7 Questions to Ask When Hiring an In-Home Caregiver

If you are an older adult who needs a little extra help with household chores or personal care, one solution is hiring an in-home caregiver through a home care agency. It may allow you to safely maintain your independence longer.

The key is hiring the right home care partner. With a little preparation, you can find an agency that provides quality care and integrity. It all starts with asking the right questions.

Interview Questions for Hiring a Home Care Agency

Here are a few important questions to ask each agency you are considering to ensure you find the right partner:

     1. Are the team members permanent employees or contingent staff?

Some agencies use contingent or on-demand staff in lieu of permanent employees. It’s a cost-saving measure some agencies rely on. While home care agencies say it helps them attract great caregivers looking for flexibility, it may not always be the best solution for seniors. An agency staffed with permanent employees is often a better choice. The continuity of having the same daily or weekly caregiver often translates to better quality care

     2. How are the agency’s employees screened?

Unlike an assisted living community where caregivers have an on-site supervisor, home care team members work independently in your home. It’s vital to feel confident that the caregivers who will have access to your personal space and belongings have been properly screened.

Ask each home care agency you are considering about their process for performing background and reference checks on employees. Also inquire about how they update these processes for current employees.

     3. Are caregivers bonded?

Along these same lines is the issue of whether the agency bounds its caregivers to legal agreement. Remember, they will likely have access to financial papers and other valuables in your home.

While supervisors will visit occasionally, caregivers are largely on their own to assist clients. You’ll want to make certain the agency has an established process and the means to replace any damaged or missing valuables.

     4. What is the agency’s staff turnover rate?

Because caregiving can be physically and emotionally stressful, the senior care industry typically has higher staff turnover than others. But an excessively high turnover rate—usually over 50%—can be a sign the agency isn’t run well.

Ask the agency how long staff members typically remain on their team, especially those who will be assisting you.

     5. Can you meet the caregivers ahead of time? 

Finding a caregiver you feel comfortable with is important. During your interview, ask the agency if you can meet those who would be coming to your home. Like all of us, caregivers fall ill or have family emergencies of their own. Ask each agency you talk to what their back-up plan is should your primary staff member be unavailable.

     6. Does the agency have time minimums?

Because caregivers sometimes travel great distances to visit a senior in their home, many agencies have minimum hourly requirements. Some agencies have weekly minimums, and others have requirements per visit. Before you lock yourself into an agreement of any kind, make sure you understand the agency’s policy.

     7. Is a long-term contract required?

As is true for any service agreement, it’s essential to get everything in writing. Most agencies require a contract. Ask for a copy upfront so you or an attorney can review it before you sign. Also ask what happens if you aren’t happy with the agency. Is there a way to discontinue the contract? 

Consider a Medical Alert System

Not sure about hiring an in-home caregiver? One last suggestion is to consider purchasing a medical alert system. In the event of an emergency, you can call for help with the push of a button. Call 1-844-203-5617 to learn more!