There are many things to consider when choosing a homecare agency. From knowing what questions to ask to learning about the specific caregiver who will be caring for your elderly parent, hiring the right homecare agency involves some research and legwork. Be careful not to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to background checks, the expertise of the caregiver, etc. Just because a caregiver comes from an agency does not mean he or she is trained and trustworthy.
According to a study performed by the American Geriatrics Society:
• Only 55 percent of agencies actually perform a background check
• Only a third of agencies perform drug tests-though all claimed to
• Only a third tested their caregivers for competency-though they all claimed to
• Supervision was rare-ranging from none to once a week
By being an educated consumer you can ensure that the homecare agency you hire is reputable and protects your loved one emotionally, physically, and mentally. There are trustworthy agencies that do perform standard drug tests, competency exams, and background checks, and these are the agencies you want to investigate further. In addition, there are things you should look at to see how thorough the agency is and how much concern it puts into finding the right caregiver for your loved one.
Reputation and History
Being a large agency does not necessarily mean that the company is reputable-it may just mean it works in volume. Instead, look for a homecare agency that has been in business long enough to establish a strong reputation in the community. Get references from the agency and ask physicians and other people you trust for recommendations they have for homecare agencies in your city.
Just because you are hiring an agency does not mean it has good practices when it comes to recruiting. Ask the homecare representative you speak with about how the company finds its applicants-such as newspaper advertisements, staffing agencies, etc. Secondly, inquire about the homecare agency’s hiring requirements by asking:
• What minimum education is acceptable?
• What previous experience is acceptable?
• How many years must a caregiver have in previous positions to qualify?
• Does the caregiver need a license or certification?
Before you hire a homecare agency, make sure the company you are considering screens its candidates. Does it perform criminal background checks-both federal and state? Does it perform a drug screen?
Once hired, how does the homecare agency determine if the caregiver is capable of the duties he or she will be performing? Does he or she have frequent supervision and training? Most reputable agencies will provide hands-on training, including CPR and first aid.
Lastly, make sure the agency you hire is insured and bonded. To become bonded, the agency has to provide background checks, drug screen results, education history, and meet other requirements to receive its bonded certification-thus proving the company is reputable.
You want to enjoy the experience when hiring a homecare agency. You want to trust the company, especially since its caregivers will be coming into your home. Make sure the agency you hire allows you to assess multiple caregivers and gives you the option to switch caregivers if you determine they are not a good fit for your loved one. Most importantly, make sure the agency assigns one permanent caregiver to your loved one so that he has a companion and a long-term relationship with them-rather than a mixture of strangers each week. how to find a caregiver