The more time you have to search for a home care provider, the more likely you are to find the best fit for the client. The ideal is to recognize the signs an aging relative needs support to stay at home, and taking advantage of free, no-obligation, in-home assessments offered by most home care agencies. Even if you find yourself in a 9-1-1 situation, we still recommend taking time to interview multiple prospects.
As with anything in life, you’re bound to feel more comfortable with one over another, so interviewing multiple agencies gives you and your senior loved one some agency in the process – and the ability to make a more informed selection.
Become a Pro at Interviewing Prospective Home Care Agencies
What then, does that selection process look like? And how should you move forward? First, visit our post titled, The How-To Guide For Hiring In-Home Help.
The best way to compare agencies is to make sure they’ve all answered the same questions. This gives you a more “apples-to-apples” comparison so you can hear various answers and approaches to the same things.
Some of the questions pertain to the essential “must-haves” from a home care provider, such as, “are you licensed,” while others delve into more personal or more open-ended subjects that are more relevant to the client’s and household’s needs.
1. Are you licensed in the state of Washington?
You should never hire a home care agency that isn’t licensed by the state in which they work. These state-authorized licenses are reviewed regularly and require a basic standard of caregiver education, training, reviews of client complaints or lawsuits, etc.
Feel free to use our website’s Find a Home Care Agency link, which connects you with home care agencies that current licenses from the state of Washington.
2. Are you certified by Medicare, meeting their health and safety requirements?
This is another layer of “vetting” worth having. Medicare covers some aspects of healthcare depending on the situation. So, even if your parent or spouse’s caregiving needs don’t qualify for Medicare reimbursement or coverage now, it’s worth thinking ahead and working with a Medicare-certified agency so you’ll have that option should you need it down the road.
3. Do you have a protocol for communicating with the family?
If you’re a child or family member of the client, rather than a spouse, you’ll want to have a clear communication path in place. You should be informed of the caregiver and client’s day, any red flags or changes noted by the caregiver, mood tracking, meal reports, updates from healthcare providers or the pharmacy, etc.
4. What services do you offer? And, do you offer in-home care 24/7?
The services required now are bound to evolve, change, and increase as time goes on. Eventually, that may require overnight support, long-term respite care, or even live-in care. Working with an agency that offers care 24/7 is a smart way to ensure you won’t have to go through the caregiver search all over again if the client’s needs increase.
5. Do you place caregivers based on the personality of the client?
Caregivers are as varied in personality as their clients, and clients fare best when paired with someone they feel comfortable with. This can include things like a love of the same hobbies or activities, similar energy levels, pet lovers, etc. Just as you want to feel good about the home care agency you use, your loved one should connect with the caregiver(s) they spend time with. Meeting a few ahead of time, or ensuring the agency works hard to “match” caregivers and clients by personality types and lifestyle preferences, eases the transition.
The Washington Home Care Association was explicitly established to guarantee seniors choosing to age-in-place have access to high-quality, personalized in-home care. Contact us to learn more about selecting the best potential home care provider for your loved one.