Questions to Ask a Home Care Provider

Home Care ProviderWhether it is for an elderly person whose physical capabilities have diminished or a new born baby requiring medical assistance,  Home care services are considered to be key in maintaining dignity and independence while receiving care in their place they feel most comfortable – their home.

Determining the level of care that is required for your loved one is the first step in your search for the right home care Company/Agency.  Signs of a person needing home care assistance can be if there has been a recent medical or emotional crisis, less bathing, irregular change of clothing, left out medications, frequent forgetfulness, a recent fall, hearing or vision loss, less social activities due to a disability or even burnt pans and an unclean home.

The list of questions below will help you gather basic information about a Home Care company’s services and gain a deeper understanding of its dedication to quality care and customer service. You will want a caregiver that is transparent, educated, skilled and caring.

Company Policies & Services

  1. What kind of background does the company have? How long has the company been in business? Is your home care company accredited by a governing agency?
  2. Does the company offer any specialized programs to cater to the needs such as skilled nursing, home health aide, physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy?
  3. Can you provide me with references to cases similar to my loved ones?
  4. Does your company have policies and procedures to guarantee our personal health information is protected and private? How will you ensure that information relating to the security of the home is safe?
  5. What is your cancellation policy? Is it possible to try you for a short trial period initially, to see how it works out?  What happens if a care worker and the person in care are incompatible?
  6. Do you provide a free assessment at home prior to starting the service?
  7. Who handles the transportation of the caregiver?

Caregiver Selection

  1. Will the company allow to interview multiple caregivers?
  2. Does your agency perform criminal background checks on the caregiver? What are the medical screenings and tests done on the caregiver? Does the caregiver have the necessary licenses by a governing agency?
  3. What qualifications and experience does the caregiver have?  Can I get a caregiver with experience in the applicable Chronic Diseases?  How will you match the most suitable care workers to the needs?
  4. Does the caregiver know how to cook according to special health requirements? Is the caregiver comfortable performing hygiene tasks for an elderly client such as incontinence care and bathing?  Are your caregivers non-smokers? Does the caregiver have a driver’s license?

Caregiver Education

  1. What special training does the caregiver currently have? Does your company provide training or continuing education?
  2. Are they knowledgeable about elderly health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and certified in CPR and First Aid?
  3. If equipment such as a respirator, oxygen machine, or dialysis machine is used, does the agency teach the caregiver or a responsible family member how to use and care for it?

Care Plan Management

  1. Will you develop a plan of care for my loved one according to their needs? How often do you evaluate and update a client’s written plan of care?  Does the plan detail specific tasks the caregiver must carry out, such as specific care needs, responsibilities of the aide and details about medical equipment?
  2. Do you work with my doctor in developing a plan of care?
  3. Will the patient and the patient’s family be involved in planning the home care services?
  4. Does the agency provide a way for families to keep track of the care schedule? Will you communicate notes from daily visits?
  5. How many different care workers are likely to visit in a month?
  6. How would you deal with someone who may resist your care?

Quality of care

  1. How do you supervise your workers to make sure the proper care is given and quality of care is maintained? Who supervises the home health care plan?
  2. What are your quality assurance policies and procedures?
  3. Do the caregivers maintain a log of their activities while providing care? Will care workers keep written records of the care that has been given, and accurate timesheets for my relative to sign?
  4. How will you make sure your staff respect my relative’s privacy and dignity?

Customer Service

  1. Do you have a client problem resolution or complaint process that promptly addresses and resolves problems, issues or conflicts in a timely manner and in a professional manner?
  2. Do you have a 24/7 phone contact number, and am I able to reach staff at any time?

Scheduling & Emergencies

  1. Is the agency flexible about scheduling? How will I know regarding their working hours? How does the agency track arrival and departure times from a client’s home?
  2. What will happen if my relative’s regular care worker is off sick?
  3. What happens in the event of a medical emergency?
  4. Does the agency have an emergency plan in place in case of a power failure, natural disaster, adverse weather or heavy traffic?

Financial considerations

  1. Does the agency provide a written service agreement that provides a clear and concise explanation of all fees, cancellation policies, and other charges?
  2. What type of insurance does your agency accept? What insurance do you have in case of damage to our property, Caregiver’s mistake, accident or theft?
  3. What forms of payment do you accept? Do I pay the caregiver directly, or do I tip the caregiver?
  4. How often is payment required? Will I be charged differently for nights, weekends or holidays?  Do you take a deposit for services?
  5. How will we work out the pricing if the needs of my parent changes mid contract?

 A good home care company will be happy to answer your long list of questions and provide you with all of the answers you will need to make an informed decision.  Once you have found a home care provider, monitor and evaluate the care provided and raise issues promptly.



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