Homework stays with us forever, it seems. You’ve studied for your job, raising your kids, and now, caring for the older adults in your life. It is wise to do a little studying when choosing a home care company. Get a head start with recommendations from your friends, but don’t stop there.
Evaluate all the companies your friends recommend, even if you get a glowing recommendation for a particular company. Every elder care situation is unique. Consider what help is needed and when. If some assistance is already being provided by family caregivers, factor in how you plan to incorporate the professional caregivers.
Here are a some good questions for every home care company you review:
- Is the company responsive, informative, and professional? Good home care companies are available 24/7 for help and information.
- Are caregivers screened, bonded, and insured? The best home care companies hire caregivers after very careful screening and background checks, often choosing as few as 1 in every 25 applicants.
- Does the company employ its caregivers and pay payroll taxes, withholding and workers’ compensation insurance? Home care companies who employ caregivers are able to protect clients from liability.
- What caregiver training is provided? Training is a crucial part of the caregiving equation; the best companies provide extensive, detailed client specific training from an extensive Plan of Care, in addition to training on such topics as Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and The Balanced Care Method™ for whole-person wellness.
- Does the company offer a guarantee to match client and caregiver personalities? Caregivers and clients spend so much time together; a successful match is very important to the success of the care provided. Good home care companies allow the client to choose caregivers.
- Does the company guarantee every shift of care will be served? Excellent home care companies have an extensive roster of caregivers and will not fail to deliver promised care hours due to unforeseen circumstance, such as caregiver illness.
- Does the company perform regular client satisfaction reviews, caregiver evaluations, and quality assurance assessments? Excellent home care companies do all three, in addition to making regular updates of the Plan of Care.
- Does the company require a long-term contract for service? The very best companies offer satisfaction guarantees without necessitating a long-term contract.
- Does the company offer a single point of contact for families? Excellent home care companies have Care Managers who oversee client care, closely supervise caregivers, and make regular reports to families.
This homework won’t require a PhD to complete, just some detailed conversations. After your due diligence, you can proceed with confidence to helping the older adult in your life stay as independent as possible, at home.
Photo Credit: Checklist Chalkboard, by Mufidah Kassalias.