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Hiring In-Home Caraegivers: 5 Tips to Help You Navigate the Industry

If you’re in need of in-home care services for the first time—either for yourself, a parent, a child, or another loved one—you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind. And given the complexity of the caregiving industry, you might have a lot of questions even if this isn’t your first time navigating the system!  The CIP is here to help. Whether you’re new to caregiving hiring or have been through it many times before, we want to help you find qualified caregivers for yourself or your loved ones.  When evaluating Marquette home care agencies (or elsewhere in the UP), start with these five essential tips. 1. Know the Legalities of the In-Home Care System First things first, there is no licensing requirement for home health agencies (HHA) in the state of Michigan. There are recommended best practices for in-home care services, but there is little oversight of these practices and adherence, or not, is left up to the individual company. Because there is weak oversight and the industry often incentives profit over people, some home care companies will cut corners on: Training and mentoring new caregivers Caregiver hiring processes (background checks, interviews, etc.) Proper compensation for hours worked  Communication with clients Tip: Start with our list of vetted Upper Peninsula, MI home care agencies. These agencies meet our criteria for ethical business practices and have been personally approved by CIP Founder Eric Paad. 2. Do Not Assume Good Intentions We all want to think the best of people, especially those whose entire business revolves around providing care for people who otherwise may not be able to live independently, safely, or happily. After all, people who are called to provide care must be caring….right? Unfortunately, we have to set aside that mindset when it comes to hiring a caregiver for in-home help. You need to accept (and even assume!) that some Marquette/UP home care agencies do not have your best interests at heart. It’s a sad truth, but it’s one that can save you a lot of headache and heartache as you go through the caregiver hiring process. 3. Ask Questions About Everything To find a reputable and professional agency for Upper Peninsula, MI home care, the best approach is to ask questions. Ask questions, get answers, and then ask more questions about those answers!  Here are some good questions to start with: How do you train new hires? What is your compensation structure and pay schedule for your caregivers? Is your company insured? What is your turnover rate? How do you acquaint new caregivers with clients’ backgrounds and needs? Do all caregivers have access to timely supervisory support? What is your policy if a caregiver finds themselves in a situation outside of their comfort level, skill, or professional training? How do you communicate any changes in caregiver schedules/assignments? What are your shift schedules for caregivers? (Minimum, maximum, average, etc.) How do you handle no-shows? What happens if our caregiver does not arrive on time? The purpose of these questions are twofold.  First, you’ll understand how the agency works and what professional standards, if any, are enforced.  Second, you’ll be able to quickly gauge the agency’s attitude toward your questions. Is the representative/manager open, honest, and understanding of your concern? Or are they quick to dismiss your questions with vague answers? 3. Ask Questions About Everything There are many different types of caregiving, and not all caregivers are equipped, trained, and/or willing and able to provide certain types of care.  Before speaking with in-home health care agencies (in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, or anywhere else), it’s a good idea to get clear on the kinds of services you are seeking, as well as the weekly time input. This can help ensure that the company or individual you’re hiring is matched to the needs you have. Some common in-home assistance services might include: Grocery shopping Meal preparation Laundry Bathing/hygiene Toileting Outings Transportation Review of mail Communicating with family, medical staff, etc. Tip: Check out the CIP family caretaker agreement for an idea of what a private contract might look like. 5. Understand How to Pay for In-Home Care If paid privately, the cost of home care can be prohibitive for many families in the UP. Fortunately, there are state and federal programs available to help children and adults with disabilities pay for home health care. Some of these programs include: Medicaid  Medicare  MI Health Link Home Health Program (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) State Disability Assistance, or SDA (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) Unfortunately, these programs can be a serious maze to navigate, as each has its own application processes, proof requirements, and provider restrictions. Many families combine state and federal funding if possible with other funding sources, such as long-term care insurance, disability insurance, or personal savings.  Need Help Navigating Michigan’s In-Home Care Services? If you need help navigating the UP/Marquette in-home care system—whether it’s getting connected with a local agency or figuring out a workable means of funding care assistance—the CIP would love to help you. Please explore our Care Close to Home service to see how we can help.

What High Schools, Colleges & Universities Can Do to Help

Ending the national shortage of caregivers will take work from all of us—but together, we can achieve our goals! Whether you’re a professor, department head, or student activities coordinator, there are so many ways that you can get involved with the CIP and help improve in-home care in Marquette, the UP, and beyond. 11 Ways Your Educational Institution Can Help the CIP Here’s how your high school, college, or university can take action today to end this crisis and ensure that quality care is available whenever someone in your life needs it. 1. Partner with Us Partner with the Caregiver Incentive Project to be a part of the fix. Learn more about our current partners and contact us to become one! 2. Culture Shift Make being part of the fix part of your institution’s culture. 3. Let Us Help Provide a platform for CIP to inform your faculty, employees, and student body about: The shortage of in-home caregivers and that it is a national crisis. Availability of scholarships and grants from CIP to students for working as an in-home caregiver. The possible individual benefits from working as an in-home caregiver. That these are paying jobs in the local community, near colleges and back home.   4. Credits Encourage students’ participation in solving this crisis. Give college credits for: Leadership Public service Volunteering Community involvement Hours worked Tasks performed while working 5. Job Shadowing Establish a job shadowing program for high school students to pair with an in-home caregiver. 6. Volunteering Establish a volunteer program. Perform tasks for their communities’ elderly, sick, and adult disabled living in their home—such as yard work, snow shoveling, odd jobs, window washing, picture hanging, etc. 7. Incentives Establish incentives for student participation in being part of the solution. (This is a big part of the CIP’s mission, vision, and approach!) 8. Internships Establish an internship program. 9. Pre-Reqs Make working as an in-home caregiver a prerequisite to advancing in certain college or specific fields. For example, make it a 100 class needed before a 200 class. 10. Inspire Inspire students to serve others that are in need. We can help there, too—please feel free to download our videos and share them with your classes. If you’re interested, we can also set up a Caregiver Academy training class specifically for your course, student group, or other university setting. What Benefits Do Students Get from Working as an In-Home Caregiver? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHOmBV4js_E 1. Career Experience For those seeking careers in medical, social work, clergy, physical therapy, special education and others: Real-world hands-on experience working with the elderly, sick, and adult disabled Understanding of the care system by assisting with and coordinating with family, doctors, and case workers Personal experiences that provide insights into whether and how your chosen degree and future career will truly “fit you”   2. Funding Scholarships and grants that pay on your student debt even if you’ve already graduated. 3. Perspective and Empathy Even if an in-home caregiver’s duties don’t fit directly into their chosen degrees, students can gain a perspective on part of their community that many have never thought of. 4. Satisfaction Have that feeling that only serving others and making a positive difference in someone’s life can bring you. 5. Resume Good resume material. 5. Paycheck Receive a paycheck. Contact the CIP to See How We Can Work with You! At the CIP, we’re grateful to have grassroots support for improving in-home care in Marquette and across the Upper Peninsula. We’d love to work with your high school, college, or university to figure out how you can be part of the fix. Please contact us or check out our current partners, sponsors, and supporters.

Living vs. Existing: Why Caregiving Matters

Quality caregivers are critical to allowing people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities to live safe, comfortable, and happy lives. We all want to have freedom and choices in our daily lives, and caregivers are so important in giving people like Dorothy Paad that option. Dorothy is the CIP spokesperson and an award-winning author. Hear it in her own words: https://vimeo.com/645277943 Check out our video gallery to view more videos and download them to share. Want to help the CIP improve the quality of care by supporting caregivers and working to improve the broken caregiving industry? Please learn more about our work and consider donating to support us.

10 Things That Make an Amazing In-Home Caregiver

Caregiving is a challenging but extremely rewarding job. Whether you’re giving care as an employee of an in-home care agency, on a privately paid basis, or in an informal capacity within your own home, there are so many fulfilling benefits to be had! Hear from Penny Canada, a caregiver and mother of a son with muscular dystrophy, about the top 10 traits that go into a compassionate and effective caregiver. Interested in becoming an in-home caregiver? Learn more about our Caregiver Academy or our scholarships and grants to help pay for your education.