7 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Care Agency

As your dear ones grow older, they might need some help with basic tasks like surgical aftercare, meal preparation, bathing, grooming etc. It may be daunting for you pick a reliable home care provider to look after your loved one, given that there are so many agencies out there and few of them are up to the mark. Here are 7 important questions that you should ask when you choose a home-care agency.

  1. How are your applicants screened?

You can expect the applicants to come with a fingerprint card issued by the Department of Public Safety. The best agencies offer service providers who have undergo ne TB test, current CPR training, verified references and background check – which includes credit and driving histories.

  • What experience do they have?

Find out how much the caregivers experience have got? Enquire whether they have worked at private placements, home care agencies, assisted living facilities or formal nursing homes. Check whether they come with formal training. The training requirements tend to vary. Formal nursing training is not necessary in a placement that is companion-only. However, other conditions like dementia might need them to have nursing assistant or caregiver certification.

  • How do you supervise caregivers?

Check whether the home care agency offers in-home supervisory visits to ensure that caregivers follow medical protocols, there is appropriate caregiver-client relationship, the tasks agreed-on are being executed and there is 100% client satisfaction.

  • What is the insurance held by your company?

Find out whether the company has third-party theft insurance or bonding insurance, liability insurance (if you or your loved one – who is the patient – suffers an injury) and workers’ compensation (if the caregiver gets injured on the line of duty) etc.

  • What are the rates for your services?

Home care agencies generally have a standard rate for various plans. But you should ask how much the hourly rates begin at for personal care and companion care. Know whether they have varied pricing for weekends and weekdays. If the agency insists on signing a contract, do not fall for it. You need to always be capable of cancelling a service with a notice of 48 hours.

  • Do you offer the same caregiver each time?

If you do not like to have random caregivers move in and out of your building, ask the agency how it schedules caregivers. Some companies alternate between two or three caregivers. While personal care and companion care are the least that a home-care agency offers, you might like to get additional services such as cases of complex illness, like Aphasia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, Dementia, blindness or limited vision, stroke recovery etc.

  • Does your company have proper emergency processes?

Find out whether the agency offers skilled on-call home care providers 24/7, to address patients’ requirements. The home care company needs to have a staff member always on call. Know what will happen if a caregiver does not turn up for service, there is an issue during the shift or in the case the health of the client undergoes a sudden change.