Many older adults prefer to remain in the comfort and familiarity of their homes as they age and become more and more nostalgic for the past. Yet, their declining health and abilities make it increasingly difficult to maintain a safe and comfortable lifestyle on their own.
If you have an elderly loved one aging in place, you’re probably deeply concerned about their safety and well-being. You likely try to help as much as you can, but you may feel that it is not enough, that your aging family member needs more care than you alone can provide. In such a case, a home care agency is your best bet – having an experienced professional take care of your loved one will allow them to continue living safely and independently in their own home and will ensure your peace of mind.
But how can you trust a stranger to care for your aging family member? How can you let them in your relative’s home and not worry? It’s natural to be nervous – trusting an outside party with such personal matters is very difficult. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that the person you hire is a reliable and experienced professional who will show respect and compassion to your senior relative and will provide them with quality elder care and friendly companionship.
The first thing to do is to interview the potential caregivers and get as much information as possible about the elder care agency and the quality of service it provides. Knowing what questions to ask and what red flags to look for during the interviews is of paramount importance for finding the right caregiver for your senior loved one.
You can find a list of the most essential questions to ask a potential in home caregiver below:
Questions About the Home Care Agency
Your first task is to make sure you’re dealing with a licensed, insured, and qualified home care provider. Here are the most important questions to ask a caregiver agency:
- How long has the company been in business? – A long history does not necessarily mean high quality services but home care providers that have been around for many years have gained considerable experience and must have yielded satisfactory results in order to stay competitive for so long;
- Is the agency licensed by the state? – A licensed elder care agency is guaranteed to meet the standards set by the state to protect clients and their families. What’s more, most states require in-home care companies to be reviewed on a regular basis – the reports from these reviews are available upon request and can give you a lot of valuable information about the quality of service provided by the agency;
- Is the agency certified by Medicare? – Medicare certification means compliance with the federal requirements for health and safety;
- Are the agency’s caregivers bonded and insured? – A trustworthy company will have liability coverage and will provide proper insurance and worker’s compensation to its employees;
- Does the agency manage all payroll and employee related matters? – A reputable home care agency will adhere to state and federal guidelines in its employment practices (such as withholding appropriate taxes and providing benefits);
- Can the agency provide references? – Ask for recommendations and testimonials from doctors, hospital discharge planners, and former clients who have worked with the home care company;
- How does the agency protect client confidentiality?
Questions About the Agency’s Services
Your next step is to find out what types of services the agency offers:
- Are there specific services that the company specializes in? Are there specific services that it does not provide? – Some seniors need home health care or specialized dementia or Alzheimer’s care, while others only require assistance with instrumental tasks of daily living such as shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Make sure that the home care agency provides the type of services that your elderly loved one needs. If they have special care needs, be sure to find an agency that specializes in that particular type of care and has a lot of experience in the field;
- How does the agency evaluate what type of care is needed? Have they developed their own evaluation procedures? Do they consult doctors, therapists, or other specialists? Do they work directly with you and your family members?
- Does the agency create a personalized care plan for every individual client? How often is a client’s written plan of care reevaluated and updated?
- How are emergencies handled after normal business hours? Does the company have someone on call? How will they notify you if there is an urgent situation regarding your loved one?
Questions About the Cost of Home Care Services
Needless to say, you’ll need to know how much the agency charges for its services before making your choice of a home care provider:
- What are the agency’s rates and tariffs? Does the company provide detailed explanations of all the fees and charges associated with home care? Does the company charge different rates for nights, weekends, and holidays?
- Is the agency approved or accepted by your health maintenance organization (HMO) or supplemental insurance? Do they accept long-term care insurance? How does the coverage interact with Medicare hospice benefits?
- Does the agency bill the insurance company directly or do clients pay the costs and get reimbursed later? How often do they bill and what forms of payment do they accept?
Questions About Caregiver Selection and Training
Once you have a basic understanding of the company’s policies and services, it’s time to gather some information about the caregivers:
- How does the agency hire staff? What factors do they look into to make sure a person is suited to the sensitive job of a caregiver? Do they require the person to have CPR or first-aid training?
- What type of employee screening is done? Does the agency conduct extensive background checks – drug tests, use of reference checks, driving records and criminal background investigations, etc.?
- Does the agency provide continuing education to its employees? – Ongoing training and education allows caregivers to improve their skills and support the best lifestyle for a senior’s health and well-being;
- Does the agency closely monitor the quality of care? Do they provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis?
- How does the agency address and resolve problems? Who can you contact with requests, questions, and/or complaints?
- How does the agency handle disputes that may arise between the senior (or their family) and the caregiver? How do they handle requests for a new caregiver?
- Will the agency send the same caregiver to a client’s home every time? What happens if that person is sick or has time off?
- Can clients interview potential candidates and make their own choice?
Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Caregiver
Last but not least, you need to know what questions to ask when hiring a caregiver to ensure that you’ll make the right choice for your senior loved one:
- Name, address, phone number, email address, and other contact information;
- What kind of caregiving training do you have?
- What kind of assistance have you provided to seniors? What type of diagnoses have you cared for? Do you have any experience providing the type of care needed in this case?
- What was your last job? How long were you there? Why did you leave? May we contact the last client you cared for (or their family)? Can you provide their name, phone number, and email address?
- Can you provide references?
- Can you perform all the duties required for this position?
- Is there anything in the job description that you are uncomfortable doing?
- Are you able to work the hours needed? When are you available to start working?
- If the senior’s family is delayed, goes out of town, or goes on vacation would you be able and willing to adjust your schedule?
- What are your responsibilities outside of work? Do you have to account for the schedules or needs of others or are you flexible?
- What will you do in a case of emergency?
- How will you keep the family informed?
- Do you have a driver’s license? If yes, do you have reliable transportation and insurance? Will you be using your own car to run errands or would you rather use the senior’s vehicle?
- What kind of food do you cook? Do you have experience cooking for other people?
- Do you smoke?
- Are you comfortable with pets? (if relevant)
- How do you handle people who are angry, stubborn, or fearful? How do you resolve a difficult situation?
These caregiver interview questions will help you find out what caregiving training and skills the candidate has, how experienced and trustworthy they are, and what their attitude towards seniors is. Then, you’ll be able to determine if the caregiver is right for the job and whether your senior loved one is likely to get along with them.
When you make your choice, don’t wait too long to make the offer, as good applicants may find another job. If the offer is accepted, set a date to begin work and sign a contract with the caregiver. Make sure all your requirements and everything you have agreed upon with the caregiver and the home care agency is clearly stated in the contract and keep a copy.
Elder Care Services by Assisting Hands Home Care
If you have a senior loved one in need of assistance in Hinsdale, LaGrange, Downers Grove and surrounding areas, Assisting Hands Serving Hinsdale, IL is there for you. Whether your elderly relative requires round the clock supervision or only limited assistance with daily living, our team will provide the best possible elder care and treatment. We create customized care plans to meet the particular needs and requirements of every individual client and strive to maximize the well-being and quality of life of our patients. Our excellent elder care services include not only assistance with daily activities, such as shopping, cooking, bathing, restroom use and dressing, but also a variety of additional services to allow seniors to experience dignity, independence, and joy during the later stages of their lives.
Assisting Hands Serving Hinsdale, LaGrange, Downers Grove and the surrounding areas is a licensed and insured company that provides non-medical elder care services. All our caregivers have CPR and first aid training and undergo an extensive background check. Each of them is insured and bonded so that our clients can feel secure and comfortable with their caregivers. Our well-recognized company offers high quality, reliable service and has established a solid reputation for compassionate elder care.
Call us at (630) 413-9899 to get more information about our in-home care services or schedule an appointment with an elder care expert.