According to Laurie Edwards-Tate, President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare: “It is with esteem and gratitude I wish to thank the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce for taking a firm stand against two State of California bills which will hurt home care and ultimately small businesses in our own community, placing seniors and disabled at risk. You represent the business community well with dedication and commitment.”
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Edwards-Tate presided as an expert in one of several Birds-of-a-Feather Roundtable discussions on the topic “Ethics and the New Age of Private Duty Home Care.”
According to Edwards-Tate: “It was heartening that so many private duty home care companies from around the country believed that a roundtable regarding ethics was compelling to attend. We accomplished a great deal at each of our two roundtables, and all of us felt enriched from this experience. Many of us agreed that we must continue this discussion at the 2013 Conference.”
FACT was acknowledged for its One Click/One Call transportation information program called STRIDE. STRIDE is accessible via the web at www.stridesd.org and contains a list of approximately 148 public, private and social services transportation programs. Riders can use the search engine, STRIDE, to easily seek out the best transportation options that fits rider’s specific, individual needs. This service is also available through a toll free number, (888) 924-3228, where the callers receive personal assistance from FACT’s Mobility Coordinator. The website and phone referrals serve as a one call-one click program.
“Congratulations to FACT, the CTSA for the County of San Diego, for its recent WTS Award due to its outstanding contributions in the transportation field! It is a great honor to serve on behalf of this wonderful organization as a second-term member of the Board of Directors.” -Laurie Edwards-Tate
Full Access & Coordinated Transportation, Inc. is a non-profit and Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA) that provides free transportation information and referrals to residents in San Diego County. Their mission is to “Assist seniors, persons with disabilities, and social service recipients in San Diego County to meet their transportation needs.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau projections, the number of Americans turning 65 is expected to exceed 70 million in the next two decades. In addition to the elderly, many people are injured, ill, or disabled at some point and may require help with day-to-day activities. The Private Duty Homecare Association (PDHCA), an affiliate of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), is a trade association of in-home care providers dedicated to helping the elderly, ill or disabled remain in their own homes. Today, the organization announced the re-appointment of San Diego’s own Laurie Edwards-Tate, president and founder of At Your Home Familycare, to the PDHCA advisory board, and introduced six additional new members. Edwards-Tate has been selected to help lead the association and provide experienced insight to address the increasing need for short or long-term in-home care.
“There are many pressing issues within the in-home care industry with active legislation on the table which will greatly affect its future.” said Merrily Orsini, MSSW, chief strategic officer for PDHCA. “With Edwards-Tate’s proven leadership, and her reputation as an independent thinker in the industry and vast knowledge of the business of in-home care, the PDHCA is well represented to continue advocating on behalf of those who wish to remain at home while they age or recuperate.”
A seasoned in-home care executive, Edwards-Tate is dedicated to tackling the standards and quality issues within the long-term in-home care industry, and to position in-home care as an easy to access and easy to understand service nationwide.
New PDHCA board members include: Stanley A. Rynkiewicz III, RN, MSN, WCC and administrator of Dear Meadows Home Health & Support Services, LLC; Brittnei Salerno, president and CEO of La Jolla Nurses Homecare; Lauren Simpson, RN, BSN and CEO of Potomac Home Health/ Support; Sherl Brand, president and CEO of the Home Care Association of New Jersey; Umi K. Chahal, CEO of Choice Home Health & Hospice; and Elaine D. Stephens, executive vice president of home care and hospice for Masonic Health Systems/ Overlook VNA.
In addition to the newly appointed, Shelle Womble, senior director of sales and service for ResCare HomeCare returns as the elected chair, and other re-appointed members of PDHCA’s advisory board are Bob Roth, managing partner of Cypress HomeCare Solutions; Lucy Andrews, CEO of At Your Service Home Care; and Cathy Sparling, executive vice president of Arcadia Health Care. Re-appointed as ex-officio are returning advisory board members Patricia Drea, vice president of operations for Visiting Angels; Karen Thomas, president of Oxford Healthcare Home Health Agency; and Georjean Sweis, national director of private duty for Addus HealthCare, Inc.
The Private Duty Homecare Association (PDHCA) was established by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). It is a trade association of home care providers dedicated to helping the ill and disabled remain in their own homes. PDHCA services focus on providing valuable information to its members, including help in understanding federal guidelines, financial management assistance, networking, business strategy meetings, certification and accreditation, and new product offerings. PDHCA is designed to answer all the questions that private duty home care providers may have regarding their businesses and practices. Please visit PDHCA on the web at www.pdhca.org.
Investigators contacted individuals who posted ads on Craigslist for in-home care providers. According to the report, five individuals offering services had extensive criminal records including convictions for drug trafficking, major theft, burglary and prostitution.
The report also found that 27 percent of caregivers in 64 recent criminal cases involving seniors had previous convictions on their criminal record.
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, has provided non-medical private duty home care for for 27 years. She says it is vital to engage caregivers from a certified or accredited, bonded company that has successfully met state and national standards, with a substantial history and specific guidelines.
“This is one of the most critically important decisions you may ever make,” said Edwards-Tate. “Caregivers should be background checked, well supervised and well trained. When you hire a caregiver, you should be asking a lot of questions. An ethical, reputable private duty home care agency will gladly answer them all to your satisfaction.
While a 2008 state law (Senate Bill 692) allows seniors and their families to conduct criminal screening through the Department of Justice, the report found there is confusion about how to do so and the service is not user friendly.
“It’s impractical to ask a family to conduct their own criminal background checks,” said Edwards-Tate. “Even so, an individual is not under independent supervision and may not be properly trained. You also become liable for any issues that arise such as on the job, injuries, abuses or conflicts,” advised Edwards-Tate.
“With the aging of the Baby Boomer population hitting us as 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States, this issue is rapidly becoming more acute,” said Edwards-Tate. “Seniors and their families may not be aware that with minimal assistance from a professional caregiver provided through a reputable organization, they can stay safely in their homes and maintain their autonomy, dignity, and independence.”
The shocking arrest of the caregiver to a Pearl Harbor veteran in San Diego County on felony charges of elder abuse brings to light the critical importance of carefully choosing a caregiver.
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, has provided non-medical private duty home care for older and disabled adults for 27 years. She says it is vitally important to engage caregivers from an accredited, bonded company that has successfully met state and national standards, with a substantial business history and specific guidelines.
“This is one of the most critically important decisions you may ever make,” said Edwards-Tate. “Caregivers should be background checked, well supervised and well trained. When you hire a caregiver, you should be asking a lot of questions and all of them should be answered to your complete satisfaction. An ethical, reputable private duty home care agency will gladly answer them all to your satisfaction.
“It might be tempting to hire someone privately such as a neighbor or friend. But no matter how well-intentioned, an individual is not under independent supervision and may not be properly trained. You also become liable for any issues that arise such as on the job, injuries, abuses or conflicts,” advised Edwards-Tate.
Edwards-Tate recommends following this Home Care Agency Checklist when engaging a caregiver for an older or disabled adult:
“With the aging of the Baby Boomer population hitting us as 20,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States, this issue is rapidly becoming more acute,” said Edwards-Tate. “Seniors and their loved ones may not be aware of a gradual decline and may be reluctant to accept reality, or unable to plan for needed care,” said Edwards-Tate. “They may not be aware that with minimal assistance from a professional caregiver provided through a reputable organization, they can stay safely in their homes and maintain their autonomy, dignity, and independence.”
Edwards-Tate said, “Our annual conference is a wonderful, informative, and fun event. Members of the home care community come from across the U.S. to advance their professional knowledge, share and interact with colleagues. As an Advisory Board member of the Private Duty Home Care Association, I am especially proud to be a participant at this conference, and proud to contribute to the growth and development of this fast-growing industry which serves those who are most vulnerable.”
“Our industry is in a period of rapid growth and change, which will only accelerate as the Baby Boomer generation ages. It’s vital that we share best practices and learn how best to serve this community, keeping them independent and in their own homes as long as possible.”
Engineering, journalism and public relations, religious organizations and many other professions have professional ethics. The home care industry is among them. The NAHC Code of Ethics was adopted by the Board of Directors in 1982. Quoting from the Code’s Preamble, “It serves as a statement to the general public that the Association and its individual members stand for integrity and the highest ethical standards. This Code of Ethics serves to inform members and the general public as to what are acceptable guidelines for ethical conduct for home care agencies and their employees.”
Why have a Code of Ethics?
These are not just desirable behaviors, they make good business sense. Whether or not people should practice high standards and conduct regular self-evaluation as the right thing to do, businesses prosper when these behaviors are practiced on a routine basis.
The NAHC Code of Ethics includes sections governing the following areas: Patient Rights and Responsibilities, Relationships to Other Provider Agencies, Responsibility to NAHC, Fiscal Responsibilities, Marketing and Public Relations, Personnel, Legislative, and the Hearing Process. It has served as a model for many other similar state organizations.
Ethical codes or rules must never go against laws, but rather coordinate with them, as in the case of medical record confidentiality under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.
Business or professional ethics are mutually beneficial to all of us involved in a profession such as home care. People in a profession don’t want to condone bad, dishonest or irresponsible behavior if it does occur by someone in our field. We are no exception. By setting out expected behaviors in the form of professional ethics, we in NAHC work together to try to uphold a good reputation, which benefits all of us as members.
This may seem intangible, but it adds greatly to a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction, which is important for all professionals. It boost employee excellence and retention.
In general, professional ethics always include upholding honesty and respect in the profession over personal needs, conflicts or biases. Respect and honesty are the two main components of professional ethics. All employees are expected to represent a business ethically. This is crucial. No matter whose name is on the door, in large part our employees are the business.
It should be noted that people within each profession are expected to be respectful and honest in their personal dealings as well. A conflict of interest situation may occur when an individual tries to accomplish personal goals as a result of being in a certain profession. For example, a politician who uses government resources to get work done on his personal home could be seen as being involved in a conflict of interest.
The very exercise of developing a code is in itself worthwhile. It forces a group of people to examine their mission, their goals and objectives, and their important obligations both internally and externally, as a group and as individuals.
For those truly committed to professional ethics, training is critical. For example, home care aides and managers must be aware and implement many rules based on ethics regarding client confidentiality. It is both unethical and unlawful to discuss a client’s personal records with others who are not involved in the care of the individual.
Codes of ethics may seem altruistic, but they are also beneficial in a practical way. They help make our relationships mutually pleasant and productive. They help set standards that generate positive relationships through trust and respect, business growth, and long-term success. We must never forget that we can do well by doing good.