Archive for the ‘Caregivers West Palm Beach’ Category

Protect Yourself From Legal Liabilities When Hiring Boca Raton Home Health Caregivers

by: John Aker | September 25th, 2017

Boca Raton Home Health CaregiversAker Kasten Home Health Care of Boca Raton has joined forces with a national movement to educate the public on risks—including legal liabilities—associated with employing a caregiver versus hiring an agency that provides caregivers.

The Health Care Financing Administration estimates more than 7.6 million Americans require in-home care due to acute illness, long-term health conditions, permanent disability, or terminal illness. Yet despite the large number of people requiring care at home, the private duty home care industry remains mostly unregulated and the quality of care between providers can vary greatly. Often people do not realize that by employing a caregiver through a Florida registry, clients become responsible for taxes and worker’s compensation.

Choices in Home Care

  1. Registries, also known as referral services or nursing registries, match independent contractors to clients and patients. These workers are not employed by the registry as employees; instead the registry serves as a middle man to match independent workers to clients seeking home care.
  2. Private duty agencies, like Aker Kasten Home Health Care, provide caregivers who are employed, bonded, insured and licensed. Such agencies do the accounting/bookwork, background checks, provide training, supervision and discipline, carry insurance, and ensure shifts are covered.

 

Quality Care versus Cost

At first glance, the hourly rate for a registry caregiver might seem substantially lower than an agency employed caregiver, but does not include the additional client expenses of worker’s compensation and taxes. An agency’s hourly fee does include the required taxes and worker’s compensation payments because the agency fully employs its caregivers.

Important questions to ask when hiring a caregiver:

  • How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?
  • Is there a care professional who works with the client and family to develop an individualized plan of care?
  • How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?
  • How often are caregiver services monitored?
  • Does the agency employ a full time nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?
  • Who employs the caregiver?
  • How does the agency screen and select caregivers prior to an assignment?
  • Are references checked and are criminal background, driver’s licenses and drug screens conducted on all employees?
  • Does the agency manage all payroll and employee related matters and adhere to state and federal guidelines in their employment practices, such as: withholding appropriate taxes, providing worker’s compensation, and other benefits?
  • Do they also use independent contractors? If so, who employs the person and pays the mandated taxes and withholdings in this case?

If an independent home care provider is hired, the person who hired him or her becomes the legal employer—taking on payroll, tax liabilities, and worker-related injuries. Many consumers are caught unaware of these employer-related obligations and find themselves paying back-taxes and penalties.

An educated public will understand the differences between registries and agencies and realize the legal liabilities associated with employing a caregiver. Interested in learning more about our home health care services in Boca Raton and the surrounding areas? Contact us today!

Tips to Cope with Caregiving & Senior Diabetes

by: John Aker | June 27th, 2017

Senior DiabetesSenior diabetes is known to raise the risk of a number of major health problems, including heart disease and kidney failure. More recently, studies have also linked diabetes to speedier mental decline and dementia in seniors.

Age is one of the most significant factors in the risk for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association found that 23.1% of seniors over the age of 60 have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that can be positively affected by caregiving, so an understanding of the risks, treatments and even prevention are essential in protecting your loved one.

Diabetes in seniors can manifest itself differently than what you might traditionally associate with the disease in younger people. For instance, one of the scariest side effects of diabetes in seniors is heart disease. Others can include kidney failure, eye complications such as blindness or glaucoma, foot and skin complications, deterioration of mental health, high blood pressure, arterial disease & stroke.

Living with senior diabetes is really a question of making good life management choices and as a caregiver, you can strongly influence many of those lifestyle choices. Learning what works best is much of the battle against diabetes. Aker Kasten Home Health Care recommends the following:

  • Food Choices are #1 – First and foremost, the most important part of managing diabetes is diet. Caregivers are most likely responsible for shopping or meals, so understanding what foods are good for diabetes and what foods should be avoided can make all the difference. High-carbohydrate foods, such as breads, pastas, potatoes, chips, candy and desserts are foods that will increase blood sugar levels. Keeping track of blood sugar is crucial – higher blood sugar can lead to stroke and heart attack.
  • Get Moving – Exercise is the second most important step to controlling diabetes. Depending on the senior’s ability, any type of exercise is helpful. Running, walking, tennis, golf, gardening – even yoga – provide wonderful benefits for the heart, muscles and mental health. Make sure to check with the doctor prior to beginning any new exercise program. Find out what the senior enjoys and try and incorporate that into a daily routine.
  • Be Aware – The third tip in managing diabetes in seniors is to regularly check for signs of complications. Be aware that seniors don’t always express difficulties or symptoms. If dementia is in play or even a little bit of denial, you won’t necessarily hear complaints. As a caregiver of a senior with diabetes, keeping your eyes and ears open is key.

Make sure to check the senior’s feet for infection, as neuropathy is a frequent problem with diabetics and loss of feeling can be common, causing unreported open sores or lack of circulation. Also be sure to check skin frequently for signs of fungus, infection and even boils. Finally, it is important to medically monitor with blood sugar tests and journals, and ensure that the senior has enough tests and supplies.

Diabetes does not have to be scary for a senior and definitely not for family caregivers. For more tips or information, please contact the home health care experts in Boca Raton, Aker Kasten Home Health Care at 561.955.6010.

Caregiver Stress Affecting Productivity & Profitability in Boca Raton Businesses

by: John Aker | June 26th, 2016

 

Boca Raton BusinessesBoca Raton companies are always concerned about the well-being of their employees. Many offer wellness coaches, gym facilities, stress management tactics and more. However, there is a silent undercurrent of stress for many employees that companies are likely unaware of that could be affecting performance and ultimately, the bottom line.

This silent stressor centers around the “sandwiched” employees: those that have their own nuclear family to care for and are also now in charge of an aging relative. Currently over 1 out of 4 households is involved in providing care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. Just over half of all caregivers for persons aged 50 and over are employed full-time, while simultaneously providing 20 hours or more of care per week.

Employed caregivers are more likely to miss work or come in late/leave early, experience a loss in productivity, take unpaid leave of absences or use personal or sick days to provide care, and are two to three times more likely to develop depression. All of these factors cut into morale and productivity in the workplace.

By recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress in an employee who is also caregiving for a senior or disabled person, steps can be taken to assist through a respite care benefits program or home care referral.

 

Why It Matters

According to MetLife, family members needing to care for loved ones 50 years or older cost American businesses as much as $29 billion each year. Another national study reported that companies without eldercare benefits stand to lose $2,500 a year per caregiving employee. Some evidence shows that:

  • Each caregiver loses on average 166 hours of productivity due to absenteeism and interruptions.
  • 20% of the caregiving employees will quit their jobs to provide care full-time.

The financial impact of all these factors combines to staggering dollar amounts. For example, a Boca Raton area company that employs 500 people loses over $1.8 million each year to unmanaged eldercare – equal to about 15% of their salary budget. Bottom line, family caregivers need help, and more and more companies are looking to provide it.

 

Employer ROI

For any Boca Raton company to create a new program, there needs to be a business case for it. Will helping employees stressed with caregiving benefit the company? The answer is yes. The most valuable return on investment for an eldercare program is employee retention. The time, money and valuable expertise that are lost when employees leave is far more costly. Benefits typically offered include:

  • Work time flexibility
  • Financial assistance
  • Phone- or Internet-based resources and referrals
  • Face-to-face consulting
  • Educational activities like on-site seminars and health fair kiosks

 

Web Resources for Family Caregivers in the Workplace:

Aker Kasten Home Health Care works with many Boca Raton area companies to assist in advising family caregivers. We have compiled the following list of resources for employers to begin the process of learning about the benefits of eldercare programs or referrals.

With the graying of the Boomer generation, these trends pose an urgent need for Boca Raton businesses to plan for the needs of their working family caregivers. A strong support network is always going to be the greatest protection against stress. Through an eldercare benefits or referral program, businesses can help alleviate some of the responsibilities and pressures of family caregiving.

For further information about our eldercare resources and respite care programs, please contact us today!

Aker Kasten Home Health Care Urges You to Act F.A.S.T to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Stroke

by: John Aker | April 26th, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of individuals across America will experience a stroke this year. Still, despite the fact that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a top cause of adult disability, many remain uneducated as to its causes and methods for prevention. Even more alarming is the fact that many individuals fail to recognize a stroke when experiencing symptoms. Aker Kasten Home Health Care of Boca Raton understands the importance of stroke education. We encourage the general public to become more aware about stroke risk factors, methods for prevention and symptom recognition. Aker Kasten Home Health Care knows that acting F.A.S.T is the key to reducing the side effects of stroke.

May is Stroke Awareness Month. As part of a national public education movement Aker Kasten Home Health Care encourages F.A.S.T thinking when you are unsure if a loved one has experienced a stroke.

Face- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of his face droop?
Arms- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech- Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he repeat the sentence correctly? Are his words slurred?
If any of these answers are YES then…
Time is of essence! Call 911 right away or get to a hospital as fast as possible!

Quick Facts about Stroke
Symptoms of a stroke include…

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, an arm, or a leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion or trouble speaking and understanding.
  • Trouble seeing from one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

What is a stroke?
A stroke is the result of interrupted blood flow to an area of the brain and can cause brain damage. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability. Abilities impacted usually include speech, movement, and memory.

How do you reduce your risk of a stroke?
According to the National Stroke Association (NSA), 80% of strokes are preventable through careful attention to these ten steps:

  • Check your blood pressure regularly.
  • Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heartbeat).
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Know your cholesterol numbers.
  • Control diabetes.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat a lower sodium, lower fat diet.
  • Find out if you have circulation problems.
  • Be aware of stroke symptoms.

Life after a stroke
There are ways to make life easier if your abilities are impacted due to stroke.

  • Dressing can be made easier by selecting clothes with front fasteners and replacing buttons, zippers, and laces with Velcro fasters. There are also several dressing aids available, such as long-handled shoe horns on Internet sites and in health supply stores.
  • Special utensils such as flatware with built-up handles which are easier to grasp and rocker knives for cutting food with one hand can help people with physically-impaired arms and hands.
  • Helpful bathroom devices include, among others, grab bars in shower or tub, raised toilet seat, tub bench, electric razor and toothbrush and flip-top toothpaste tube.

Need more information?
Contact Aker Kasten Home Health Care at 561.955.6010 for information on recovering at home with help. We are a Boca Raton based home care agency servicing all of Palm Beach County and offering care for individuals who have suffered from a stroke as well as advice and guidance for friends and family who serve as caregivers. Those living with a stroke may still remain comfortable within their own home with the proper care and assistance.

We urge the public to become educated about strokes and offer ourselves as a helpful resource for all who wish to learn more about the disease.

Additional Resource:
National Stroke Association is the leading national non-profit organization devoting all of its efforts and resources to stroke. NSA provides the most up-to-date information on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and support for stroke survivors and their families. For more information on NSA visit www.stroke.org.