Questions to Ask when Hiring a Caregiver

Source: Benefits of Home Care

What to Ask a Private Caregiver or a Home Care Agency

Whether you’re planning to enlist the help of a home care services agency or hire a personal home care aide, knowing what questions to ask help you receive quality assistance.

Hiring a Home Care Agency

If you’re considering a home care services agency:

  1. Does the state authorize the company? Most states – but not all – require agencies be licensed and reviewed regularly. Reviews are available on request from your state health department.
  2. Does Medicare certify the agency to meet federal requirements for health and safety? If not, ask why.
  3. What type of employee screening do you perform? Can the agency provide references? Ask for a list of doctors, hospital discharge planners or other professionals who have experience with the company, as well as a list of former clients. Ask doctors, family and friends for agency recommendations.
  4. Is the agency accredited by a governing agency such as The Joint Commission (an independent group that evaluates and accredit health care organizations) and programs that voluntarily request a review? Then ask to see the results of the most recent survey.

Hiring a Private Caregiver

If you’re considering a private in-home care aide:

  1. What are the aide’s credentials? Make sure you’re comfortable with the aide’s training and experience.
  2. Can the aide provide references? Take time to check the aide’s references thoroughly. Ask doctors, family and friends for home health aide recommendations.
  3. Perform a background check.

Hiring a Home Care Agency

  1. How does the agency hire and train caregivers? Does the agency provide continuing education?
  2. Are the caregivers licensed and insured?
  3. How closely does the agency’s supervisor evaluate the quality of home care?
  4. Does the agency have a quality improvement program?
  5. Do the agency’s employees seem friendly and helpful? Make sure you feel comfortable with the agency’s representatives.

Hiring a Private Caregiver

  1. Does the home health aide have a positive attitude?
  2. Are you and your loved one comfortable with the home health aide?

Hiring a Home Care Agency

  1. How will the agency handle expenses and billing? Ask for literature explaining all services and fees, as well as detailed explanations of all the costs associated with home care.
  2. Will agency fees be covered by health insurance or Medicare? Find out what arrangements are in place for specific health insurance plans.
  3. What resources does the agency provide for financial assistance if needed? For instance, is a payment plan available?

Hiring a Private Caregiver

  1. How much does the aide charge for home health services? Make sure you’re comfortable with the fees and the included services.
  2. Does the aide require payment for sick days, vacation days or holidays? If so, clarify how many sick and vacation days allowed, as well as which days are holidays.
  3. Whether you’re considering a home care services agency or a home health aide, you might ask these questions about services:
  4. Will you receive a written care plan before service begins? The care plan should include details about medical equipment and specific care needs, contain input from your or your loved one’s doctor, and be updated frequently.
  5. Will you receive a list of the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved? This is sometimes known as a patient’s bill of rights.
  6. Will you or your loved one be referred to dietitians, counselors, therapists or other specialists if needed?
  7. Will the agency work directly with you or your loved one, family members and health care providers?
  8. Must you identify a primary family caregiver? If so, what’s required of that person?
  9. Are there any limits on the types of tasks performed? If so, what are the limits?
  10. When will service be provided? Is care available round-the-clock, if necessary?
  11. What procedures are in place for emergencies? Ask how the agency or home health aide will deliver services in a power failure or natural disaster.
  12. How are problems addressed and resolved? Whom can you or another family member contact with requests, questions or complaints?
  13. When can services begin?

After you’ve found a home care services provider, monitor the situation. If you’re concerned about the care or services provided, discuss it promptly with the agency or home health aide. If necessary, involve your doctor or your loved one’s doctor as well.

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