The Best Questions To Ask When Evaluating A Home Care Agency
Taking care of your loved ones in their senior years can get pretty challenging, especially if you don`t have certain training. A safe home care agency is the perfect solution. It allows your loved one to stay in the comfort of their home and receive all the necessary assistance from qualified caregivers, while you focus your time and energy to truly important things like bonding and creating precious memories with your beloved seniors.
We all want to provide our loved ones with the best care possible, but trusting someone new can be pretty challenging despite all the certifications and recommendations the home care agency may provide.
So, how do you know that you are choosing a home care agency with the best caregivers, one that will be safe and live up to your expectations, especially if you are addressing such services for the first time?
In this article, we provide the 10 essential questions that will help you thoroughly evaluate a home care agency and make an informed decision for your family.
#1 – How many years of experience do your caregivers have in home care?
Your loved one must receive assistance from experienced caregivers. In this case, you can be sure that the caregiver will be able to instantly recognize and respond to the needs and changes in the condition of the client.
In certain cases, you may need a caregiver with more focused training such as a Certified Dementia Specialist, Hospice and Palliative Care Specialist, etc.
#2 – What level of education and training do your caregivers have?
A home care agency with the best caregivers hires at least high-school graduates and those who have attended a college or university up to some level.
Make sure to ask whether a home care agency provides special training to new recruits and professional development courses to its personnel.
#3 – Are the caregivers in your agency insured and bonded?
2 types of essential insurance guarantee the safety of the caregivers` clients and their families:
Caregiver Bonding Insurance – this type of insurance guarantees that the caregiver who works in the house will provide their services honestly and candidly. They will not attempt to take advantage of the clients' finance or valuables within their reach;
Professional Liability Insurance – this policy is meant to minimize losses in case a certain caregiver makes a mistake or the agency itself fails to provide the necessary service. All the possible damage or legal fees will be compensated on behalf of this insurance policy.
A safe home care agency will be able to provide you with proof that their caregivers are insured and bonded.
#4 – Do you do complete background checks on your personnel?
Background checks help ensure that the caregiver is actually who they claim to be and will treat their clients with all the respect and professional skill they deserve.
A safe home care agency will always run a full criminal background check on every new employee. In addition, the background check policy may require that a caregiver has a vehicle in a serviceable condition and a valid driving license. Some home care agencies also pull regular DMV reports.
These checks are crucial not only for the agency`s reputation but for families that trust the health and well-being of their loved one in the hands of others. That is why you should make sure to ask the prospective agency about their background checks and safety policies.
#5 – Will we receive a consistent caregiver?
While the whole idea of trusting the health of your loved one to someone outside the family may be pretty challenging for some people, it is even harder to get peace of mind when the caregivers constantly are replaced and you have to get used to a new person over and over.
Not to mention the fact that this kind of stress may have a deeply negative effect on the mental and even physical condition of your loved one.
That is why it is best to make sure that your home care agency will provide you with a consistent caregiver or at least a steady team of 2-3 caregivers who will not only be familiar with their client but also know everything about their conditions, needs, and routine.
#6 – What happens if, for some reason, the caregiver you provide does not fit?
As important as they are, background checks, licensing, and qualifications are still not enough to provide your loved one with the best care they deserve. Sometimes the caregiver who arrives at your house may fail to find common ground with their client.
Understanding the importance of a perfect fit for every case, the best home care agency will instantly provide a replacement, considering your remarks, and find an alternative solution that will match the needs and expectations of the client entirely.
#7 – What happens if a caregiver does not show up for the shift or needs to leave urgently?
Make sure that the home care agency has a plan of action in case you need an urgent replacement for your caregiver. Find out all the ways to communicate with the agency in such cases, their readiness, and their ability to instantly react to such situations.
It is best if the home care agency provides you with familiar caregivers to replace the one that could not work at the moment or lets you choose between several replacement candidates.
#8 – Do I need to pay the caregiver directly or tip them?
As a rule, a home care agency should strictly forbid caregivers from handling any kind of payment including tips. This policy prevents misunderstanding as well as the risk that you or your loved one will get manipulated into some sort of a scam or “grey payments.”
Before signing the contract with your home care agency make sure to clarify all the payment methods, terms, and conditions to avoid risks and misunderstanding.
#9 – Are your caregivers available on-call 24/7?
It is always best to know that you can get in touch with the person responsible for your beloved one`s health and well-being. A professional caregiver probably keeps a logbook of their client`s daily routine and activities and may consult you about their diet, schedule, and other essential topics while they are away.
Even if you cannot contact the caregiver directly during their time off, make sure that the agency is always available and can instantly provide you with the necessary information and consultation.
#10 – Do you provide 24-hour and overnight care?
In certain cases, your loved one may require attention and assistance 24/7. In case of exacerbation of certain conditions or their developments or if you have to leave the town or cannot be next to your elder relatives for any reason, it is best to choose a home care agency that provides overnight or even 24-hour care options.
That way you can make sure that the health of your loved one is under the constant and tireless control of reliable people even when you cannot be next to them.
Are you looking for home health care services in or around Philadelphia, PA?
If you are seeking senior in-home care for you or your loved one, then Sunflower Home Health Care Services is here for you. Our highly skilled team operates across Philadelphia and all surrounding counties, we pride ourselves on offering home care with a difference.
If you are unsure about whether or not your loved one is need of Home Care, click here to learn more about the top signs that your loved one may be in need of Home Care.
Our in-depth range of services can ensure you do not need to move your loved ones to a nursing home or other assisted living facility. We have a family-first approach, which means we treat everyone we work with as if they were part of our own family, giving you complete peace of mind that you or your loved ones are in the best care possible.
Sunflower Home Health Care Services offers a wide range of services including companionship, respite care, hospice care, taking vitals, housekeeping, meal prep, and other medical needs. So if you are looking for the very best care for yourself or your loved ones, get in touch with our team today.