In our last article about this, we went over the first six questions to ask a private home care agency when interviewing them.
Now we get into the last six essential questions to ask. There are lots more questions to ask when interviewing agencies but these are a great place to start to determine which ones you want to investigate further and which ones you do not.
Let’s get into it.
What is the cancelation policy? Some agencies you need to give a week or more of notice to end services with them. Some you do not.
Knowing this is important and will allow you to plan your exit when needed.
In our opinion, there are three main reasons why someone would cancel services with us.
- Moving to a skilled facility (hospital, skilled nursing facility)
- Dissatisfaction with services
For us, there is no reason to take an extra 7-14 days worth of services from a family. We are a healthcare company where anything can happen and quickly.
So consider the cancellation policy.
This requirement might be different state to state, but in Massachusetts, I believe this to be important.
The reason being is that there is no licensure of any kind by the state when it comes to being a private home health company. All you need is to set up and LLC, pay your fee, and you are ready to provide services.
This leaves some clients concerned about what kind of company they are hiring. Who are there? Do they care about providing quality care, or do they only care about making money?
With us, we find that we could become accredited by the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts. We felt this allowed us to show that we were serious about providing quality care for our clients.
While having this accreditation by no means is foolproof that a company is reputable, it does help.
Increasing or Decreasing Hours
Our guess is most agencies will be more than happy to increase your hours immediately, but what happens about changing your hours in general, especially down?
Fewer hours means less money for the agency, so they might not be enthusiastic about moving quickly on this request.
Generally, when you reduce hours, you risk losing the current caregivers you have in the home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be replaced with new caregivers quickly.
Emergency Protocol/Change In Baseline
What happens if a client’s baseline changes?
If it is a non-emergency, like a rash or a minor to moderate skin tear what is done?
Also, find out what happens if there is an emergency.
What is the protocol for different situations when things go wrong?
How Fast is Their Turn Around Time
Turn around time means how quickly can a caregiver get out to the home. For many agencies, this is just a few hours at most. For some, it might be longer.
You want this to be as short as possible. Eventually, there are call outs, emergencies and flat tires that occur.
When these situations arise, how fast can a new caregiver be in the home providing care and ensuring your loved one is safe.
This is especially important with hospital discharges. Many can occur on a Friday afternoon when business hours are wrapping up, caregivers have finalized their weekend plans or schedules and then – boom! – a new 24/7 case comes in.
We had a situation on the Friday before Christmas 2017, where we got the call of discharge at 3 pm. They had called nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other private agencies. No one could help, but we could. We had someone in the house by 7 pm.
That’s fast on a random Friday, let alone the Friday before Monday Christmas.
What Are The Minimum Hours
Find out what the minimum hours are for your cases.
We have talked about the difficulties of minimum hours in other articles and podcasts. But this is an important one to ask.
It shows you what they can and can not do. Some agencies charge more the lower the hours are as well since the caregivers need to be paid more.
It is good to know how low you can go when it comes to hours. Ideally, you want someone who can manage at least 4 hours blocks of time.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it, the six final questions you need to ask private home care agencies when interviewing them.
Did we miss any big ones? Are there some questions you feel that should be on the next round up?
If so, leave a comment below!