As with any business, not all home care agencies are created equal, it's possible using an agency to provide paid caregivers may give older adults and their families a false sense of security regarding their background and skill set, according to a recent study. Being an agency employee doesn't necessarily mean they are trained to care for an elderly person, all agencies have different hiring and training policies.
Home health care is a great answer for many families who seek assistance with an aging loved one and most find great satisfaction. Many home care agencies offer additional freedom and independence for aging loved ones and a relief for child caregivers but it also may present a challenge. This type of care involves trusting a stranger in your home and caring for your loved one, therefore, it is extremely important for families to consider and research all possibilities as they search for agencies or private individuals to provide this care.
- Only 55 percent of the agencies ordered a federal background check;
- Only one-third of agencies said they conducted drug testing;
- Only one-third tested for skill competency;
- Supervision ranged from none to weekly and included home visits, telephone calls and visits to the office.
Being an educated consumer, is your best way to find a qualified, reputable agency that employs home health aides who will provide care with both compassion and skill.
Start by going through a well known agency in your area. Don't choose an agency just because they are a large franchise. Get references and compose a list of questions to ask when speaking with them.
Below are 10 good questions to ask when you are interviewing someone for this position:
- What recruiting methods do they use? - Are they finding job candidates through Newspaper ads, Staff agencies or Craig's List?
- What are their hiring requirements for employees? - Do they review prior experience? Are they verifying past employment and training or possible complaints.
- What background checks are performed before hiring? - Criminal background checks should include both federal and state?
- Do they perform Drug screening? - if so, what drugs do they screen for?
- How does the agency assess each caregiver's capabilities? Are they tested and supervised by an agency manager for a length if time when hired? What is their proficiency level, their strengths and weaknesses? Do the employees individual interests and personality play a role when placing the caregiver with clients.
- Does the agency provide training? What does that training entail? Are they knowledgeable about elderly health conditions and certified in CPR? What other certifications do they have?
- What is the procedure if there is ever a suspicion or accusation of theft or abuse? Are employees insured and bonded through the agency?
- Is the agency diligent about sending the same person to the home, rather than repeatedly changing caregivers? (having two primary in-home aides to establish a relationship is preferred, so if one moves on, there is another familiar person with the family and their routine.)
- If you are not satisfied with a particular person, will the agency provide someone else?
- Does the agency evaluate the quality of the care provided on a regular basis? How frequently? Who conducts the evaluation?
- Do you have the opportunity to sit down with prospective caregivers in the agency and speak with them prior to them being placed with your loved one? Having a discussion with your intended caregiver will give you a better idea if they are well suited for your loved one based on personalty and abilities.
In addition to the questions above, write down your own list of questions to ask when it's time for your interview.
Good luck, if you have any questions regarding in-home care or care in a facility contact us today!