There are various options available for providing in-home care for either yourself or your loved ones. While many agencies sprang up in recent years, unfortunately, not all will provide the same level of quality care. So, to help you steer clear of the less reputable ones, here are eight key questions to ask during your initial call with providers. We want to help you make the most informed decision as possible. And, of course, we certainly welcome your call at Alpine anytime. A live Alpine employee is ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- How much home care experience does the agency’s management team possess?
Significant experience is needed to run an effective home care agency, so senior management’s leadership and management style, operations expertise and clinical background mean a great deal. After all, these executives hire caregivers, train staff, determine policies, create point-of-care plans and generally speaking, make decisions impacting the quality of care. Therefore, industry know-how combined with experience, professionalism and compassion should be carefully evaluated and be taken into consideration.
- What criteria are used in hiring all caregivers and are criminal / background checks and drug screens performed on all employees?
Reputable home care agencies should have high standards when hiring caregivers. Years of experience and levels of certifications should be strongly considered in the evaluation process, and a thorough interviewing process should also assess levels of professionalism and demeanor. Finally, a home care agency must perform effective criminal / background checks, as well as full ten-panel drug screens, to determine that they are hiring safe and appropriate individuals.
- How extensive is the training provided for all of the Caregivers? Is this ongoing throughout their career at the agency?
Caregivers should be cross-trained and well-versed in all aspects of home healthcare. A good caregiver is someone who can handle any situation, recognizes potential emergencies and prevents crises from happening. Ask them how they’ll be able to determine warning signals concerning disease symptoms, as well as identifying signs of new medical issues. Finally, caregivers should be properly trained and receive regular training and continuing education classes throughout their agency career.
- Are all the Caregivers bonded and insured?
Let’s face it, accidents do happen. The agency you select MUST have extensive insurance coverage, including professional and general liability, non-owned auto, and dishonesty bond and workers compensation insurance.
- How much oversight is rendered over the caregivers? Are there reassessments of the care plans? Are there regular supervisory visits?
Caregivers may believe they are covering all patient-care bases and in general, doing all the right things. That said, some may start out strong, but over time, their level of care may slip. A well-run home care agency reviews the daily notes and performs regular supervisory visits, as well as unannounced visits, to make sure that the level of care is appropriate and consistent. They should also reassess the care plan on a regular basis to coincide with any new medical issues or health changes.
- What level of communication or follow-up should you receive from caregivers or the agency?
When you leave your loved one with a caregiver, you should expect to hear from them regularly, particularly on how things progress from day-to-day. Daily notes should summarize what happened that day, highlighting any issues or areas of concern. A caregiver should be available to discuss any issues or points of interest. Most importantly, if you have further questions or wish to examine an issue in greater detail, the agency’s RN should be available 24/7 to do so.