Every day at Comfort of Home Healthcare we see and hear about more and more seniors who need professional help brought into their homes, yet they hesitate in actually making the decision to go through with hiring an agency to provide any services.
The family needs to start taking an active role in keeping their ageing loved ones safe in their homes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “Home Care for Dummies” book at the office supply store to pick up and tell you what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
So here is some helpful information that we have picked up along the way through being in the home care business AND personally being in your shoes by needing to find a home care agency (*see the who we are page) to provide services for our own loved ones.
Your family needs to ask this question: “Do we need to bring in a caregiver to help out?”
Here are some questions that can help you make this decision more efficiently.
- Does your loved one need help walking?
- Has there been a recent emotional or medical crisis with your loved one?
- Is your loved one unable to do errands alone?
- Have there been recent falls/injuries?
- Have you noticed any recent memory issues? Early onset of Dementia/Alzheimer’s?
- Is your loved one neglecting their hygiene?
- Are they wearing the same clothes each day?
- Are medications either running out too soon or being left over?
- Does your loved one seem depressed?
- Is your loved one losing weight or having changes in appetite?
- Is your loved one neglecting their home?
- Has one loved one become the caregiver for the other?
If you can respond yes to even one of these questions, you really need to start seriously thinking about and considering in-home care for your loved one.
Once you have made the important decision to bring in help for your loved one, now you need to decide on whom. Through our (both owners) experiences before opening Comfort of Home Healthcare, we found that not all agencies are created equal.
You are going to have to interview and do research on who you are going to bring into your loved ones home to help out. We can’t stress enough how important this is. You need to feel comfortable with the agency you choose; and they should also be transparent about how they run their agency.
This is especially true in the private duty (private pay) industry. When there are no regulatory bodies, such as Medicaid or Medicare, etc. there are really no standards imposed on the industry. You could potentially hire an unprofessional agency and unintentionally expose the home owner to a plethora of liabilities.
Here is a list of questions you’re going to want to know about the agency you hire:
1. How long has the agency been in business?
a. Is it privately owned or a franchise?
b. If it is privately owned, why have they started the company? What’s their story?
c. If it’s a franchise, who are the owners and who is the Director?
2. Are caregivers employees of your company (not 1099 contractors) and protected by workers compensation?
a. If they are not employees, they are probably not protected by insurance and work comp.
3. Does your agency carry liability coverage?
a. If they do not, the home owner is completely liable if there is any accidents, etc. with the caregiver.
4. Does your agency provide 24/7 telephone service?
a. People need help other than 8a-5p Monday through Friday.
5. Are your caregivers bonded and insured for theft/damages?
6. Do you conduct national and local criminal background checks and driving records of all employees?
7. Do you drug test employees?
8. Do you provide backup coverage in the event a caregiver can’t make it to work? How do you do this?
a. If they do not provide backup coverage, when the caregiver quits or is sick, there will be no one provided to help.
9. Does your agency require a minimum number of hours per shift? If so what is it?
10. Can your agency provide 24/7 services?
11. How much say will the family have in your services?
a. Do you get a say if you have a complaint?
12. Do your services include personal care such as bathing, incontinence care, mobility assistance and medication assistance?
13. Does your agency provide transportation services for clients?
a. If so how do you bill it?
14. Does your agency maintain a business office where I can meet you and the office staff?
15. How does your agency document the caregivers work done in the home?
a. If there is documentation from caregivers, what does it look like and where is it kept?
16. Does your agency make supervisory visits to a client’s home?
a. If so, by whom and when?
17. Can you provide a list of professional references from families you have served in the past?
18. Does your agency possess any state/local/federal contracts to provide in home care services?
19. How does the agency ensure patient confidentiality? How?
20. How quickly can your agency initiate service?
We hope you find this information helpful, and like always you can always call us with any question you might have. Were here to help!