Home care appeals to individuals and their family members because clients are able to remain in familiar, meaningful surroundings instead of relocating to assisted living or hospice centers. Many companies offer home care service, and choosing one to entrust with your loved one’s care and personal property is understandably daunting. It’s important to ask the right questions before hiring an agency. Use our list to guide your decision:
How long have you been in business?
Companies that have been in business a long time have a built a reputation. You should be able to find out whether they’ve established a stable staff with a low turnover rate, maintained records of caregivers’ past performances and acquired testimonials. Proven companies attract seasoned, well-qualified professionals by offering a competitive workplace.
Are your workers bonded and insured?
We take the utmost care to prevent falls and other accidents, but incidents may still occur. Agencies should insure their workers to cover the potential cost of damaged, lost or stolen goods.
How extensive are your criminal and background checks?
Speaking of stolen goods, nobody wants to invite a criminal to their home, and a good agency will do everything they can to avoid sending one. Agencies should perform background checks that include criminal records, past arrests or misdemeanor charges, traffic violations, employer references and landlord references.
Does your company have a Care Coordinator assessing cases and doing supervisory visits?
Having a supervisory coordinator holds caregivers accountable to the established care plan, clarifies expectations, provides training and guidance, and, if necessary, enforces agency rules. Agencies you hire should have some form of active oversight.
How do you select your employees?
In the home care industry, agencies employ caretakers whose backgrounds range from homemaker to licensed practitioner. Given the range of services provided and the importance of affordable care, you may not need to hire a licensed RN. However, employers should always require some years of experience in the field and either some level of certification or an in-house opportunity to advance.
Can you send me information describing your services and fees?
Before you are presented with a contract, you should be able to view some literature that clearly outlines services and fees. This builds trust and allows you to compare with other agencies.
What is your company’s replacement policy or guarantee for when my regular caregiver is not available?
You should not experience a lapse in service, nor should you be responsible for hiring a replacement if your regular caregiver is unavailable for any reason. Companies should provide replacements at no extra cost, without limitations.
What are your financial procedures? Are your rates negotiable?
Generally, fixed costs are incorporated into quotes that are based on the number of hours the caregiver is needed and the type of care required.
Would you mind providing me with references?
Testimonials from recent and old jobs should be made available for your review. Online reviews should be positive overall; if negative reviews are present, the company should respond professionally in a way that solves the reviewer’s problem.
Can we set up a time to meet and discuss my needs in detail?
Successful agencies value relationship-building. Every client and family caretaker has different needs, and the company should consult with you to design a care plan. Follow-up consultations should be offered as well.