Page 19 - BusinessWest 2021 Senior Planning Guide
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standards to licensure to establish quality standards.)
• Do they perform their own background checks on their staff, and, if so, which background checks do they do?
• Do they offer continuing education for their staff, and is it mandatory? • Do they have a planned orientation process where the staff is made aware of the company policies and procedures?
• Do they have written policies and procedures?
• What services does the company offer, and do they have a waiting list? • Who evaluates the client’s home-care needs? Is it a lay person or a healthcare provider?
• Is the family involved in the initial evaluation and plan of care?
• Who monitors the direct caregiver?
• Is documentation required?
• Who is the point person for complaints and questions?
• When can care actually start?
• Does the agency have professional and general liability insurance?
Time to Check References
Back to due diligence. Ask for references, and reach out to the references and ask for input. How was their experience? Would they use the agency again? Is there a particular caregiver(s) they liked? Was the overall experience positive or negative?
Stay Involved
After deciding in-home care is the best option, researching and vetting your choices, and, finally, determining with whom you would like to partner, remember to stay present in your loved one’s care. Become a member of the home-care team, an integral part of the customized care plan. Remember: where home care is concerned, quality matters. n
Mary Flahive Dickson, RN, MBA, M.Ed is executive vice president of Golden Years Staffing Agency and chief nursing officer of Golden Years Homecare Services;
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with the medication name, dosage, and other instructions.
7. Understand side effects. Make sure you understand the potential side effects
of medications you take and be sure to let your provider know if you experience any that are serious. They can often provide advice or change the medication or dosage to minimize issues. You can also talk to your pharmacist with questions and concerns about side effects.
8. Learn how to read the labels. The label on the outside of your prescription contains valuable information about interactions, dosage, who prescribed it to you, and how long it is good for. This is a valuable tool, especially if you take multiple medications prescribed by different healthcare providers. The label typically includes eight parts:
• Pharmacy information, including the address and phone number;
• Your information;
• The prescribing physician’s information, including contact information;
• Drug name and strength;
• Instructions for how, when, and how often you should take it;
• Prescription information, including the date your medication was prescribed, the
date it was filled, the number of doses provided, how many times your prescription may be refilled, and when your medication expires;
• The name of the manufacturer of your medication; and
• Finally, a federal caution statement which could include warnings about consuming alcohol or driving while using the medication.
9. Plan ahead for refills. Make sure you order refills well in advance to avoid missed doses. Some pharmacies now offer medication-management programs allowing for routine refilling of your prescriptions and will notify you when your refill is ready. n
Kara James, PhD is president and co-owner of Louis & Clark Pharmacy. She at- tained her doctor of pharmacy degree in 2012 from Albany College of Pharmacy and has been with Louis & Clark ever since. She is certified in pharmacy-based im- munization delivery from the American Pharmacists Assoc. To learn more about Louis & Clark’s services, which include free delivery, visit
            1165 N. Pleasant St. Amherst, Mass 413-549-0115
   A unique hospice model in the Pioneer Valley
 Compassionate Care for All
 An independent non-profit hospice program
Providing expert end-of-life care to address patients physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as the needs of their loved ones.
To learn more about us and our upcoming fundraisers, grief groups and to join our mailing list, visit

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