Making the decision to hire an in-home care provider is challenging for every family. You’re inviting strangers into your or your relative’s home. You have a million questions about how to find the best company and how to arrange care services. Here are five of the most important questions you should ask any in-home care company before hiring them.
1- What Is Your Medicare Star Rating?
The federal government runs a survey that rates most major in-home health care agencies. These ratings combine patient surveys and patient care results. That means you can understand what clients thought of the service and what type of health outcomes clients had when using the service. This is helpful information because you want to find an agency that is both kind and effective when caring for your loved one.
2- Do You Provide Medical and Non-Medical Health Care?
Some agencies focus on home health care services like IV management and occupational therapy. These companies must hire licensed professionals, including registered nurses, physical therapists and certified nursing assistants. Other agencies concentrate on non-medical services like helping patients shop for groceries or providing companionship. No licensure or certification is required for their staff. Your family’s doctor can work with you to determine the type of care that your loved one needs.
Ideally, you can stay with one home health care agency for all of your family member’s needs. If your loved one only needs basic assistance now but may need medical care in the future, you should look for an agency that can provide both services. That will minimize disruptions. These agencies can be more expensive than exclusively non-medical companies, so don’t hire a hybrid company unless you will need them.
3- How Do You Train Your Workers?
You want your family member to get the best care possible. That means you need staff with proper training and licensure. The Helping Hearts Foundation said, “Ask if the agency requires any certifications or educational background.” If your loved one has special needs, find out how the company prepares their staff to help. You don’t want your elderly relative with dementia being cared for by a provider with no understanding of that burden.
4- How Often Do Clients Have New Providers?
Your family member will be most comfortable if they see the same providers on a regular basis. You don’t want a new person coming in every week and having to learn your relative’s routine from scratch. Ask any potential company how they ensure continuity of care. They might pay their employees higher-than-average salaries or they might hire licensed staff who are committed to working in the at-home care industry. Some companies assign two or three employees to each client to ensure there’s always a familiar face available. There’s no one right way for agencies to manage turnover and keep your relative comfortable, but it’s important they have a strategy to tackle this issue.
5- How Are Your Workers Supervised?
If you’re hiring in-home care providers to visit a relative who doesn’t live with you, then you want to make sure those staff will be well supervised. This will give you peace of mind and provide the best experience for your loved one. Ask any potential agency how they monitor their staff. Most companies will be happy to share their process with you. They might send supervisors to conduct periodic checks or phone your relative on a regular basis. Some agencies even use technology and have staff members send a picture or take a video for each visit. Make sure you’re comfortable with whatever quality assurance process is used by the agency.
All of these questions are completely reasonable to ask before committing to any agency. If a company doesn’t want to answer them, then you don’t want to deal with that company. You deserve to feel completely comfortable with the provider you’re hiring. These questions should give you an idea of where to start the interview process.