Questions to ask to find the best home care agency. You cannot take for granted that all home care agencies operate the same. Meaning that they are fully screening the caregivers that they send into your loved one’s home. Also, that they are providing quality care to your loved one.
Questions You Should Ask to Screen Home Care Agencies
Does the agency carry insurance?
Only use a home care agency that is insured and their caregivers are bonded. Plus ensure that they have a workman’s compensation policy. If you are using their transportation services, you will want to ask about their hired non owned auto insurance. If an agency does not have insurance and bond their caregivers, this should be a red flag.
How will the agency assess the care that is needed?
A reputable home care agency will conduct a free care consultation to determine the care that is needed. Afterwards a detailed, personalized care plan should be created to ensure that your loved one is receiving the level of care that is needed each time the caregiver is there.
What services do they provide?
It is important to discuss the exact type of services that will be provided. As an example if overnight hours are needed, do they require the caregiver to provide awake overnight care. Never assume because you are paying for a service that the company will provide the same service that is aligned with your expectations. You must ask specific questions.
What is the agency’s hiring practices?
Are they hiring employees or independent contractors? Thoroughly vetting a potential employee involves a process that includes: interviewing, skills assessments, speaking with their previous employer and other references, criminal background checks, motor vehicle reports, and drug testing. You want to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one, who is coming to care for them – matters!
What is the training and experience of the caregivers?
Is the agency hiring anyone just to have a warm body to fill a shift or are they taking the time to hire experienced caregivers and provide training? Are the caregivers CPR/First Aid certified? Does the agency require their caregivers to participate in continuing education? Ask if the caregivers are trained to identify and report changes in service needs and health conditions. Be sure to ask if emergency training is included in employee orientation. Do they know the Heimlich maneuver and CPR?
Does the home care agency provide specialized training?
Do the caregivers receive special training in the type of care that is needed, such as Alzheimer’s care? Do they have training with special diet needs? Are they trained in COPD? Are they trained for the condition that your love one is dealing with? It is important to ask these questions if your loved one has special needs. Homecare should never be a one size fits all approach.
How do you ensure a good fit between client and caregiver and that there is consistency?
Ask them to explain their procedure for matching caregivers to clients. Can the agency ensure that the same caregiver(s) will provide the home care services each week? What is the procedure if a substitute caregiver needs to be sent to the home? This is important, you do not want a revolving door. Your loved one deserves consistent care from a loving caregiver that knows them and their needs.
Is someone on-call after hours?
It is important that you can reach someone from the office when you need them, even if it is after normal business hours.
When choosing a home care agency, make sure that you take the time to interview them and ask the questions above. Also, do a Google search and read reviews to really get to know the agency.
Download our Home Care Questionnaire to use as your guideline.
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