ASQ Featured On Senior Centers of Eastern CT Podcast
Listen to the first 12 minutes of the Senior Centers of Eastern CT generations podcast we were recently featured to in which we discuss picking the best home care agency.
Brian: Hello. I am Brian Scott-Smith and welcome to Generations, a new podcast for people of your generation.
At some point in our lives the decision to either stay in our homes or move to a care facility will have to be made, but how do you decide what's right for you and your family and do you really want to leave the place you've called home for so many years and start up somewhere else?
There are many options out there, and I recently spoke to Caleb Roseme of Assured Quality Homecare based in Norwich, Connecticut, about his organization and what it offers.
Caleb: We're a home care agency, and what we do is we hire and send caregivers into the homes of the elderly. These are individuals where they either live alone, and their children have been providing care for them, and the care needs of their parents are exceeding the capacity of that child to help out mom or dad, or it's somebody who lives with their spouse and their care needs have exceeded the capability of their spouse.
So maybe the person needs help with showering or getting out of bed and getting dressed, and the spouse isn't able to do all those things, or else there are some skills required that the spouse is unable to do.
Brian: So what's special obviously about Assured Quality Homecare, because obviously respectfully there's a lot of other organizations out there, but I am guessing they are not all the same?
Caleb: That's a great question. What makes us special is the fact that case management is a part of our agency. Most of the time, when it comes to home care, you're going to call a company. You may get somebody, if you're lucky, to come out and visit you and ask you a couple of questions and get you to sign a contract to start care, and then somebody just shows up on your front door.
With our service, it's more boutique. We have two nurses on staff, and those nurses oversee the caregivers. They're also the same nurses that will come and do an assessment, and when they do an assessment, it's a very in-depth assessment. Because they are nurses by practice, they are looking out for things that need to happen to help, as much as possible, improve the quality of care that somebody is receiving at home; and once again, those nurses continue to oversee the care.
The majority of the time, when you are in home care, you're going to have somebody or a person who is doing the assessment - they don't have any sort of formal training - and I think the worst part is the caregivers that they send to your house, they have no formal training either.
If your mom was in the hospital or a skilled nursing home, and they had to go home, in that setting, they have CNA's or trained people to provide care for them. Now imagine they come home, and the person taking care of your loved one has no training at all. How are they going to really be able to help?
So we have nurses to oversee the staff who provide the care and the staff that's providing the care - they have to go through a 21-skills certification process.
Brian: There was one thing that really struck me when I had to look at the website when I was doing the research for this interview, and it really hit me, and I have never seen it before on any other website. They said a "free 104 point safety evaluation," which sounds incredible. Tell me a little bit about it?
Caleb: Oh, that's a fantastic question. So when somebody has an incident, and they end up in a skilled nursing facility or the hospital or let's just say mum or dad or your spouse is falling or has fallen multiple times, there is an indication that something in the home needs to change.
So there is no true homecare without some sort of a home safety evaluation and modification that's done in the home to maximize the quality of care that a person receives; and so, what our home safety assessment does is A nurse that performs a home safety assessment and the initial caregiver who comes into the home also goes through and performs a home safety assessment, just to identify any potential risks such as rugs.
Or let's say you're saying you're transitioning home from a skilled nursing facility or a hospital. You have a low toilet seat. You should have somebody to go through your home and identify, "You need to have a higher/raised toilet seat." And so by us doing that, we're able to collaborate with anybody on the care team.
It could be the doctor. It could be the home health agency. It could be the child or the spouse to say, "Hey, we need to get a raised toilet seat in here. This will help this person transition or use the restroom easier without having to struggle to get up" or "This will reduce the chance that this person will fall" and just to address all of the things that are safety concerns.
Brian: I mean, that sounds like a minor thing. It's something which I think so many of us would overlook. I mean, you know, we use the bathroom but probably don't think about the facilities in there. So actually having somebody who comes in and objectively looks at this and says exactly what you've just said; it could be potentially a lifesaving situation!
Caleb: Yeah, absolutely. It's something that we've helped transition over two hundred people home and keep them safe, and out of those two hundred people, we have only had three situations where they ended up back at the hospital within thirty days. So for us, that tells us that what we're doing is working.
These families get surveyed by a third party verification company just to make sure that we're meeting the needs of our clients - and when you look at the satisfaction of our customers, over 85% of our customers are satisfied with the service that we provide.
Brian: I think it's very important when people have effectively strangers come into their home to look after their family members; that they can say there is this independence and checking. But also let's talk about the fact that you've got, I believe, an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau as well. I mean, that obviously means a lot?
Caleb: Yeah, absolutely. So with the Better Business Bureau, if someone is unhappy they complain to the Better Business Bureau and the Better Business Bureau provides visibility to customer complaints. Us as the business, if we are given an opportunity to address a customer complaint and even then you would still see that so and so complained about this, and we addressed it.
Thankfully, we don't have that issue. There are none there. We have an additional 42+ reviews on caring.com, which out of that is a 4.5 out of 5 stars, and then with Google, we're 4.5 out of 5-star reviews there also.
Brian: Another thing I wanted to bring up is you also supply a huge range of services, but I just wanted to pick up on two in particular - end of life care and also respite and sitter care. Talk to us about obviously the end of life care aspect.
Caleb: I think that the end of life care; it's tough for the families to go through. For us, it's an honor to assist the family in those situations. So end of life care if for people who are at the end of their life. These individuals are typically on hospice care, and they're at home, and they're bed-bound. They have a lot more complicated needs, which in our case the majority of time we're dealing with somebody with five or more chronic conditions.
When you have an end of life client, this is like two to three or four times more chronic conditions that are involved, just because of the complexity of that. So both of our nurses on staff have that training. So they have worked for a hospice company, and they have provided hospice care for multiple years.
So what that has allowed us to do is we understand what a hospice agency is looking for when a home care agency is in the picture, and we also understand from the family's side what they're looking for because these nurses have been on the hospice side where the family is expressing the additional needs that the hospice provider isn't able to provide and we've been on the home care side, too.
Being on the home care side, it allows these nurses to know that this hospice agency is going to need these things, and this family is going to need these things also. So we train our team, our caregivers, and we equip our caregivers so that they can understand and help make that process for the family as easy as possible.
I think probably the best example would be we had a client who was passing away. The entire family is there with him, and they are tending to him, the person. They're not attending to his physical needs because that's what we were there for. We were able to make sure that this person stayed comfortable in his home and in his bed.
We were able to collaborate and communicate with the hospice agency so that they were aware of whatever was happening, but I think what was most important is the family and the fact that they were able to spend quality time with the individual instead of focusing on his actual physical needs during his last few hours.
Brian: The other one I wanted to pick up on with you, of course, was respite and sitter care that you provide. I mean, people, of course - and we're talking about at the moment - you supplying a service to individuals in their home, but we also mustn't forget that the caregivers, the primary caregivers and loved ones who may also be part of this process often need some time away themselves; and of course, that's something that your organization recognizes and can help with.
Caleb: Yeah, absolutely. What happens is if you are the primary caregiver, you have to take a break; otherwise, you will burn out. As the care needs for your loved one increases, the more and more limited you are in regards to your ability to do anything, and so having a respite care - it could be once a week, or it could be three times a week - it helps makes things easier.
So we have a couple that we do that for, and the wife goes swimming on the days that we provide respite care. She goes out and hangs out with her friends on the day that we provide respite care, and those things help her to recharge to come back to provide that care for her husband.
So yeah, the respite care is certainly important for the people who don't need someone there all the time, and they're able to handle all the needs of their loved one, but they do need to take a break.
Brian: Thank you for taking the time, I am sure out of an incredibly busy day, to share with us the information about Assured Quality Homecare, and thanks for joining us on the Generations podcast.
Caleb: Thank you, Brian. It's been a pleasure.
Brian: If you want to find out more about Assured Quality Homecare and their services, visit their website at asqhomecare.com.