistance when she returns home. I received a list of agencies that provide homemaker services. My mother is over income for any subsidized care. How do I decide which agency would be best to hire, especially during this pandemic?
A: This can be a difficult task especially during this time. Be prepared to call each of the agencies, ask direct questions, and gather as much information as possible.
Understand that this may take some time. The need for in-home services has increased, and you may experience a longer than normal period of time before services start.
Licensed and accredited agencies are taking every step possible to mitigate the risks of the transmission of COVID-19. This is important, not only for their clients but for their staff as well.
Ask what training the agencies provide to staff about proper infection control. Determine whether they are adhering to the health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ask whether the agencies are providing sufficient supplies of PPEs (personal protective equipment) such as gloves, masks, or face shields.
Your mother will be at less risk if she can receive services from one individual rather than several workers. You may not have this option, but it is worth discussing with the agencies.
The fewer people your mother is exposed to, the better for her well-being. Also determine what backup plans the agencies have in place if the worker gets sick, has conflicting family responsibilities, or is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID.
Your mother should also wear her mask while the worker is with her, if possible.
Health officials recommend that visitors to the home should be practicing proper hygiene by washing their hands and disinfecting highly used surfaces they touch, such as doorknobs, light switches, phones, and remote controls. Finally, everyone should practice social distancing as often as possible.
if you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to an Options Counselor who can provide additional support. Options Counselors provide free information and make referrals for those seeking independent living.
Are you struggling to care for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.ESMV.org for more information. You can also call us at 1-800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore.