12 Critical Characteristics to Evaluate Before Hiring a Home Care Agency

Questions to Ask Home Health Care Agency

When life changes due to an illness, accident or aging, it can be difficult to maintain one’s independence and personal care as you once did. Help with errands, doctor’s appointments, personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping and more can relieve much of the stress you and your loved one may be experiencing. Care provided by a qualified, professional and loving home care agency is an ideal option for many families and can bring back the joy in family life. Home care is a scaleable service designed to provide just the right amount and type of care needed for your specific needs. There are many agencies available to provide services in the home; however, not all are the same. That is why we have developed this handy guide that will make you aware of the characteristics you will want from a qualified home care agency. We hope you find it helpful.

The 12 Most Important Evaluation Points When Considering a Home Care Agency

Because good decisions result from good information, this guide was created to help you evaluate home care agencies and make the best choice the first time. Please take 10 minutes to review the important elements that make up a good home care agency.

1. IN-HOME ASSESSMENT WITH A SKILLED NURSE NO CHARGE:

It is important that your initial in-home assessment is provided by a registered nurse – this
insures your medical issues, personal needs and desires are communicated by a professional.
Health Care Associates is committed to sending a nurse to assess a patient in their own home.

2. CAREGIVER SCREENING:

When you hire a professional home care agency, you expect to receive quality care provided by a compassionate, empathetic and caring person. The real question; how do you make sure this will occur? Health Care Associates screens caregivers for experience, skill and personality. To ensure caregivers are reliable and honest, extensive background checks, including statewide police checks, are performed on all new hires and we are insured and bonded.

3. CAREGIVER EXPERIENCE:

The very best agencies hire only experienced caregivers. To make sure your needs are met,Health Care Associates recruits caregivers who have experience and are seasoned in attending to the needs of care recipients.

4. HEALTH, SKILL AND COMPETENCY TESTING:

A good home care agency will test employees to assure their personal health, skills and capability. Standard testing for all Health Care Associates employees includes competency testing, TB tests, pre-employment skills testing, and random drug testing.

5. CAREGIVER CODE OF CONDUCT TRAINING:

Insist on an agency that incorporates training that focuses on core values such as attitude, character and respect. Caregiver Code of Conduct™ is a training and certification program developed to enhance caregivers’ skills in areas of social and client interaction. Health Care Associates is proud to offer this training to their staff.

6. NO SHOW PLAN:

One of the most common problems that people have with the average home care agency is that the caregivers don’t show up. Choose an agency that has a system to handle the caregivers who cannot fill their shift. We pay bonuses for perfect attendance.

7. NURSE SUPERVISION AND UNSCHEDULED VISITS:

A good home care agency will provide field nurse supervisors who perform unscheduled supervision visits to help make sure that you are receiving the best care possible. The field nurse supervisor visit is also a good time to communicate any concerns you may find uncomfortable discussing with your caregiver. (If you prefer not to receive unscheduled supervision visits, be sure to tell the agency.)

8. REGULAR COMMUNICATION:

For peace of mind you need an agency that has a process to keep you informed. Health Care Associates caregivers keep careful notes of each visit in your home to provide a quick snapshot of their activities and are always available for review. Our staff is also trained to alert family members regarding any changes or concerns regarding the client, in addition to responding to clients’ or family members’ concerns.

9. FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING & OVERTIME POLICY:

Make sure the agency you hire will modify the schedule of your service — without financial penalty. Also ask about their overtime policy. Some agencies charge you time-and-a-half for any aide that is scheduled over 40 hours. Unless you specifically request additional hours from a caregiver that is already scheduled 40 hours for that week, the agency should be responsible for any overtime pay.

10. FULL RANGE OF SERVICES:

Everyone’s needs are different. Choose a homecare agency that can provide services for all your personal and unique needs. Health Care Associates provides all levels of service from errands, shopping, light housekeeping to hygiene assistance, medication reminders, skilled nursing services, therapy and more.

11. 24-HOUR 7 DAYS A WEEK AVAILABILITY:

The time of day you need assistance can vary from the middle of the night to very early in the morning, so make sure the agency can accommodate you any hour you need them. Health Care Associates is available, mornings, nights, weekends, holidays, temporary or long term.

12. AGENCY VERSUS REGISTRY:

There are two types of home care companies; one is a registry that finds a person for you to hire. In this situation you are the employer and responsible for Workman’s Compensation, unemployment and other State and Federal taxes. To avoid being responsible for taxes, and the risk of a hefty Workers Compensation claim, only hire an agency (as is Health Care Associates) who provides you with caregivers that are employees of the agency, and not working independently.

 

Questions To Ask A Home Health Care Agency Before Hiring Them:

Who do you send for the initial in-home assessment?

Is it a skilled nurse?

Is this a free service?

How do you make sure your caregivers are nice, trustworthy and that I’ll be safe?

Do they screen their caregivers?

Does the agency conduct statewide police checks?

Is the agency bonded?

How much experience does your average caregiver have?

Does the agency hire experienced caregivers?

What sorts of tests do your employees have to take?

Did they mention health and skills testing?

Did they mention Caregiver Code of Conduct™?

What happens if your caregiver doesn’t show up to my home?

Do they have a system for handling caregivers who don’t show up?

Who supervises your caregivers and how do you know they are doing their job?

Are the caregivers supervised?

How do you keep the family informed about what goes on during the day?

Does the agency have a policy for keeping the lines of communication open?

How do your hours and overtime work?

Will the agency accommodate the hours you need?

Does the agency take responsibility for overtime hours that you did not schedule?

What type of services do you provide?

Did they mention skilled nursing or therapy if you need it?

When are your caregivers available?

Do they have around the clock availability?

Who handles unemployment, Workers Comp and other taxes?

Are they the employer?

Who do you send for the initial in-home assessment?

Is it a skilled nurse?

Is this a free service?

How do you make sure your caregivers are nice, trustworthy and that I’ll be safe?

Do they screen their caregivers?

Does the agency conduct statewide police checks?

Is the agency bonded?

How much experience does your average caregiver have?

Does the agency hire experienced caregivers?

What sorts of tests do your employees have to take?

Did they mention health and skills testing?
Did they mention Caregiver Code of Conduct™?

What happens if your caregiver doesn’t show up to my home?

Do they have a system for handling caregivers who don’t show up?

Who supervises your caregivers and how do you know they are doing their job?

Are the caregivers supervised?

How do you keep the family informed about what goes on during the day?

Does the agency have a policy for keeping the lines of communication open?

How do your hours and overtime work?

Will the agency accommodate the hours you need?

Does the agency take responsibility for overtime hours that you did not schedule?

What type of services do you provide?

Did they mention skilled nursing or therapy if you need it?

When are your caregivers available?

Do they have around the clock availability?

Who handles unemployment, Workers Comp and other taxes?

Are they the employer?

Who do you send for the initial in-home assessment?

Is it a skilled nurse?

Is this a free service?

How do you make sure your caregivers are nice, trustworthy and that I’ll be safe?

Do they screen their caregivers?

Does the agency conduct statewide police checks?

Is the agency bonded?

How much experience does your average caregiver have?

Does the agency hire experienced caregivers?

What sorts of tests do your employees have to take?

Did they mention health and skills testing?

Did they mention Caregiver Code of Conduct™?

What happens if your caregiver doesn’t show up to my home?

Do they have a system for handling caregivers who don’t show up?

Who supervises your caregivers and how do you know they are doing their job?

Are the caregivers supervised?

How do you keep the family informed about what goes on during the day?

Does the agency have a policy for keeping the lines of communication open?

How do your hours and overtime work?

Will the agency accommodate the hours you need?

Does the agency take responsibility for overtime hours that you did not schedule?

What type of services do you provide?

Did they mention skilled nursing or therapy if you need it?

When are your caregivers available?

Do they have around the clock availability?

Who handles unemployment, Workers Comp and other taxes?

Are they the employer?

 

All the above questions are very important to have answered before moving forward with a home health care agency. Feel free to contact us to learn how we answer the questions!

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