The Care Agency: Making Sure Your Loved One Gets the Best Home Care
When your loved one is no longer able to function fully independently at home, it may be time to consider bringing in professional help.
While it is possible to hire a private caregiver for the task, and it may be more cost effective in the short-term, it is strongly recommended that you hire a caregiver through a certified home care agency.
Why You Should Use a Care Agency
The primary reason for hiring a caregiver through a care agency is being assured of the best possible care for your loved one. When your parent’s well-being is at stake, the last thing you want is to save a few bucks at the expense of hiring an inexperienced, under-qualified caregiver who may not be up to the task and who could even put your parent at risk.
Another reason for engaging the services of a caregiver through a care agency is that agency is the employer, not you—which means you won’t have to worry about carrying worker’s compensation insurance, conducting a background check on applicants, managing payroll and taxes, and dealing with a host of other employment-related issues.
Top 10 Considerations When Hiring a Care Agency
Choosing a care agency and caregiver to attend to your parent’s needs in her home is a very personal matter. It’s equally important for your loved one to feel as comfortable as possible to ensure that she’s taken care of and it’s a fit overall. The following list will help you do just that. Keep in mind that this list is not one-size-fits-all; due diligence is required in order to determine that all of your loved one’s needs can be met by a particular agency.
Here are the top 10 factors to consider when hiring a care agency.
1. Health Needs
- Do you accommodate special dietary needs?
- Do you offer medication management?
- Do your caregivers have experience working with memory-impaired clients?
2. “Help” Needs
- What kinds of household tasks can my mom get help with?
- Can caregivers run errands for my mom?
3. Personal Preferences
- Do you have a caregiver who matches my mom’s personal preferences (e.g., a nonsmoking female)?
- How will the caregiver drive my mom to her appointments? Do you provide a vehicle? Can she drive my mom’s car?
- Is transportation included in the cost of services?
- Is transportation covered by insurance?
- Do you have caregivers who speak my parent’s native language fluently?
- When can I schedule visits? Are nights and weekends available?
- Is there a minimum or maximum amount of hours I can schedule?
- Will my parent always have the same caregiver?
- If the caregiver is sick or doesn’t show up, how long does it take for a new caregiver to arrive?
7. Care Management
- Do you provide care management services?
- What is the process for care management?
8. Quality Management
- How do you monitor your caregivers?
- How do you track and ensure the quality of my mom’s care?
- If I have a problem with a caregiver and we can’t resolve it, whom should I contact?
9. Insurance & Liability
- Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
- Do you conduct background checks on employees? What is involved?
- Do you provide professional liability coverage and worker’s compensation?
- What are the qualifications of the staff members who provide hands-on care?
- Do you provide ongoing training? On what topics and how frequently?
Written by senior care writer Nikki Jong.