Choosing A Homecare Giver

By Shelley Wilson
Wednesday - April 11, 2007
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Seated (from left): Nikki Ono-Duyao, Nettie Vierra, Hope Mawae, Beverly Valentino. Standing (from left): David Steele, Theresa Sagapolutele, Shelley Wilson, Hardy Hamilton and Bill Matar
Seated (from left): Nikki Ono-Duyao, Nettie Vierra, Hope
Mawae, Beverly Valentino. Standing (from left): David
Steele, Theresa Sagapolutele, Shelley Wilson, Hardy
Hamilton and Bill Matar

When Wilson Homecare was founded in the mid-1990s, Hawaii’s in-home medical services industry was in its infancy. The state’s assisted living needs and demographics have changed over the past 10 years, favoring the caring, one-on-one attention that is homecare’s specialty. As a result, the industry has boomed and today it is one of the state’s fastest-growing and most in-demand services.

People seeking homecare now have more choices and more competition than ever among service providers. But this also means more risk as companies enter the market without qualified medical personnel and staff.

To safeguard yourself and your family, ask any homecare firm you consider hiring to answer these questions:

1) Are the caregivers licensed or bonded?

2) How often are the caregiver’s skills and training updated?

3) Are caregivers supervised by the administrative staff?

4) Are potential caregivers screened for use of illegal drugs and criminal backgrounds?

5) Are patients evaluated regularly by a licensed medical professional?

6) Does the company contract caregivers or actually employ them?

All of these questions are important, but in some ways, the last question is the most crucial. Typically, contracted services do not employ their caregivers. This means that the patient and the patient’s family are responsible for supervision, monitoring, paying taxes and worker’s compensation coverage.

A homecare agency such as Wilson Homecare that employs its caregivers takes full responsibility for all those factors. The agency also does all the paperwork to save you time, ensures its employees are fully accountable for their actions, carries appropriate insurance and creates a work schedule so that all needed shifts are covered.

Some healthcare consumers and their families may be tempted to use a contracted service because of the lower costs when compared to a caregiver.

However, people should be aware of the full spectrum of responsibilities and potential liabilities that come with using a homecare contract service.

Another key element to check when considering a homecare provider is its licensing to provide homecare services through the state’s Department of Health. In addition, it is valuable for any homecare provider to be accredited by the Joint Commission, an independent non-profit organization that is the nation’s predominant “standards-setting” and accrediting body in health care.

Consumers who hire agencies that are licensed and accredited can be confident that their home will have quality caregivers who are committed to the best practices.

More and more, homecare is becoming an essential part of Hawaii’s healthcare industry, and it seems that demand by consumers will only grow. By some projections, six out of 10 residents will need extended help with medical or living needs during their lifetime.

Should life take you or your family down that road, we hope that you will ask the right questions to ensure that you receive the caring, quality healthcare that everyone deserves.

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