SeniorBridge Eldercare Cautions Consumers to Make Informed Choices in Home Care for Loved Ones
by Nancy Kennedy - Chicago Hospital News - August 2005
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When a loved one is in need of care, whether due to aging or illness, most people prefer to have that care provided within the comfort, privacy and familiarity of their home environment. Private duty home care, according to the National Private Duty Association, provides services that range from skilled nursing to companionship and assistance with meals, activities of daily living and mobility. Private duty caregivers may be engaged through full service agencies, employment agencies or private hiring arrangements with individuals. The explosive growth of the home care industry means that consumers have many choices – so many choices, in fact, that they may be easily overwhelmed.
June Ninneman, LCSW, Branch Manager for SeniorBridge Eldercare, Inc., in Chicago, advocates for families to make informed choices and feels that they need to be made aware of the risks involved in choosing to privately hire a nurse, companion, nursing assistant or home care aide or to go through an employment agency. Although there are often pages of advertisements in newspapers and telephone directories, listing providers with assurances that they are "licensed and bonded," Ninneman believes that this phrase can be misleading and that it carries false implications that may eventually create troublesome consequences for vulnerable families.
"Taking care of a loved one at home is already very difficult for families," she says. "When you privately hire a caregiver, you are taking on enormous additional responsibilities and risks. You are essentially becoming an employer, with all the potential complications that that entails."