Questions to ask when hiring an in home caregiver

Non-Medical Home Care – Asking the Important Questions to Ensure Outstanding Care

The average age of Americans continues to grow. More and more baby boomers are over the age of 65. As those individuals age, they are faced with decisions that they thought would never need to be made. Seniors and their loved ones contemplate whether they can remain at home safe or if they need to move to a nursing home or assisted living facility. When asked where the senior would prefer to live, most individuals would choose to remain at home if they are able. Hospitals or nursing homes are not the only choices for individuals as they age. Many people can now get assistance with activities of daily living (bathing, toileting, dressing, walking, housekeeping, transportation, medications, meals, companionship and safety) right in the comfort of their own home. This type of home care care is called non-medical or personal care services. There are many agencies that provide this type of care, but how do you choose and where do you find these companies? The most common question asked when people call looking for help is “How much does it cost?”. There is much more to learn than just the cost. Below are some important questions to ask a company or individual providing non-medical home care to ensure you are partnering with an ethical and established company that will provide outstanding care for you or your loved one.

Non-medical and Personal Services Agency Questions

General Questions

1. How long has your company been helping families in the Louisville Area?
Years in business and years of experience are key indicators that the agency understands what is needed to care for your loved ones. It also indicates that they care about working with families in this area and plan on continuing to do so for many years to come.

2. Does your company personally interview the caregivers?
A strong hiring process, completed in-house, can show that the company places importance on personally meeting their perspective employees.

3. How extensive are your criminal and background checks.
You will want to be sure that criminal checks are being processed statewide in Kentucky as well as in other states in which the employee has resided.

4. Do you hire employees with felonies and/or misdemeanors? If so, what type of convictions are allowed?
You want to be sure the agency has strict, safe hiring practices.

5. How often do you conduct background checks after the caregiver is hired?
Regular background checks ensure that employees are being overseen properly.

6. Do you drug screen and when?
Knowing that the agency requires drug screening of perspective employees and random drug screening thereafter is vital to your peace of mind.

7. Do you check the sex abuse and nurse abuse registries?
Law enforcement personnel will confirm that this is a vital function prior to hiring caregivers.

Legal Questions

8. Does your company pay taxes and are caregivers classified as employees or are they independent contractors?
Independent contractors require that you pay the matching taxes due to the government.

9. Do you manage all employee related issues?
You will be best served by an agency that will take care of all employee related issues (taxes, bonding, background checks, drug screening, supervision) for you.

10. Which of the following insurance coverages does your company have: a) Workers' Compensation b) Unemployment c)General & Professional Liability d) Bonding e)Non-owned Auto Insurance f) Unemployment
An agency should fully insure their caregivers and themselves so you are protected.

11. Will you provide copies of this coverage?
It is a good business practice to provide proof of all coverage to those choosing to use your business.

Supervision

12.. How do you train your caregivers?
It is very important that caregivers receive on-going training and updates to their skill set through their agency.

13. Do you have a professional that monitors the caregivers in the field? How is this done and how often? Care Coordinators, professionals who make on-site visits to monitor caregivers, are the best way to be sure clients receive great on-going care!

Emergencies

14. How would you know if my caregiver is on time or does not show up?
A clock in and out system is the best way for an agency to know that caregivers are where they should be and on time! It also ensures you are getting the care for which you are paying.

15. How are after hours calls handled?
Answering services can be very useful. However, when caring for loved ones it is best to have professional agency staff answering the phone 24/7!

16. What happens if my caregiver is sick, on vacation or I do not like them?
You will need to feel secure that your agency will send skilled replacements as needed and upon your request.

Financial

17. What are your rates? Do I pay extra for weekends, for holidays, or for a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A rate sheet should be provided to you and it should clearly outline upcharges and rate differentials, if any.

16. Do you work with any other programs such as Long Term Care Insurance, Veterans Programs, etc...?
Your agency should be happy to work with you and with the programs your family utilizes and to assist you with the paperwork required.

Getting Started

18. How would I get started with your agency?
In order to best serve the clients' needs, a free in home assessment should be offered. This meeting takes place where the care will be given and with the perspective client and at least one family member.

19. How do you match a caregiver to my needs?
This process should include gathering as much information as possible on your needs and wants. The agency should match caregiver to client on both skill set and personality. This match should also include finding caregivers who will be on time, professional and dependable!

20. How much advance notice would you need to get started?
The agency should be able to work with you and your family on setting up care as soon as possible. However, you will want them to take the necessary time to make a good match for your loved one!

21. Can you provide me with information in writing regarding your agency and your fees?
Copies of all documents, including agency policies, should be available to the client and the family.

22. Would you mind providing me with customer and/or business references?
Copies of both of these types of references should be made available to the client and their family upon request.
If you have any questions or need a referral for aging in place, please call ElderCare 4 Families, providing extraordinary in-home solutions for over 29 years in the Louisville area (502-244-8446 or www.eldercare4families.com)