Home care is now needed – for you or someone you could care for – and you have decided to contact a local agency rather than hire someone yourself. Daily tasks like shopping for groceries, cooking, bathing, laundry, and keeping up with home maintenance is too much to handle.
Hiring a professional caregiver to come into the home means that you are going to be dealing with a lot of new people coming and going from here on out. The only consistent relationship you will have in this process is the one you establish with the owner of the care agency as well as the manager assigned to your case.
1. Before you contact the care provider, define the role of the helper. Include gender preferences. What specific help is needed? Make a list.
2. Ask the care agency the following questions:
- How do you screen caregiver candidates for a good fit?
- What is the process for informing me of changes in caregivers?
- What is the procedure if caregivers arrive late or not at all?
- Why do you think this person is well suited for the job?
- Are home-care services covered by insurance?
3. You do not have to hold a face-to-face interview initially. Job screening over the telephone is appropriate. If the applicant sounds acceptable, then schedule a meeting. Consider having another family member or friend to sit in and offer a second opinion. Ask each caregiver candidate the following questions:
- What makes you interested in this kind of work?
- Where did you work before and why did you leave that position?
- Why do you think you are well suited for this job?
- What special skills do you bring to the table?
- Do you have any physical needs that might hinder you in this job?
- How will you let me know if you will be late or cannot show up for work?
4. Make it easier for the caregiver to integrate into existing relationships by creating a family tree:
- Describe the capabilities of the person needing the care.
- List immediate family members. Include names and ages of siblings, children, and grandchildren
- Make a list of close friends and neighbors
- List relatives – aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins
- Names of pets
- List any estranged relationships and ex-spouses
There are a lot of moving parts to the professional-caregiver hiring process. What I am offering in this blog are the basics so as not to overwhelm you more than you already are.
For a more comprehensive version of what to do and questions to ask before hiring in-home professionals, you may want to pick up a copy of my book, The Complete Eldercare Planner.