Are you stressed about having to leave your aging parent with a caregiver? If yes, you are certainly not alone especially after Northwestern University conducted and published a study that exposed just how poorly some home care agencies conduct their hiring and screening procedures. According to the results given by the study, some agencies out there are giving home care services consumers a false sense of security regarding the competency of their employees.
No need to keep stressing though because reputable home care agencies exist, and there are ways to separate the wheat from the chaff. One such method is to explore various review and testimonial websites like TopRated Local, a highly reputable site that gives consumers a platform to leave truthful reviews about a business or service.
Another way is to do your due diligence, i.e., conduct your own investigations before signing an agreement or contract with a home care agency. Does the agency have a website where you can view customer feedback? What of a Facebook page? If not, a simple Google search of the agency’s name and location may provide some insight. And of course, you can ask family and friends to recommend a home care provider they are happy with. Your loved one’s health care provider too might be in a position to recommend an agency they trust.
Another way you can do this is by asking the right questions before settling for a provider. Here are a few important questions you can ask, courtesy of Michele Ellis-Williams, owner of Astin Home Care which was recently voted among the best home care providers in Georgia by TopRatedLocal:
6 Questions to Ask When Looking For a Reliable Home Care Provider
- Is your agency fully licensed?
Of course, you’ll want to make sure the agency meets all state and local licensing requirements. Not having a license is illegal and you certainly don’t want to deal with an illegitimate business. Licensing requirements vary by state and you might want to visit your local department of health to find out what to look out for in terms of licensing.
- What are your recruitment and hiring requirements?
According to Ms. Michele, popularly known as Coach Michele, a caregiver must have the required education and certifications as required by the department of health. Once again, you can visit your local department in person or online to get more insight on this. Experience and a strong employment history also go a long way in ensuring the capabilities of a caregiver.
- Do you screen and perform background checks on your caregivers during the hiring process?
Screening and performing regular background checks on both new and existing caregivers is a legal requirement. That’s not all, you have to make sure the agency is using legitimate resources to screen their employees.
- Do your caregivers go through any kind of on-job training?
It is important to make sure the caregiver assigned to your loved one has been adequately trained to handle the changing needs of your loved one.
- Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
Bonding and insuring caregivers protects the client in several ways. For example, if a caregiver steals or breaks anything in the client’s home, the client can be compensated. Also, if a caregiver gets injured in the course of providing care, the client is fully protected against any claims that may arise. Feel free to ask for proof that verifies this. A reputable agency won’t mind.
- What are the rights and responsibilities of your clients?
Home care clients should have rights and responsibilities as well. For example, a client should have the right to complain if he/she is not satisfied with the services he/she is receiving. He or she should also have the right to demand for a replacement if they are not getting along well with the current caregiver. A client handbook and/or a service agreement should be able to shed more light on the rights and responsibilities accorded to you as a client or client representative.
These are just a few questions you should ask a home care provider when looking for senior care services for a loved one. There are so many questions that can help put you at ease such as, -How long has your agency been in operation? Does your agency supervise your caregivers? If yes, who supervises them and how does the supervision happen? How do you assess your caregivers to ensure their capabilities match the individual needs of a client? Can I interview a caregiver personally before he/she is assigned to me or my loved one? Etc.
At Astin Home Care Agency, we know that bringing a stranger into your loved one’s home is never easy. We also know that a lot of adult children out there don’t have any idea of how to identify the right caregiver or agency for their loved ones. We are here to offer advice and tips, and to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to reach us through the information given below.