Caregiving Agency Checklist

The Questions Most Often Not Asked by Family Caregivers

While many individuals will need in home care at some point, the assumptions family caregivers make about the agencies or individuals you hire often result in dissatisfaction.  Issues exist on both sides, the side of the caregiver agency and the issues that family caregivers and clients unintentionally cause because they are looking for a “friend” rather than services provided by a professional caregiver.

Below is a list of questions to ask when interviewing caregiving agencies and a list of questions for you as the family caregiver or the client.  Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions.  Questions will save you time, effort and potential issues.

Questions for Care Agencies:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How long have you been licensed by the state?
  • How many clients do you serve?  (Too few may mean the company is too new and too many may mean you won’t receive the level of service you wish).
  • What is the educational and professional background of the owner of the company?
  • Do you offer a free consultation or assessment to determine my needs? (if they charge, decline)
  • Do you require a deposit to begin services?
  • Is there a contract and if so what is the cancellation policy?
  • How often do you bill?
  • If I pay you X per hour for services, how much are the employees paid?
  • Do you perform pre-employment screenings for your employees including 50 state multi-jurisdictional criminal background checks, DMV checks and drug screening?
  • How many employees do you have with you today that were employed with you one year ago? (this indicates turnover)
  • What is the educational background of the employee you are recommending for me? (High school graduate, certified nurses’ assistant etc.)
  • What is your training process for employees i.e. programs, hours etc. (the more training the better)
  • Ask about specific training that relates to your needs i.e. family member with memory loss, Parkinson’s, mobility difficulties etc.
  • How much work experience does this employee you are recommending for me have in this industry?
  • How long has this employee you are recommending for me worked for the company? (it’s preferable that you have an employee with experience not a newly hired employee)
  • Has this employee had an acceptable performance review?
  • What is the minimum number of hours required for service?
  • What type of documentation occurs regarding services provided to me?
  • What happens when a caregiver doesn’t show up for work?  When this happens what is your backup plan?
  • How often does a company manager contact me or visit to confirm my satisfaction?

Questions for Family Caregivers and Clients

  • Do you understand that it’s your responsibility to supervise and direct the caregiver?  This responsibility is yours.  Make a list of what you expect from the caregiver and give it to the agency.
  • Do you realize that your relationship, while friendly, is not to be a friendship?  Many clients blur boundaries by asking for caregiver phone numbers and giving caregivers items.  This sets the groundwork for the appearance of potential abuse.  Caregivers are trained NOT to give out phone number and NOT to accept gifts.
  • If you offer and the caregiver accepts, what else might they do that’s not approved by their employer.  Character is what people do when no one is watching!
  • Maintain a professional relationship no matter the situation.  This individual is an employee of an agency, not a friend or family member.
  • Will you feel comfortable complaining to management if an employee does not meet your satisfaction?  If not you’ll be dissatisfied.

The time it takes to be thorough in hiring a caregiver is time well spent.  Interview at least 2 companies to make comparisons between the services offered.   Ask to meet the employee caregiver recommended for you before committing to service.  And if you’ are not satisfied at any time, advise management of your concerns.

If you are an adult child unable to manage a caregiving agency due to work responsibilities or if you are an older adult concerned about managing a caregiver agency, care advocates and case managers serve in this role.

©2012, 2013 Pamela D. Wilson.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Older woman with caregivers

 

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