Agency provides trained caregivers to fit a client's needs.
Home Instead Senior Care
Agency provides trained caregivers to fit a client’s needs
By Nancy Brumback Contributing Writer
Northborough - Whether you need long-term care for an elderly parent or short-term assistance if you or a loved one is recovering from an illness or accident, Home Instead can match a caregiver to the circumstances.
Laurie S. Bender, a registered nurse, and her husband, Bruce Bender, a physician, left their medical practice 14 years ago to start Home Instead in New England. Their main office in Northborough and a satellite office in Natick serve clients throughout central Massachusetts.
The service is staff ed for two basic levels of care, Laurie Bender said. Companion/homemakers provide such services as meal preparation, light housekeeping, assistance with shopping and errands, escorting to medical appointments and companionship. Personal care service providers assist with bathing, bathroom use, grooming and eating.
“Personal care assistants receive 63 hours of training and are supervised by a full-time nurse who does the initial client assessment,” Laurie Bender said. Home Instead has helped develop a personal care assistant course at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, hiring many of the graduates and sending its employees for training.
“Some families start with companion services to assist an aging parent, knowing they may need personal care providers down the road to keep the parent at home as long as feasible,” she said.
Bender urged adult children and their parents to talk about the care options desired before the need arises, citing what she calls the 70/40 rule, the ages of parents and children.
“People don’t plan for senior care like they do for child care,” she said. “Siblings don’t talk to each other or to their parents. But you need to talk about a health proxy, power of attorney, which sibling is best qualified to fill which role.”
“Parents should think about what they foresee for their future. What happens when you can no longer drive? Which child would make the best decisions? Be part of the dialog,” Bender said.
At Home Instead, the company is the employer and handles all training and employment issues, she said.
“We have reference checks, security checks, vehicle registry checks, drug screening, all before we invite a prospective employee to an orientation session,” she said. All Home Instead employees have a minimum of 40 hours training plus additional on-site training.
“My employees receive benefits from day one - vacations, health and dental insurance, a retirement plan, and we handle taxes and Social Security. If they are foreign-born, we check their
passport and Social Security card,” Bender said. Overtime is carefully monitored. Home Instead employees wear uniforms and must have a working vehicle.
Such services are not covered by Medicare, but Bender noted long-term health care insurance covers some services. State programs and federal veterans’ programs can off er some financial assistance. “We can help families find out what financial options are available,” she said.
Home Instead belongs to the National Private Duty Association and the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts. Bender has been an advocate of more stringent licensing and accreditation procedures for providers of inhome care for years, pushing the Alliance to finally establish a first level of accreditation.
“I’d like to see way more rigorous standards,” she said.
The Northborough Home Instead is part of a franchise organization based in Omaha. More information on that company is available at www.homeinstead.com, while detailed information on Bender’s company can be found at www.hearthsidehomeinstead.com. The main office is located at 386 West Main St. in Northborough; the phone number is 508-393-8338.