Taking care of your loved one’s needs can be tough and overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you’re embarking on the research of in-home care. You find yourself searching endlessly on Google to read the reviews and the website’s information to finally narrow it down to the one you think might be the one. We’ve built a list of questions to answer either in your online research or when you set up your first consultation. These questions can help guide you to a senior home care agency that has your and your loved one’s best interest. Before we jump into the questions, here are some things you should know before you call.
- Different agencies have different intake processes. Some may be able to start care immediately, while others need to have more steps involved.
- Interview multiple agencies. This can help you decide which processes you like best and what matches your loved one the best.
- Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Senior Home Care Agencies love providing information and being a resource for our aging communities.
- It’s never too early to start researching home care for your aging loved one. It’s true, creating a plan and starting your research before you in a crisis for care is the way to avoid any stumbles in care.
- Home Care and Home Health are different. See our blog here that explains the difference: Home Care & Home Health Care: What’s the Difference?
When you’ve answered most of your questions online and decided on an agency to call, here are some questions to ask:
Standard Business – what is the company’s standard process for business?
- How long have you been in business? (This is usually listed on the website.)
- Can you provide references from previous clients or referral sources? (Testimonials will be listed on the website too, and this might be a good time to check out their social media accounts too.)
- Referral sources are other businesses(doctor’s offices, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care agencies, home health care agencies, etc. that refer their clients to a home care agency for more assistance with care.)
- Are you licensed to provide in-home care? (Some states don’t require a license, check here for your state: How to Start a Home Care Agency)
- Are the caregivers employees of your agency (not independent contractors) and covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
- Are your caregivers bonded?
- Do you have business liability insurance, and are you willing to share a copy of your insurance certificate?
Care Management – how will my loved one be taken care of?
- Do you create a personalized care plan for each client? Who’s involved and what does that include?
- How often do you evaluate and update a client’s written plan of care? Who conducts the ongoing evaluations and updates?
- Do you offer specialized care that matches my loved one’s needs (dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.)?
- How do you communicate with clients and their family members regarding any issues, concerns, or recommendations?
Caregiver Selection & Training – who will be taking care of my loved one?
- How do you recruit and select caregivers?
- Do you conduct background checks? If so, what kind? What’s your policy regarding hiring employees with charges or convictions?
- Do your caregivers attend orientation or receive ongoing training?
- Do you conduct periodic supervisory visits to evaluate caregiver performance?
- How do you handle the assignment of caregivers to clients? Is there a matching process?
Company Policy – what policies are in place to protect my loved one’s needs?
- If I have an issue or concern, such as a no-show or late caregiver, who will be my point of contact?
- What’s your backup plan when a regularly scheduled caregiver isn’t available? How do you provide last-minute coverage?
- Is a member of your staff available outside of normal business hours for emergency situations or do calls go to an answering service?
Billing – how will we manage the financial side of in-home care?
- Do you require a minimum number of hours or shifts per week? If so, what’s the minimum?
- Do you offer a free in-home consultation or charge a fee for the initial assessment?
- Do you charge different rates for nights, weekends, or holidays?
- How often do you bill, and what forms of payment do you accept?
- Do you require a deposit for services?
- Do you accept long-term care insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid? If so, do you bill insurance directly or do clients pay you and then file for reimbursement?
We hope that these questions help you find the senior home care agency of your dreams and that your loved one gets the care they need! If you have any questions, we are happy to help and be your resource, contact us!