Deciding on a caregiver for your loved one may seem challenging. With elder abuse and fraud on the rise, the thought of leaving your mother or father in another’s care might fill you with apprehension. However, armed with the right information you can make a sound decision and hire a suitable caregiver.
Factors to Consider
Because hiring a caregiver is largely an emotional issue, sometimes the more practical aspects are overlooked. “Families need to be aware of all the implications when considering hiring home help for their aging parent or loved one,” says Cheryl Smith, President and CEO of Kansas City Home Care, Inc. She adds, “Most people don’t think about the potential tax or liability issues when researching home health care.”
These issues need to be addressed before you decide on hiring a private caregiver or going through an agency. Homecare poses the risk for injury, so make sure your caregiver has workers’ compensation insurance. If there is no policy in place and the caregiver is injured, you will be responsible for all medical and disability payments.
Many families find that hiring a home care agency directly eliminates financial and legal worries and eases the stress of the entire process.
Questions to Ask
Not all homecare agencies are created equal. Some agencies offer limited supervision of their providers, and not all caregivers have the necessary skills to provide quality care. Rosemarie Tamunday, owner of RIGHT ACCORD Private Duty-Home Health Care in Sarasota, Florida, says, “Training, or lack of it, is the issue. We’ve always insisted on a standardized training program for our caregivers. But we’re an exception. Many companion care companies, some of them franchises, offer very limited caregiver training.”
To overcome this potential problem, interview at least two or three agencies. Make your expectations clear, and ask as many questions as you need to help you understand the agency and their policies.
When meeting with agency directors, ask:
- How long they’ve been in business
- How quality control is monitored and ensured
- If their workers are bonded and insured
- For a list of references
- How extensive are their background/criminal checks
- Are there limitations as to what the caregiver can and cannot do
- What is the company’s replacement policy or guarantee
- Are rates negotiable
- How much training do the caregivers receive
This is just a basic list of questions you should have answered. If you think of more, by all means, ask them. Your loved one’s safety and health is on the line so it is vitally important to find a caregiver you trust.