What are some of the most critical private home care questions to ask agencies when interviewing them?  Today we get into the first six out of ten topics and issues to ask an agency when looking for them to provide home health care services.

This isn’t a complete list, but it is a great start, so if you have thoughts or ideas about it, let us know in the comments below!

 

Are Workers Insured?

If the caregivers are not insured, this should be a dealbreaker for you.

If the caregivers are not employees of the company, they probably are not insured by the company either.  This can lead to some significant issues.

The first being that if that caregiver is injured on the job, they are going to look at the family for compensation.

It happened in the families home while caring for a family member.  So you will be included in any lawsuits if it comes to that.

The insurance also works both ways.  If the caregiver is negligent and does something that is grossly unacceptable or negligent, and employee and insurance caregiver has a company behind it.

If it is just an individual, it makes it that much harder and unlikely they have the kind of funds to compensate your family for their mistake.

 

How Are Caregivers Vetted

How are the caregivers found, interviewed and vetted before they are placed in a case or a home?

Are there local background checks done or are they nationally done?

One issue we have in Massachusetts is all the states are small in the northeast.  It takes a matter of a few hours to drive through multiple states.

So a caregiver could be convicted of a crime in New Hampshire and commute to Massachusetts for work, and a state-only background check will say they have not been convicted of a crime in Massachusetts.  Not good.

Find out if the company completes a national background check versus a local state-only one.

 

Training

Is there training before going out in the field?  What about ongoing training?

It is crucial to have a caregiver to receive refresher courses on the tasks they do every day.  It is essential for the caregiver’s and the client’s safety and success.

So how is this being done?  Online?  In person?  Both?

Find out what the company invests back into their caregivers to see how committed they are.

 

Office Staff

The office staff is essential.   I believe the consistency of office staff shows that things are stable at the company.

Don’t get me wrong, turnover is a part of the business, but if you see constant, repeated turnover of the same positions regularly, it safe to say things are turbulent at best.

The reason for your concern is it does take time to find the right person, train them and then trust that they know the job.  While that is going on, the chances go up that something falls through the cracks.  You don’t want to be that client that is forgotten.

This stuff happens at every company – we all make mistakes – but when it is a rotating door of employees, be aware the boat might be hitting some rocky weather.

 

Age of Company

Now, I know I look self-promoting talking about the age of a company when Minute Women Home Care was started in 1969.

What I mean is that you might not want to do business with a brand new agency and owner that is learning the ropes.

The situation might be that the owner of the new company has decades of experience in home health and finally went out on their own, that’s fine.

But there are a lot of franchises out there that make money by opening more locations.  Some of the franchisees past business experience has nothing to do with home health, and now they see the baby-boomer population as an opportunity.

Listen we all start somewhere, but just get a feel from the owners and office staff’s background and experience.  Not all experienced companies are great, and not all new companies are bad, but keep the age of the company in mind.

 

Unsatisfied with a Caregiver

What happens if you are unhappy with the performance of a caregiver?  You feel their work is shoddy.

Find out how quickly a caregiver can be replaced and exchanged with a new caregiver who might fit the case.

There can be degrees of how quickly you want this to happen.  Maybe the caregiver is good, but the personality is not a fit, so it’s not urgent.

Maybe the trust is gone because of a service failure, and an immediate change is needed.  Find out how quickly that can happen.