Maybe you have decided your elderly parent needs a little extra support at home or perhaps you or your relative is heading home after a hospital stay and will require some extra help around the house. Whether you have ample time to research your options or must make a quick decision, knowing what questions to ask when hiring an in-home care agency is very important.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are 10 questions you should definitely ask when you interview a potential agency:
- Is the agency licensed? Each state has its own requirements for licensure, but make sure the agency you hire meets or exceeds the standards required by the state to protect you or your loved ones.
- Does the agency require and perform criminal background checks and drug screenings on caregivers? Be sure that the agency completes full background checks (including driving record) on their caregiving staff to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one.
- Are the agency’s caregivers bonded and insured? Bonding simply means that the agency has purchased a bond that will compensate you should you be the victim of theft by a caregiver. The agency should also ensure that the caregivers have liability insurance and be covered by Worker’s Compensation in the event of injury in your home.
- Are the caregivers trained and/or licensed? In general, caregivers who help with the day-to-day tasks such as cooking, companionship, and personal care, may not need to be licensed. However, licensing and/or certification is required for home health aides (HHAs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
- Does the agency have a Registered Nurse or Pharmacist on staff to answer questions from the caregivers and/or the clients? It is important to have trained medical staff available to handle the care plan, supervise the staff, and be able to handle all medical situations and questions as they arise.
- Will we have the same caregiver each time? Continuity is very important for both the patient and the family. Make sure you understand how the agency not only chooses the caregiver but how they are scheduled.
- How many years of experience do the caregivers have and how long have they been with the agency? High staff turnover should be an immediate red flag. If the agency is supportive and well-managed and is compensating their staff well, they will usually have higher retention rates. This means you will likely have more continuity of care.
- How much does the service cost and how can we pay? The agency should be able to provide a detailed care plan with costs and fees and should help you navigate the complexities of insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or other payment options.
- What is the system for complaints or resolution of client problems? Make sure you understand the framework in place if you have a complaint and how that problem might be resolved. It’s better to know that information before there is an issue.
- Does the agency have references they can provide? Nothing is better than word of mouth when it comes to choosing a home care agency. Always ask for references and check for unsolicited reviews online to learn more about how clients view the agency.
A little legwork and research can go a long way when it comes time to choose an in-home care agency. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and interview several agencies before making your choice.
If you have questions, we have answers. Contact us today!