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Ten Things to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Agency

Today’s seniors have more options available to them than ever before. One option more and more seniors are turning to when their physical capabilities diminish or while they are recovering from a short-term illness is to be treated in the comfort of their own home, wherever that home might be, by a personal assistant or a caring companion. In-Home Care is considered by many, including physicians, to be one of the most desirable options, because it allows seniors to maintain their independence while remaining in the one place where they feel safe, secure and comfortable.

In choosing any type of professional care, there are many pitfalls to watch for when hiring a home agency to care for yourself or a loved one. There are many competing companies offering what appears on the surface to be the same services. However, there are many differences and it is up to you to investigate these differences and find the one company that best fits your needs.

To help with this task, we have provided the following checklist of questions to ask each home care agency during the initial phone call. If they cannot answer these questions to your satisfaction, move on to the next agency until you find one that can.

  1. How long has your company been in business?

    There are so many new companies entering the marketplace, many of which have little experience or expertise in the special challenges of running a successful and trusted home care company.

  2. Are your employees bonded and insured?

    The Agency you want to work with should maintain extensive insurance, including both professional & general liability, Non-owners Automobile insurance and a Dishonesty Bond. Believe it or not there are Agencies that have minimal insurance coverage and others who have none at all.

  3. How extensive are your criminal background checks? How often do you run them?

    The State of Texas mandates that you must obtain two written and/or oral references and run a state background check. We would recommend that an agency should also run a federal background check on hire and state and federal background checks on all employees annually. These procedures are a must, for both the safety and care of your loved one.

  4. Does your Agency have a licensed RN or LVN on staff?

    An agency that has a licensed nurse on staff can assure that proper protocols are being followed in the care of a client. A nurse can train the agency’s caregivers to identify safety hazards, recognize symptoms, observe special-diets, familiarize them with infection control procedures, universal precautions, establish hygiene standards, medication monitoring and more. Having a RN on staff allows caregivers to do delegated tasks like the following: Vital signs, medication administration, wound care, G-tube feeding and insulin. Home care agencies that have a licensed nurse on staff are going the extra mile to provide quality assurance to the services the non-skilled professionals are providing.

  5. How do you select your caregivers? Are your caregivers out-sourced, instead of being employees?

    Reputable agencies have requirements for years of experience in all levels of care. The best agencies will take into consideration when hiring such factors as demeanor, attitude and professionalism.

  6. Can you send me information describing your services?

    This probably seems like a basic question, but an agency that has not spent the time developing important informational materials, probably haven’t done a lot of other important tasks either. Not only will these materials help you compare their services to those of other agencies, but they may also provide useful details that you hadn’t thought of at the time of your initial conversation.

  7. What is the company’s replacement policy when talking about a caregiver?

    In most cases, a good agency will give you as many replacement caregivers as needed upon reasonable requests. However, it does take time for a caregiver and a client to feel comfortable with one another. So quick decisions, sometimes are not the best option.

  8. What are your financial procedures?

    Make sure that you are aware of all the financial obligations that the agency of your choice will be requesting. Ask how the employees are compensated. Are the caregivers the agency’s employees?

  9. Would you mind providing me with references?

    Reputable agencies will be more than willing to provide you with both personal and professional references, as well as family references upon request.

  10. Can we set up a time to meet to discuss the details of my care needs?

    It is always a good idea to meet the Agency’s principal(s) or representative(s) in the client’s home for the assessment. This allows the agency to match a caregiver that will be a comfortable fit with both patient and family.

Unlimited Care of North Texas, Inc. is celebrating our 22nd year in the Home Care business and we are more than willing to answer any of the above questions or any general question that you might have when considering the next step in life’s journey for your loved one. Call us at 940-390-0493.