Chances are, you’ve never hired a home care agency before, so you might not know what to ask. Being able to properly vet a home care agency is important in order to ensure a good match with the needs of your loved one. Here are the 20 questions you need to ask of a home care agency.
1) How long has your agency been in business?
The age of the agency is telling because it indicates their financial stability and overall success.
2) Is the agency Medicare-certified?
If it is, Medicare may help supplement the cost of the services, which can alleviate some of the financial burden.
3) What insurance plans do you accept?
Knowing ahead of time if you can expect help from your loved one’s insurance plan will help you plan financially.
4) How are billings handled?
Will you, as the caregiver, be able to manage your loved one’s bills? Or will your loved one be burdened with potentially confusing paperwork?
5) Will I get a copy of the agency’s policies regarding patients and caregivers?
You should be able to see exactly what is expected and provided by the agency.
6) Can I see the results of recent customer satisfaction surveys?
These results will give you an indication of how well the agency follows through on their service promises.
7) Where do the agency’s caregivers come from?
How is the agency recruiting their providers? Do they advertise online? At local hospitals and clinics? The agency should be able to provide information on where their caregivers come from and what sort of certification and training they require.
8) What does the agency look for in a caregiver?
In the agency’s opinion, what qualities make an appropriate caregiver? This will give you an idea of the level of quality of care you can expect from your loved one’s caregiver.
9) Are job candidates screened? How so?
You should expect that, at minimum, the agency does a background check and drug testing.
10) Are your caregivers insured and bonded?
This helps minimize your family’s loss should the caregiver cause damage while providing care.
11) How do you determine what a caregiver is capable of doing?
What is the vetting process for caregivers? What kind of skills does the agency look for in a caregiver?
12) What training do you give your caregivers?
Are caregivers trained before being sent on a job? What does the training entail?
13) Will there be a care plan? Is the agency willing to consult with my loved one’s doctor?
A care plan helps ensure that the care coincides with your doctor’s recommendations. This plan should be a collaborative effort between the doctor, patient, family member, and agency.
14) Will my loved one always have the same caregiver?
The best scenario is when the patient can choose among caregivers until a connection is made, then have that same caregiver all the time.
15) What happens if my loved one’s regular scheduled caregiver gets sick or can’t come to the home?
What are the plans for a temporary caregiver? Will you have a say in who they send?
16) If my loved one isn’t satisfied with a particular caregiver, will you provide a different one?
Your loved one should be able to have a caregiver whom they trust and connect with.
17) How are complaints handled?
If something goes amiss in the caregiver/patient relationship, you need to know you can report it, and also know what steps the agency will take to ensure it doesn’t recur.
18) How are caregivers monitored and evaluated?
Some agencies will make follow up phone calls or home visits to ensure patient and family satisfaction with caregiver service.
19) How are emergencies handled?
If your loved one experiences an emergency in the company of a caregiver, it’s essential that the caregiver knows how to handle it according to your wishes and the needs of the situation.
20) Does the agency assist with supplemental services?
Some agencies maintain area resource lists, so that patients and their family can get extra help from supplemental services such as Meals on Wheels or group transportation to shopping areas.
When interviewing a home care agency, print out this list of questions and bring along someone to help record the answers. This will help you to compare and contrast different agencies until you find the right one for you and your loved one.
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Take a look at our process and see how we were introduced to our unique perspective on home health care.