Assessment of Needs to Obtain Proper Services/Medical & Home Care
The key to obtaining the best possible care in place is to start with the family member’s primary care physician. This is the person who most likely has a familiarity with the patient, his/her family living circumstances and the community the person lives in, and knowledge of what services are available locally.
The caregiver should contact the physician as soon as one recognizes that a need is starting to emerge. Whether it be meal prep/activities of daily living/med supervision/difficulties with walking/transferring/bathing/cooking/shopping and the bigger issues of the negative impact of the symptoms of illness and aging, the physician will be able to do an assessment of those issues and write out specific orders to allow services to start being put into place. This will involve the caregiver to start the process of applying for Medicaid if that is necessary and of interviewing paid caregivers such as home health aides to have services provided on a schedule determined by circumstances as outlined by the primary family caregiver and physician. A home health agency like Visiting Nurse Services will likely be called to do an in-home evaluation and to start the process of assigning a Managed Health Care Company to handle obtaining supplies such as medical supplies as well as things like bath handle bars, canes, walkers and other medical supplies to be delivered. The most daunting task is evaluating and vetting a home health aide (HHA) to be there to handle managing the household (when required) and to look after your loved one for both companionship as well as overseeing their safety, taking meds according to schedule and light housekeeping (laundry, vacuum, bath/kitchen cleaning/cooking/shopping).
Determining if one has the means to pay privately for an HHA or to apply for Medicaid is the first thing to figure out. Next, is to ask for referrals within your circle of family & friends if they know of a well-qualified, experienced aide. Most home health care agencies give their aides a basic course in how to do certain tasks. If they are certified that means that their aides have taken a two-week course to be more familiar with addressing things such as skin breakdown and how to move a person with mobility issues.
We are in the process of arranging training for aides specifically for the care of people with LBD. We hope to have resources for you in the near future.
A private Aide will cost approximately $15-$20+ per hour in the NY Metropolitan area. Getting a recommendation from a friend is the best way to find an aide with a good reputation. Note that skills and training vary from aide to aide.
Working with an Agency is another option. It will generally cost you more than a private aide but rates vary and agencies offer their aides benefits. There are pros and cons to both. Trial & error and constant supervision by the family caregiver are the best ways to keep getting the best possible care.
Training for Aides
Dementia Care for Professional Care Givers
This workshop, offered by CaringKind, is for professional caregivers only, such as home health aides (HHAs) and certified nurse’s assistants (CNAs): http://www.caringkindnyc.org/dementiacaretraining or (646) 744-2900.
This training is FREE and meets once a week, for a full day, for six weeks. “It specifically aims to empower workers from a variety of settings to provide the highest quality of care to persons with dementia.”
Home Care Agencies
There are many home health care agencies in the metro New York area. Some are better than others. Below is a list of some in our area:
Calvary: 718-518-2465, www.calvaryhospital.org
Visiting Nurse Service of New York: 800-675-0391 http://www.vnsny.org/home-care/by-location
Parent Care: 718-486-7100 – ask for Intake (5 boroughs and Nassau Co)
Renewal Care – Joe Fisher: 212-498-9600
SARA Companion Home Care Services – Nicole Coppola: 516-837-3388 x706, www.saracompanions.com
Websites for Aides in the New York area
www.togetherwecare.com – This website was created by CaringKind (formerly Alzheimer’s of NYC) to connect those who have completed their 50 hour workshop entitled “CaringKind Dementia Care Training for Professional Caregivers” and families seeking to hire trained aides to provide care.