Are you starting to look into finding in home care for your mother, father, or other loved one in the Los Angeles South Bay?
If this is your first time pursuing the idea of in-home care for a loved one, you may be unsure of what to ask when looking for a provider that is trustworthy and competent.
Here are 10 questions to ask prospective in home care providers to help you assess their quality and select someone you can trust to provide compassionate care for someone important to you.
- Why is this agency in business?
There are a lot of companies in the marketplace, many of which lack the passion needed for the special challenges of running a successful home care company. The person who picks up the phone can provide you with the best first impression about the agency. This question allows you to start to determine if this is the team/agency you want taking care of your loved one.
- Are your workers bonded and insured?
Few people like to think about accidents or possible problems at the outset of retaining help, but the fact is many people get into accidents every day, such as car accidents, sprained backs, twisted ankles, etc. Also, from time to time, important things in a client’s home can be damaged or disappear through a caregiver’s negligence or dishonesty. The company you want to work with must have extensive insurance, including Professional and General Liability, Non-Owned Auto, a Dishonesty Bond, and Worker’s Compensation policies. Believe it or not there are some companies that have minimal insurance coverage and others who have none at all. You need to know the answer to this question for the peace of mind confidence you need.
- How extensive are your criminal and background checks?
As you know, there are unscrupulous people looking for work. You don’t want them in your home or in the home of someone you love or care about. Therefore, you must do business only with companies that provide a criminal background check and have each caregiver go through the Live Scan fingerprint check. Because some bad caregivers drift around from place to place, it’s important that the agency not only run a check on the last place a caregiver worked, but also on all the places he or she lived for at least the last five years.
- Does your company have a Trained Care Coordinator or Field Supervisor assessing needs and doing supervisory visits?
Most reputable agencies have a care coordinator or Trained Field Supervisor on staff assigned to complete a plan of care, which informs the caregiver of what is expected of him while working on behalf of the client. A care coordinator or Field Supervisor can help a caregiver identify safety hazards, recognize symptoms, observe special diets, understand infection control procedures and universal precautions, establish hygiene standards, and more.
- How do you select your employees?
Many agencies hire Caregivers without a rigorous hiring process that entails screening, interviews and extensive background checks. The best agencies will be able to fully articulate their hiring process and be able to give you a peace of mind knowing that they value the concept of hiring right. Make sure you choose an agency that follows California standards and has all of their caregivers registered on the California Caregiver Registry.
- Can you send me information describing your services and fees?
This may seem like a basic question, but a company that has not spent the time developing important informational materials such as these probably hasn’t done many 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 earlier. More than likely, an agency that sends you detailed, carefully considered materials for your review has also gone the extra mile in other aspects of its business.
- What is the company’s replacement policy or guarantee?
If you want to avoid getting “a lemon,” ask about the company’s replacement or guarantee policy. In most cases, a good agency will give you as many replacements as needed whenever needed without limitation.
- What are your financial procedures?
Are your rates negotiable? Most agencies have a lot of fixed costs to incorporate into their quoted rates. The number of hours that you may require plus the type of care that your loved one needs can influence the rate that you may be obligated to pay.
- Would you mind providing me with references?
It pays to find out if the Agency’s clients are satisfied with the services they’re getting. Sometimes old references don’t reflect current management conditions, so it’s best to ask for testimonials from their more recent jobs. You might also want to ask to talk with clients who have had a long history with the agency so that you can get a good sense for how they do business and what you can expect from them.
- Can we set up a time to meet to discuss the details of my care needs?
It’s always a good idea to meet the Agency’s principal(s) or representative(s) and to see their setting if possible. It’s also good to have them come over to your place so that you can meet them at your convenience. Home care can get expensive, so you want to be sure that the people you’ll be dealing with can be relied upon to give you “A Peace of Mind” and the best service possible. Also, the advantage of going to their office is that you can make some assessments about them that you can’t just by talking on the phone. Are they a boiler room operation?
Call (310) 377-3776 for a free in-home assessment or learn more about us here.