February 15

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Care Aide



The very first step to identifying the perfect home care agency is determining the level of care that’s needed. There are basically two main categories when it comes to in-home care solutions – skilled home care, which provides custodial and medical needs care. Custodial care could include environmental assistance or help with things such as meal preparation, shopping, housekeeping and such or personal care solutions such as feeding, bathing, and dressing. Some home care agencies only provide one form of care while others offer both. Different home care agencies may work in unison to provide the recipient with an integrated system of services.


The Different Types of Home Care Organizations Available

–              Hospices

–              Staffing and private-duty agencies

–              Home health agencies

–              Home care aide and homemaker agencies

Questions to Ask When Searching for a Home Care Agency

Once you’ve determined the most suitable type of home care option for your loved one and have several agencies you are considering, it is advisable that you take the time to interview and evaluate each agency for comparison purposes. Use this checklist to ensure that the home care agency you choose is the best for your loved one.

Does the senior care center provide literature that explains its fees, funding sources, eligibility requirements, and services? Most agencies furnish their clients with a comprehensive “Patient Bill of Rights” which outline the responsibilities and rights of the providers, caregivers, and care recipients. Annual reports and other educational materials can provide useful information about the service provider.

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How long has the home care provider been in the business of providing home care solutions?

Is the agency state-licensed?

Is it Medicare certified?

Can the service provider explain what insurance or Medicare will cover and what clients pay?

The care agency should have a well-established track record and should be able to provide you several references.

What home care solutions or services do they provide?

Does the agency offer some of the specific services that you need like occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.?


Can the service provider meet any of your special needs – e.g., cultural or language preferences?

How do they select and train their employees?

Does the agency perform background checks on all their staff?

Does the agency have any written benefits packages, malpractice insurance, and personnel policies? You are more likely to get a dedicated and committed aide if the company you choose carefully selects its staff and supports them with the proper incentives, policies, and protections. The extent of background checks varies from state to state.

Are therapists or nurses required to evaluate the client’s home care needs? If that is the case, will they consult the client’s family members and his or her physicians? It is vital that the different care providers serving your loved one have clear and effective communication; for instance, if your loved one’s doctor prescribes them physical therapy, all home care aides should work together to supplement this goal. A Medicare-certified care agency is required to have this kind of coordination.

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Does the care provider involve clients and their families in the development of a care plan?

Are they involved in the making of care plan changes?

Is your loved one’s treatment course documented, detailing all the tasks that are to be carried out by all involved caregivers?

Does the agency assign supervisors to supervise the quality of care clients receive in their homes? If that is the case, how often will these individuals be visiting?

Who can care recipients and their families call with complaints or questions?

How does the home care agency follow up issues and resolve problems? Understanding this will help ensure that the caregiver you choose delivers services correctly and responds to their client’s changing needs in a timely and professional manner.

What are the agency’s financial procedures?

Does the agency furnish written statements that explain all the payment plan options and costs associated with the solutions they provide?

What solutions and procedures does the service provider employ during emergencies?

Are the agency’s caregivers available 24/7? It is worth noting that not all home care solutions providers are available 24-hours a day or guarantee a replacement should the assigned aide fail to come.

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