Considering Home Care? Not sure if you can afford it? Do you know how to find reputable agencies to work with?
No two families' needs are the same. Geriatric Care Managers tailor recommendations to your situation by creating a specific plan of care to minimize any frustrations or concerns you may have and maximize your peace of mind and satisfaction.
Here are 6 excellent questions to ask a potential Home Care agency:
1. Can I interview prospective Caregivers? The answer is YES! This will demonstrate that they indeed have an adequate pool of staff to consider. You may have to pay for their time to interview them but it’s well worth it.
2. What is the backup plan in case the Caregiver is suddenly “sick”? Understanding who will fill in and within what time frame is important to recognize as staff inevitably will have unexpected issues arise: car trouble, death in the family, sickness, an ill child, inclement weather which prohibits travel, etc. All families should develop an emergency plan in case the agency is stretched too thin: who will care for your loved one then? A neighbor, friend, relative?
3. Ask what the Caregiver earns per hour. Usually the hourly cost of a Caregiver is cut in half: half to the agency to pay for insurance, office staff (RN’s, Scheduler, Administrative Assistants), rent, marketing, overhead expenses. The Caregiver receives the other half. This is common as the agency is fully responsible for the staff in your home.
4. How do they screen the Caregivers? This might include:
- Social security number trace and verification
- Federal and state criminal records, felony and misdemeanor verification
- National sex offender registry check
- Motor vehicle check in the current state of residence
- License/credential verification
- Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS) Which searches any wrong actions of individuals and entities in the health care field
- Verifying Caregiver’s licensure to perform necessary tasks
- Conducting quality assurance overview once a case is finished
5. How do I know the Caregiver is there and doing the work that they should be doing? Most Home Care agencies will create a Care Plan listing activities and schedules for the caregiver on a weekly basis. Some providers use telephony or phone base solutions to have caregivers call in to confirm their arrival and departure times. Most require them to keep detailed notes for both completed activities and changes in condition.
The latest trend is to have caregivers use their smart phone which includes GPS tracking, and electronic updates to keep you and your family members up to date on your loved one. This is particularly important if you are a remote family member trying to care for your loved one.
6. How quickly do you respond to an emergency? For medical emergencies, clients should always be calling 911 instead of waiting for an agency to return their call. All agencies should have someone on call 24x7. Their response time if a Caregiver doesn’t show up, if the Caregiver is going to be late or a substitute is going to be sent should be as quick as possible and ahead of the scheduled shift.