In-home caregiving can be a perfect middle ground. For an average of $21 per hour, you can hire a caregiver to provide aid in the care recipient’s own home. But caregivers can provide a wide range of services. Some people only need help with errands that require heavy lifting, while others need help with daily activities, such as bathing and dressing, or need medical care. What are the types of caregivers, and how do you find one who is qualified?
Skilled care and custodial care
If you need caretakers to change an IV or a catheter, you will have to hire someone with a medical license. Look for the words “skilled care” or “home health care.” If you don’t need any assistance that requires medical training, you need “custodial care,” “home care,” “personal care” or “attendant care.” These attendants will help the individual with activities of daily living, known in the trade as ADLs, like cooking, cleaning, bathing and dressing.
Types of licenses
In some states, caregivers need a license to operate. However, even if you live in a state where that isn’t the case, it’s best to find a licensed caregiver. A Home Health Aide license is a qualification for a custodial caregiver; HHAs cannot perform clinical tasks, but can manage a patient’s medication and help with ADLs. A Certified Nursing Assistant, who reports to a nurse, is qualified to care for a patient who is ill even if the patient needs to go to a hospital or other medical facility; CNAs are qualified to change wound dressings and help patients by bathing them or changing sheets.
Most caregivers, whether medical or custodial, are purely professional with their patients. However, a companion’s duties include socializing with the care recipient. For some elderly people who feel isolated in the home, a few hours a week spent chatting or playing cards with a companion can feel essential.
When it comes to choosing a caregiver, there are plenty of decisions to make. However, knowing the right terminology can make the choice as painless as possible.