Many people end up with numerous questions regarding home care when it’s for themselves or someone they care about. Some people simply don’t know where to turn, what home care actually offers, and whether there’s a benefit to hiring an aide or visiting nurse. Some simply don’t think it’s affordable, even though it’s the most affordable long-term care option there is.
On top of these basic concerns, there are family members who worry about the safety and well-being of that senior or disabled adult in their life. They read the news reports of abuse or theft or neglect and assume it’s systemic because that’s the majority of news coverage the home care industry seems to receive in mainstream and local media outlets.
While the overwhelming majority of home care aides and agencies are honest, caring, and compassionate and they have tremendous respect for the dignity of their clients, there are some who take advantage of the industry, their position, or become overwhelmed with stress and anxiety and things go wrong.
Having recourse, somewhere to turn, and someone who will listen about suspected fraud or abuse can impact the decision-making process for thousands of families across the country. In the United States, there are advocates and government agencies designed to help provide a wealth of resources for men and women, and their families, who need any type of short or long-term care at home.
According to the Chicago Tribune’s December 13, 2017 article, Tips for navigating home health care in Illinois, written by Michael J. Berens:
“If you suspect fraud, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operates a tip line: 1-800-447-8477 or 800-HHS-TIPS. Information will be forwarded to the appropriate state or federal agency.
On the state level, if you suspect fraud, have suffered abuse or neglect, or know someone who has been victimized, the nonprofit AgeOptions operates a government-funded hotline: 1-800-699-9043.
Finally, tips or complaints involving in-home care can be registered with the state Department of Public Health at 1-866-800-1409.”
Fraud and abuse always blacken any system or industry in which is occurs, but when the services are as personal as they are within home care, it can leave scars. As more agencies across the country turn to more careful vetting processes in hiring caregivers, they offer better protection against these kinds of crimes and events, and they should also be clear with prospective clients and their families how they could report suspicious behavior that has no place within the care and support of those most vulnerable men and women, regardless of age.
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