We understand that providing care for a loved one can be stressful. Shouldn’t hiring home healthcare services help relieve stress, not add to it? The following list was compiled to help you when hiring. First there are a few things you should consider, following that is a list of question to ask a potential agency.
Things to consider:
1. Reputation: Ask around. Ask your hospital discharge planners about any agency you are considering. Ask doctors, nurses, etc. Many of these places will even provide you a list of agencies to consider. It also wouldn’t hurt to stop by a senior center to ask around, or inquire at government services such as NH’s ServiceLink. Ask specifically about more than one agency for comparison purposes.
2. Check out their website: The agency’s website should be thorough, informative and professional.
3. Ask to have information sent to you. Any reputable agency should have brochures and other materials available for you to look at. These materials which will give you insight into the company, should answer some of your questions and should appear professional and well thought out.
Questions to ask a home healthcare agency:
1. Is your agency licensed by the state? The states of New Hampshire and Maine require homecare agencies and NH requires independent caregivers to be state licensed.
2. Will you take care of all required payroll paperwork for my parent's caregiver and are your caregivers all employed by the agency?
The states of New Hampshire and Maine both consider you an employer if you independently hire someone to work in your home. There is a large amount of paperwork involved in being an employer which covers such matters as taxes, Social Security, workers comp. and disability. One benefit of hiring an agency is that an agency normally does this for you. Still, it never hurts to double-check, agencies do exist who use independent contractors as caregivers.
3. Do you conduct drug testing on your caregivers?
The states of New Hampshire and Maine do not require drug testing for home healthcare workers. Many homes in which home healthcare services are provided contain controlled substances, therefore we believe drug testing should be a vital part of the hiring process for any home care agency.
4. What kind of background check do you conduct on your caregivers?
Having peace of mind that your loved ones are in good hands is vital when hiring home healthcare services. The state of NH requires criminal background checks but not motor vehicle background checks. We believe motor vehicle background checks to be important because often home healthcare workers provide transportation for their clients.
5. Are your employees insured and bonded?
The state of NH requires insurance of homecare agencies, but not bonding. However, insurance does not cover theft, bonding does. Also, not all liability insurance is the same, you could even ask the agency for a copy of their policy or ask what their liability insurance covers.
6. What types of pre-hire screening do you conduct on your employees.
You should find out as much as possible about an agency’s hiring process before hiring them. All Abundant Blessings Homecare employees are required to complete an online screening prior to hire.This screening was put together by a third party and it tells us a lot of information about a potential employee. Through this screening and our other hiring procedures we are able to maintain our standard of excellence and only hire the best.
7. If at any time my loved one needs more hours of care (ie: 24 hour a day), or if a caregiver should call in sick do you have the staff for coverage? Any agency you hire should have enough staff to cover these situations should they arise.
8. What is your policy regarding sending a caregiver to my parents home whom my parents have never met? It is not safe for an elderly person to be answering the door to total strangers. An agency should have a policy in place regarding the meeting of new caregivers.
9. What kind of supervision do you provide? Once a caregiver is placed in your loved ones home, ongoing supervision of the caregiver needs to be provided.
10. What kind of service agreement is required? What are your minimum number of hours?
11. What is your method for tracking a caregivers arrival and departure from a clients home? The agency should have a system in place for this.
12. What are your hours of operation, how are phone calls handled during odd hours?
13. Do you provide a written plan of care which clearly describes any rates and fees? The state of New Hampshire has requirements which must be on the plan of care. The plan of care should be thorough and well explained to your family.
14. How soon can you start services?