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Helping You Find Trustworthy In-Home Care

  September 07, 2019


By Zach Shaw, President of the Arizona In-Home Care Association

When your child is sick, you take them to a doctor—a doctor who has had extensive education in medicine, has been trained and tested to prove competency and expertise in their chosen field, and is licensed to practice with the general public. After all, you wouldn’t trust your child’s healthcare to someone who does not have the skill set and knowledge to diagnose or treat your child’s symptoms; would you? And what about that license to practice? That license ensures that your doctor must adhere to the latest standards in healthcare and if they do not, they can lose their license, effectively ensuring they can no longer practice.  So you have peace of mind, knowing that this doctor will be providing appropriate care when you bring your child to see them.  All of this just… makes… sense.

What if we rewrite that example and instead of your child, your aging mother needs help. Perhaps this is not a medical issue, but rather just a part of the aging process, and she could really use someone who can come into her home and provide hands-on care to assist her throughout the day.  Maybe this person helps mom bathe, or perhaps will prepare mom’s meals. Maybe mom’s memory is failing and both you and mom have to trust this person to make sure mom is making good decisions. You don’t need a doctor—you need a caregiver.  A caregiver that you can trust has the appropriate experience and knowledge to care for mom.  A caregiver who adheres to best practices because they are licensed and they can lose their license if they do not adhere to these standards.  I mean this is your mother’s care after all, so this  too only… makes… sense. Right?

WRONG!  Unfortunately, Arizona lacks oversight for the non-medical home care industry.  There is no licensure.  You cannot just Google home care and guarantee that you’ll find a professional agency that will provide the standards of care that you know mom deserves.  To open a home care agency in Arizona, you need to have a business license…that’s all!  You don’t need any experience in the field.  Your caregivers are not required to have any training or proper oversight.  You don’t even need to provide a caregiver who is an employee of your company, meaning your mother may be responsible for the caregivers own healthcare, taxes, and in extreme cases housing!  So how do we, as consumers, protect ourselves from ending up in a situation that is even more dangerous to mom’s wellbeing than just leaving her alone in her aging state? 

Arizona has been a booming mecca for our retirement community for decades, and with an aging population comes industries and services that cater to our aging needs.  Most of these services are governed to make sure you can shop for services and products in a fair market that mitigates consumer abuse.  Unfortunately, in Arizona, non-medical home care has never been one of those industries.  In 2007, a handful of professional home care agencies got together and formed the Arizona In-Home Care Association (AZNHA) with the goal of bringing this issue to our state government. Twelve years later, and the state still has no interest in protecting our home care community.

Although Arizona’s leaders have not found a way for the state to legislatively protect  our aging populations non-medical in home care needs, AZNHA has championed on, providing an ever growing sphere of influence and beacon of light for consumer advocacy and best practices for home care.  From a handful of agencies in 2007, AZNHA now boasts a membership of over 100 agencies, statewide, that believe in providing professional, qualified home care. Healthcare professionals are slowly beginning to understand the need for some type of oversight. This is a good thing for you and for mom, as you now know there is an association that provides a set of standards to help elevate the care being provided to her. 

You can be assured when your healthcare professional refers you to an in-home care agency, they will be referring a legitimate AZNHA agency, right?

WRONG!  Unfortunately, even with 12 years of experience and education, too many healthcare professionals still don’t understand the importance of AZNHA.  Some healthcare professionals still don’t understand or even believe that the state has no oversight for home care, even after they’ve been informed!  So how do you know if the company you’ve been referred to is adhering to best practices?  There are a couple of simple steps you can follow:

It is important to always do your own due diligence for any service you may choose.  Even with no state protections, an Arizona consumer can protect themselves by working with AZNHA member agencies.  From all of us at AZNHA, we look forward to providing your mother with the home care you want for her and the home care she deserves.

Fortunately, AZNHA has a wealth of history, knowledge and experience in helping people find resources for appropriate care.
  1. Check AZNHA.org. AZNHA’s website offers a current list of participating home care providers and associate members.  If you do not find your agency of choice on this list, I would strongly encourage you to question why they would not advocate for best home care practices. AZNHA membership is not cost prohibitive, and our standards are common sense and can be viewed on the AZNHA website.
  2. Check your agency’s brochure, materials and website for the AZNHA logo. An agency must be a current member in good standing to use our logo, but it is always a good idea to verify a company’s membership through the AZNHA website.
  3. Shop around. This is your mother’s care, in your mother’s home. You do not want to rush the decision on whom to entrust your mother’s care. It would be in your best interest to shop AZNHA agencies as they follow some basic standards, but no two agencies are exactly the same.  It is important that you are working with someone who understands you and with whom you feel comfortable.
  4. Price. Home care services are mostly an out-of-pocket expense, and can be quite costly.  Unfortunately, healthcare professionals and consumers can make very poor choices by referring to, or contracting with, a risky company because of price. When shopping AZNHA companies, you will find most are within $1 or $2 an hour of each other. Go to AZNHA.org to get a pulse on the true market value for home care.
        If you call a couple of different agencies, and one of those agencies is significantly less expensive than the others, it is important to make sure this company has your best interest in mind.  Most likely the significantly cheaper company is not sending “employees” to your home, but rather independent contractors.  This leaves mom susceptible to a plethora of possible liabilities and unnecessary risks.
It is important to always do your own due diligence for any service you may choose.  Even with no state protections, an Arizona consumer can protect themselves by working with AZNHA member agencies.  From all of us at AZNHA, we look forward to providing your mother with the home care you want for her and the home care she deserves.

Fortunately, AZNHA has a wealth of history, knowledge and experience in helping people find resources for appropriate care.


A few of AZNHA Membership requirements:
  • Show proof of current liability and workers compensation insurance.
  • Maintain a written care plan for each client
  • Give each client a disclosure document that discloses cost of care, cancellation policy, and more
  • Provide training to their caregivers
AZNHA Members’ Caregivers Must:
  • Pass background checks
  • Be certified in CPR and First Aid
  • Must be W-2 employees of the Agency
  • Show proof of negative TB test
For the complete list of requirements visit AZNHA.org


For more information about AZNHA, Arizona’s leading association in best practices and consumer advocacy for home care, visit AZNHA.org or email information@aznha.org. Back to Top

September 07, 2019
Categories:  Feature

 

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