Max: Vanessa, how does someone go about finding, interviewing and hiring an in-home care provider if they have never done it before?
Vanessa: Home care allows our seniors to maintain their independence while n in their own home. But finding the perfect home care agency can be challenging at times. When hiring an in-home care provider, I highly encourage that you involve the person you're caring for in the interview and selection process as much as possible. This lets your loved one feel they are valued as a significant contributor to the home care team's success. When people feel valued, they will usually be more open to the possibility of in-home care service.
What follows are the key questions to ask to find the right organization and right caregiver(s): Is the agency licensed? Are their caregivers bonded and insured? What kind of training do they provide their caregivers? What are the goals and expectations of the caregivers? How would issues and concerns be addressed? What is the company's mission and vision?
Max: Can you share a checklist of items that should be investigated before and during an interview with a provider?
Vanessa: Here are some additional items to check before and during the interview:
• Which type of services the agency provides?
• Is there additional support after office hours and on weekends?
• How do they screen caregivers?
• What are the retention programs provided by the agency? What is their turnover rate?
• How much do they charge?
• Are caregivers employees or independent contractors?
• Check the service agreement before signing up
• Guidelines or standards of conduct for caregivers
• Why are they in this profession? It is important to know why they are doing a caregiver job.
Max: Does it ever make sense to hire an unlicensed, uninsured private care-giver? What are the risks and benefits?
Vanessa: It all depends. Hiring a caregiver privately to come into your home usually is a less expensive option, but it means you need to do the work that an agency would normally do. If you are to hire them privately, as an employer, you will need to cover payroll taxes unless that person works as a contractor, and, to be on the safe side, please perform a background check. Home is such an intimate setting and you do not want someone with a criminal background caring for your loved ones. Online background check companies usually cost less and most charge based on the search - for example how many counties must be searched.
Max: Any other tips for making the right decision, or getting out of a bad one?
Vanessa: There is no guarantee that you will find the right match instantaneously. But doing your homework and asking a lot of questions will help decrease the risk of hiring the wrong person/agency. One of the most important things to remember is to keep the lines of communication open. Provide clear expectations to the home care agency and selected caregivers. Once you made a caregiver selection, provide timely feedback to the agency: good or bad, this way you can help them to get you the right person who will match with your needs and expectations.
Vanessa Valerio is a Registered Nurse, CMC, and the Founder, COO and VP for Patient Care at Care Indeed. If you need additional information you can contact her at 650-328-1001 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Vanessa will be one of the speakers at the Senior Living Options Seminar on Friday February 22nd 1-2:30pm at the Mitchell Park Community Center in Palo Alto.