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Be Aware: This Current Crisis Could Affect Your Parent’s Care

  • Apr 7, 2016
  • Meaghan Puglisi
  • 4-min Read

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Are you aware of the caregiver shortage that’s escalating across the country? If you’re searching for a home care provider for your aging parents, this is important for you to know. Locally, the Star Tribune featured an article on the crisis pointing out that here in Minnesota it’s reached a crisis point making it now an issue of safety for some and pushing families towards seeking desperate measures to care for their aging parents.

The real question is: what impact could this crisis have on you . . . especially if you have aging parents who need care at home? It could mean the difference between giving you the work/life balance you seek or continuing the frustration and stress.

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Before you sign up with a provider ask them: how are you handling the caregiver crisis? And then check further on these points:

  •  What happens when a scheduled caregiver is sick or doesn’t show up: Low rates for home caregiving won’t matter if the provider can’t fill the shift. Check whether the provider offers a guarantee that no shift goes unfilled. It can save you a tremendous headache down the road and avoid you having to rearrange your schedule or call in sick to work.
  • What’s the provider’s caregiver turnover rate and service rates: Some providers have upwards of 100% caregiver turnover. That is tremendous churn in the personnel who are caring for your parents. It is difficult to provide consistent care, or even perhaps competent care, with turnover that high. Another key question is their service rates – low rates may mean low pay for caregivers which can contribute to high turnover rates costing you much more in the long run.
  • What’s the workplace culture like: Culture may not seem like it matters, but it does. A top workplace attracts and retains top talent. When the people who work for a company are happy, they are more engaged in their work. At Lifesprk we believe if we first spark our people, they will in return spark their clients, meaning your parents. People want to work for a company that cares about them, that listens and pays attention to their needs, and that enables them to work to their top potential. Look for proof of the workplace culture through industry awards, and employee satisfaction scores.
  • What’s the recruitment, training and on-boarding process: Check how creative and thorough your provider is being in seeking out the right talent, and then effectively screening to choose only the top candidates. We know there’s a crisis but providers shouldn’t be sacrificing quality over quantity. Hiring the right people can make a difference in the care you and your parents will receive. One question to ask is how many caregiver candidates does the provider turn down? It can be a good indicator of how selective their recruitment process is. Ask whether there is any mentoring or other additional coaching that occurs beyond the required nursing supervision.
  • What’s the level of care coordination: All providers offer caregiver supervision, but an increasing body of research points to the need for a higher level of ongoing care management – a professional who can help trouble-shoot any situation that arises, significantly decreasing the burden on the family. In addition, care management may replace some of the need for caregiving hours, and by preventing future crises can work to reduce the need for caregiving over time.

Despite the dire crisis, there are some encouraging strides being made to motivate staff who are passionate about their work and exude a different attitude – one that is contagious and uplifting like Lifesprk caregivers David Kolleh and Gladys Aryee who said “It makes me feel good knowing I can help people feel alive again,” and “I feel like I come to a place where I’m among friends.”

What are your thoughts on the current crisis? Have you experienced this already and what have you learned? Share on…. Need help for your aging parent? Call us 24/7 or schedule a consultation.

Make sure you don’t miss a thing! Sign-up for our Seek On blog and stay connected with tips, resources and great articles all to spark your loved one to keep them healthier and independent longer.


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