Safety & Quality

Know What to Ask Before Choosing a Home Care Agency

Finding the right caregiver can be much less stressful if you know the right questions to ask.

Locating a home care agency near you is easy thanks to the recent explosion of franchises and independent home care agencies across the country. But finding the right caregiver to meet your family’s needs—and a dependable, well-managed caregiver you can trust—is a much bigger challenge.

Before you agree to work with any home care agency, be sure to ask these questions, taking careful notes. And if you’re thinking about hiring a private caregiver not through an agency, you may want to reconsider after reviewing this 5-Question Checklist.

Caregiver walking with elder client

Your 5-Question Checklist

1. How do you screen your caregivers for safety? A responsible, credible home care agency in California always conducts a thorough screening and background check of their caregivers before sending them into a client’s home. In addition to Home Care Aide (HCA) mandated certification and Department of Justice fingerprinting and background checks, the best home care agencies go further by screening for DMV driving records, drug-testing, and strict minimum-age requirements.

2. How do you train your caregivers and verify their skills? Caregivers should have a solid foundation of training such as how to use mechanical lifting equipment, basic knowledge of how to support clients living with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease and how to assist with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming, and hygiene. Ask if the caregivers are tested on scenario-based skills and if any personality tests are conducted to check for temperament under stress or condition-related situations, like “sundowning.”

3. What’s your performance record for on-time arrivals and no-shows? How promptly do you communicate schedule changes to your clients? Ask your home care agency how it manages late arrivals and last-minute cancellations by its caregivers. Does it guarantee a caregiver replacement? How does it communicate with clients and how often? What is its policy if there is an ongoing tardiness issue with a caregiver?

4. How do you manage caregiver performance? The best home care agencies genuinely care about the quality of their caregivers and client satisfaction. Ask how the agency motivates its caregivers to provide the best care and client experience. Does it value and know its caregivers’ track record and does it truly care about continually training its caregivers to ensure it has the best talent? Assessing personality and chemistry with clients is also important. And if there is a performance problem, what’s the process for addressing and solving it promptly.

5. How do your caregivers communicate with each other about a client’s condition during shift changes? Your parent or loved one will likely have more than one caregiver to staff weekly schedules. Ask your home care agency how each caregiver will be notified of a client’s daily condition, how that information is communicated to other assigned caregivers to ensure seamless care, and how families are notified—how often and when.

Finding the right caregiver can be a less stressful experience if you know the right questions to ask. Most home care agencies care deeply about their clients, so initiating a conversation at the start about what’s most important to you in finding the right caregiver can make all the difference.

Looking for care for a family member? Honor can help you find the right caregiver quickly. If you’re an agency owner, we’d love to tell you about our partnership program and how we can support you and your business.