How to Interview a Home Care Agency on a Senior's Behalf

How to Interview a Home Care Agency on a Senior's Behalf

Sep 07 2019

When aging parents begin to require extra help to stay independent at home, their adult children may struggle to take on those duties. Demanding careers, raising children, and the distance that often separates families are three common reasons adult children seek assistance. In-home care can be a solution.

Home care agencies screen, train, and supervise caregivers on a senior’s behalf. They help assure that duties ranging from assisting with bathing and grooming to preparing meals and performing light housekeeping chores are completed. A senior might use home care services a few hours a day or week or even around the clock.

The key is to find a home care agency and home care aides the senior feels confident in and comfortable with. That starts with interviewing them and asking the right questions.

Elderly Home Care: What to Ask Potential In-Home Caregivers

Here are a few important questions to ask when you are interviewing agencies for elderly home care support:

1.  Does the agency employ permanent or contingent workers to provide care?

The answer to this one is important. Permanent employees tend to work for one employer. They might cost the client a little more, but your family member is more likely to have a consistent caregiver in their home. Contingent workers are temporary employees who often work for several different agencies so they may not be available on a regular basis.

2.  How are caregivers screened and trained?

It’s crucial to know how employees are screened, if background checks are done, and what kind of training takes place. In-home caregivers have access to a senior’s prescription medications, valuables in the home, and sometimes even personal information. Knowing the people an agency employs are trustworthy is important.

3.  Are employees bonded?

Ask the agency if employees are bonded, and what happens if money or valuables go missing from a senior’s home. No one wants to think the worst will happen, but it’s important to ask just in case.

4.  Can you meet the caregiver(s) ahead of time?

Finding an in-home caregiver your senior loved one feels comfortable with is another must. Ask the agency if you and your senior loved one can meet the caregivers who will be visiting their home. Some agencies offer this option as a courtesy to families.

5.  How does the agency provide substitute care when a caregiver is ill?

Caregivers get sick, too. One benefit of working with a home care agency in lieu of employing a caregiver directly is that the agency usually has a backup plan. Ask how they handle and notify you of last-minute emergencies and changes in scheduling.

6.  What is the agency’s turnover rate?

Caregiving can be emotionally and physically taxing. Even the best of caregivers can experience burnout. That makes it easier to understand why the home care industry has a higher turnover rate than other types of employment. But a turnover rate higher than 50%, can be a sign the agency has some challenges.

7.  Is there a minimum hour requirement?

Some home care agencies require a minimum number of hours per visit or monthly minimum hours. Be sure you ask and understand what the agency’s minimum requirements are.

8.  What are the contract terms?

Most agencies require a contract before services can begin. Ask for a copy of this contract so you have time to review it before you make a commitment.

Our last tip is to ask for references for the home care agencies you are considering, and read any online reviews you can find. While these shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, they offer good insight about the agency’s reputation for care and customer service.

Let Us Help

If the thought of selecting an agency to provide elderly home care for your loved one is overwhelming, one of our senior care advisors can help. Call us today at 888-514-6461 to talk with a care advisor for free!

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

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