The first step in hiring in-home care is to research, consult with, and select a trusted home care company. A reputable home care company that has a strong record of service and experience will have the most qualified home care nurses. Once you select the right company, their care coordinator will set up a courtesy in-home assessment to meet you and your loved one. From there, you will have the opportunity to interview the prospective home care nurse.
- Experience – A professional home care nurse will provide services in a number of different areas. Make sure you ask for specifics about their previous caregiving experiences. Asking for references is a good idea. If your loved one has a preexisting condition, such as diabetes or dementia, make sure the home care nurse you choose has experience working with these conditions. If meal preparation will be a part of their duties, ask them about the type of foods they cook well and if they are familiar with accommodating special dietary requests.
- Expertise – Make sure the home care nurse you choose has undergone the necessary training and received proper certifications according to the guidelines in your state. If they have continued their education and training in addition to meeting the state’s minimum requirements that is a great sign. Ask them about additional credentials they may have obtained or are currently working on.
- Compassion – The bond between a patient and home care nurse is critical for long term success. Empathy and attentiveness are crucial to fostering a trusting relationship with your loved one. Ask the caregiver why they have chosen home care nursing as a profession. The right home care nurse will have a good balance of professionalism and a nurturing and caring nature. Ask the candidate what interests they have that might be shared with your loved one, such as watching a particular kind of sport or listening to a certain type of music. They will be spending a lot of time together, so shared interests can make visits more enjoyable for both.
- Patience – Home care nursing is not for the faint of heart. It takes a very special kind of personality to choose this kind of career. Perhaps the most important quality to look for in a caregiver is patience. This is especially true when seeking care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Ask them about a difficult experience they had with a previous client and how they managed it. Be looking for composure and empathy in their story.
- Communication – Good verbal communication and a positive attitude are a must when looking for a good home care nurse. They will be spending a lot of time with your loved one, so you want them to be able to communicate well with one another, and with you. Your home care nurse should assist in keeping your loved one calm and comfortable, while also keeping the lines of communication open with you about any changes in their care plan. Proactive problem-solving is a big part of providing care for another person and requires dedication and excellent communication skills.