Anyone have advice on choosing a Home Health Care Service/Agency specifically in the Central NJ area or in general?

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We are looking to have someone stay with our 92 year old mother when family members are not available or away for a period of time. She doesn't need a nurse...just someone to be there to make sure she eats and takes her meds and a presence for most of the day. I have researched and spoke to a few but wondered if anyone with experience in this can provide some words of wisdom.

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p.s. I had a hospital send a nurse out to help me with wound healing and she refused to wash her hands...said the purell was enough. Excuse me? I'm the patient and we should get washed hands at an open wound! We showed her the door and my husband took care of me. I do have private insurance. A medicare ppo. This country really needs to revamp their ways of dealing with disabled people. Many don't have family to look after them. It's very sad.
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I'm not saying all agencies are totally bad...only as good as the worker. But I have years of experience and it's been mine that agencies I've had weren't good...I had to let each one go. Independent aides that I use (and nurses) are not off the street. They have Medicaid numbers so have background checks, npi numbers and are contracted. As far as private pay I cannot say as my daughter has the Medicaid waiver.
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p.s. I've tried to report these people for their ways...to my knowledge nothing has ever been done. An aide harassed my daughter after I let her go for trying to get my daughter to lie on a timesheet....then the harassment began. I got her the package so she could trace calls (hand up/hold the line) calls. But she knew how often to call...so calls were upsetting but not often enough to get the prosecutors attention. It stopped. Eventually. I'm DONE with agencies. I WOULD start my own agency but no time...that would solve my problems, I could pay staff a bit more and secure them to stay as money is why they work (most of them work/live paycheck to paycheck). If you have good staff try to keep them. Don't put up with substandard treatment. There ARE good people out there. I've never met any aides who were good. One nurse was good but she's independent now and still with us. In Ohio they cut the workers salary twice this past year and gave agencies a raise! Ohio isn't fair to independent workers. mmm wonder if there are enough of them to start a union...no wouldn't work as they are up against agencies and Ohio is FOR agencies. it's terrible...some people have NO CONSCIENCE! One aide did tell me she's heard aides take cans and boxes and put them in the trash..take the trash out but stop at their car to take the food out first. So part of their pay is from stolen goods!!!! If you can't check them out yourself, then don't bother with them. Also if they are licensed like STNAs they can lose their licenses. Nurses also. There are nurses' boards.....do your homework and let them do the home health care. Check on them still but you'll find its so much better...Ohio wake up!
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The Visiting Nurses is a long-standing nationwide agency that generally has a good reputation. Check with others, ask the hospital discharge planners, talk with several agencies, not just the first one. If you decide to have an untrained person off the street, you will be liable for their payroll and you are hoping they are as nice as they seem. Search the internet for complaint reports on agencies.
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Use independents. You'll know their last names, addresses, you KNOW who is in your house with your loved ones. With agencies you do NOT. I've been down that road. Better to know who is there and where they came from, area etc than to have only a first name and an agency that only cares about their cut. These workers make less money for a reason.
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sherry1anne, great info, thank you. I have not been happy with some of the aides sent to us by my husband's PACE program and for the same reasons cited by YourGirlCindy. Last week I told one agency not to send back an aide who didn't want to give my husband a shower; this aide is afraid of cats (we have one). I don't begrudge the fear of cats -- people have fears -- but I do expect an aide to shower my husband on the day the aide is scheduled. And I've found myself doing transfers while the aide either just stood around or was sitting in the next room. It's ridiculous.
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Oh and the PEO will also do background checks and drug testing if you wish.
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My advice is to stay away from agencies. I've been cheated by the agency and robbed by the "caregiver" they sent out I was also stood up with one "caregiver not showing up at all. I hired my own person through care site and we've been happy with her for over a year. I pay her through a PEO company so that I actually "rent" her. The company has all of the responsibility. The name of the company I use for this service is Einstein. It costs very little for a servicing fee and they handle all the taxes, insurance etc. In my book, it's the only way to go they offers background checks also.
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Hi - thank you, this is good to know! After reading this whole thread, and your response, I agree that no route will be the magic answer. I sincerely hope you find good service and a good person/s using this agency!
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Zdarov...no, actually...I never did get a response to where to find independent caregivers. I did go on a site...believe it is Care? However...after giving your e-mail address it brings you to the next page where you find out there is a membership fee you have to sign up and pay before going further. I was annoyed they didn't tell you up front about this and left the site. But...because I had already given my e-mail I started getting a lot of e-mails from what appeared to be independent caregivers who use this site to get referrals. To get complete info from these people though you needed to sign up for membership! Did not like the way this site was handled so therefore did not pursue it. But there were a lot of caregivers sending partial e-mail. I went back to searching agencies. And I never realized how many HHA agencies are out there! I contacted a few. If an agency didn't get back to me after my original e-mail I crossed them off my list. I eventually went with Senior Helpers and are meeting with the owner this week for an assessment. A friend had used them for her husband and was happy with their service. I think it's like anything else...you can research up the kazoo and still have a bad experience and on the other hand pick the first place you look at and hit gold! Good luck. Let me know if I can help further!
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