Managing Vacations as a Family Caregiver

Are You a Family Caregiver? 

Here’s How Short Term Home Health Care Can Make Out-of-Town Trips Possible for You

The holidays are a great time to visit out-of-town relatives, but for many family caregivers, the challenges of ensuring their loved one’s health and safety while on vacation can seem insurmountable.

In this blog, we will discuss how short term home health care can make out-of-town trips possible for family caregivers, as well some advice on how to plan your loved one’s care to ensure everyone in your family has a happy, healthy holiday. Managing Vacations as a Family Caregiver_22 Dec 2017

What is Short Term Home Health Care?

For most home health care agencies, short term care is planned, staffed and monitored just like a traditional home care arrangement: a representative from the agency will meet with the family caregiver and potential client, determine whether the agency can provide the assistance a client needs with the help of the family’s medical team, build a care plan with appropriate caregivers and provide ongoing oversight, support and communication for the duration of the care plan.

Like long term home health care arrangements, home caregivers can provide a variety of services based on their training and the client’s needs, ranging from assistance with household tasks, errands and travel, up to and including around-the-clock nursing care.

When you contact an agency, they will typically ask you some questions about your loved one, their needs and your goals for the home care arrangement. This is typically followed up with by a visit from a Field Nurse Supervisor or similar staff member, who will perform an in-home evaluation to ensure the agency is the right fit for your loved one’s needs.

Finally, they will reach out to your loved one’s medical team for an up-to-date picture of your loved one’s medical needs and doctor’s recommendations, to better match the care plan to their specific needs.

With these basics down, let’s look at some steps you can take as a family caregiver to provide your loved one with the best possible experience.

1 – Discussing plans with your loved one

As a family caregiver, you are probably your loved one’s closest companion and friend, so discussing your travel plans and why you want to reconnect with other family members is important.  Every one of these conversations is different, but including your loved one in the planning process from the first step is a great way to give them ownership over the arrangement.

It’s important to take your loved one’s concerns seriously, and if you don’t have a good answer, don’t make one up! Including a social worker, doctor, or other trusted, independent authority in the conversation can help answer challenging questions and ease the conversation.

2 – Reach out to an agency as early as possible

Successful home care arrangements depend on good planning, and communicating with a home care agency early in the planning process is key.

Most reputable home health care agencies build consistent care plans that involve as few individual caregivers as possible to ensure your loved one always sees a familiar face in your absence.  This not only improves the report between client and caregiver, but allows caregivers to learn your loved one’s unique rhythms and moment-to-moment needs much faster.

3 – Be picky!

By reaching out to an agency long before your trip, you give yourself the opportunity to select an agency and home care team you and your loved one really trust.

Since you will be out of town, good communication on the agency’s part should be a huge part of your decision making process. Not only should an agency quickly respond to your calls and concerns, but they should have a clear emergency plan in place that includes at least one emergency contact who will be in town and available while you are away.

By starting this selection process early, you and your loved one can take the time to choose an agency and caregiver team that everyone is comfortable with.

4 – Make introductions

Your loved one should have an active role in the decision making process as you prepare for your trip.

If possible, consider scheduling a short shift or two where you and your loved one can meet the caregiver who will be helping with them while you are out of town.  Being present to break the ice during these initial meetings can be a huge help, plus they give you a chance to see how the agency’s caregivers will interact with your loved one, giving everyone a little more peace of mind.

5 – Follow up!

While away from your loved one, be sure to check in periodically and don’t be afraid to ask questions! At the same time, remember to enjoy your time with the rest of your family – by following these steps, using good judgement and working together, you have done everything you can to provide your loved one with the best possible care while you are away.

Being a family caregiver is one of the greatest ways you can support a loved one, but no one needs to do it all by themselves. With a little preparation and planning, you can find the support your family needs to make the most of the holidays.  To learn more about how home care can help your family, request a free home care guide, or call SelectCare, where our home care experts have been supporting family caregivers for more than 30 years.