Finding a good home care company can be difficult. When it’s time to find help for mom, dad, or any other family member, we want immediate assistance. When talking with home care companies, there are three big questions that many people ask right away–what will it cost, how many minimum hours, and how quickly can service start. These questions, while good to ask, make it difficult to differentiate between good Home Care companies and bad ones.
We want you to find the best home care for your loved one. Here are some additional questions to think about while talking with different companies:
1. Can I see your most recent survey results?
Home care agencies are surveyed yearly (usually). The survey results are posted online by their regulating agency, and are also provided to the agency themselves. Requesting a copy of the most recent results (or all of them!) will give you an idea of what professional investigators found they were doing wrong. Surveys can be difficult to read, but they generally have a summary of found “deficiencies.” To be fair, nearly every agency makes a mistake or two. But pay attention to the amount of deficiencies, as well as the planned response and resolution. (Here is a website where you can search provider credentials, as well).
2. What happens if (when) no one shows up?
There will likely come a time when the scheduled caregiver doesn’t show up for a shift. It’s an unfortunate part of life. How will the agency respond? How quickly will they respond? Do they guarantee another caregiver or a member of the administrative staff to show up? These are likely things you’ll be faced with, and it helps to know what will happen in a difficult moment.
3. Can I meet the aide who will be providing care?
This is a very important question. You’re inviting a stranger into your home, and it is imperative that you’re comfortable with that person. They will have access to your belongings, your home, and your life; and that’s all acceptable if you find them trustworthy. At our agency, I prefer to introduce our caregiver who is on a first time shift with a client to make sure it is a good fit. We ask a number of survey questions to try to pair our staff with each client, but things that line up on paper don’t always line up in real life. If a client doesn’t feel comfortable, we try again.
4. Do you have any families who have hired you in the past that I can speak with?
Most families that have enjoyed services provided are happy to inform others of their experience. It’s an awkward introduction, but we are usually happy to be of help to another person in need. A simple email detailing experience with the sales professional, different caregivers, customer service, and payment processing can be enough to give you an idea of the overall customer satisfaction. If you want to really push the agency, you can ask for any negative feedback they’ve had from clients. Keep in mind that agency’s are required to keep confidential information confidential.
5. Why are you providing home care?
The final question is a big one. Every business has a story that changes over time. Most home care agencies offer a similar smattering of services. The “what” they offer may not be different. But often what makes agencies really different is the “why.” The story behind what they do shapes the people, and the people make the agency. It’s possible to do a really good job providing light housekeeping services, and be a lousy care aide. The tasks of giving care in the home are often easier to accomplish, the actual caring is the hard part. When we hire caregivers, I am constantly asking the question in the back of my mind, “Would I trust this person to care for my family? For my mother? My wife? For me?” If the answer is no, then why would I allow them to care for another mother/father/sister/brother?
We’re here to answer any questions you may have. We want you to find the help you need.