Today’s seniors have more options than ever before. One option that more and more seniors are turning to when they have physical disabilities or if they are in short-term recovery from a surgery would be a home health care agency
This provides an aide or companion in the comfort of their own home to allow them to maintain a sense of independence longer.
But there can be serious pitfalls and dangers to the health of the senior being cared for if you pick the wrong health care agency. This is why I am putting together this list of items to ask and investigate before hiring a home health care agency.
Video Overview of How To Hire A Home Health Care Agency
How Long Have You Been In Business?
This is the first question, and is the obvious no brainer. There are plenty of home health care agencies in the marketplace. How many do you feel can be relied upon to properly take care of your loved one?
The problem with hiring a new company is that the caregivers they hire do not have enough of a track record for you to make sure that they have the necessary training and experience to take care of your loved one.
In addition, remember that these smaller start-ups generally attract the type of caregiver that can’t get hired by a more established health care agency for this very reason.
So make sure to stick with a home health care agency that will be around long enough to allow you to research both their organization and the caregivers themselves to make sure they are the right type of company for you.
Are Your Workers Bonded and Insured?
Most people don’t think about potential accidents or problems at the onset of hiring help. For most stressed out caregivers of aging parents, they are most concerned in the beginning with getting themselves some well deserved respite care.
But there are others problems along the way. Accidents happen all the time. In addition, the personal property of your loved one could become damaged or lost as a result of the negligence or the dishonesty of the home health care aid. Such incidents do occur.
To cover yourself, the company you end up hiring must have proper insurance coverage. This coverage should include…
- Professional and General Liability
- Non-Owned Auto
- Dishonesty Bond
- Worker’s Compensation
Amazingly, there are PLENTY of home health care companies that either carry minimal coverage or no coverage at all.
What Type of Criminal Background Checks Do You Perform?
As you could imagine, there are many unscrupulous people looking for work. After all, how many people out there have falsified their resume? The answer to that is the vast majority of people.
And while most of those falsifications amount to “little white lies” what you are concerned about are the falsifications that claim that the individual aide wasn’t arrested or hasn’t abused drugs.
Therefore, I would only recommend getting involved with home health care agencies that do such a check…and it is a bonus if they can provide you with the report (this could raise some privacy concerns, but they should at the very least allow you to view the report). And that check should go back a minimum of 5 years.
Do You Have Licensed Vocational Nurses or RN’s on Staff?
Most reputable home agencies will have a vocational nurse on staff to insure that all proper medical protocols are being followed by the aides in the care and treatment of the patients under their direction.
You need to find out whom this nurse is and if you have the ability to contact them if you have any questions regarding the treatment of your loved one.
How Do You Hire Your Employees?
You are asking this because you want to know what type of questions are asked of applicants as well as the types of credentials that the home health care agency looks for in applicants.
So make sure to look for high standards in their hiring process.
Can You Send Me Information Describing Your Services and Fees?
While this might seem like a simple question, what you are actually doing is seeing if the company has made an investment in itself. Many firms just starting out will not even have these types of materials available.
But in addition to that, make sure to read the information thoroughly as it will not only answer many questions, it could also cause you to seek out new answers to questions you hadn’t previously thought of.
What Is The Company’s Replacement Policy or Guarantee?
If you want to avoid getting a “lemon” ask about the company’s replacement policy. In most cases, the company will give you as many replacements as needed without limitation. And for those who wish for a caregiver on a referral basis, where you are the one handling the payroll and insurance obligations, you should get some time…3 months or so…to see if this person is suitable for your loved one.
What Are Your Financial Procedures? Are The Rates Negotiable?
While all agencies have a series of fixed costs they have to pay, they also realize that the ability of their prospective clients to pay for these services can vary. Some home health care agencies may be prepared to make a deal.
The downfall to this is that in many instances you may end up with a caregiver where English is their second language. Unless they are truly fluent, this could be a problem. So while it is fine to ask about negotiating, just understand that there could be a downside.
Do You Have References?
Can they give you the names of others in your situation so that you can talk to these people? You are looking for hopefully speak with clients who have a long history with the agency.
Can We Sit Down And Discuss Care Details?
This is a must. You need to be able to sit down and speak with someone about the individual care needs of your loved one. If there is no way for you to discuss those with a head nurse or administrator now, can you imagine how difficult it will be to discuss this situation with someone AFTER you hired them?
To me, this would be non negotiable.