Picking the right at-home care provider for your elderly loved one can be quite a challenge. It may feel like a daunting task that requires a lot of time researching your options before coming to a proper conclusion. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 7 questions that you should ask a home care service provider before enlisting their services.

  1. What services are you capable of offering me?

One of the biggest questions to ask is what services the home carer is capable of offering. Many basic home care services will take care of personal needs such as helping you wash, get changed and clean your home, but there are also specialised services that may require a bit of extra knowledge to perform correctly and safely. This could include anything from cooking meals for you every day or helping you connect with relatives and friends with the help of technology such as social media.

It’s vital that you first start by writing down a list of your personal needs and what you expect from home care services. Then asking if the service is capable of meeting those needs, or even doing a bit of research yourself by looking at their website or brochures. 

Remember that starting a conversation with the carer is often the best way to learn what services they can offer and to see how confident they are at offering those specific services. 

If you’re unsure what kind of services you need, then letting the carer know about your condition is a great way to see what kind of help and assistance they can provide you with.

2. What kind of experience do you have with clients with my conditions and needs?

Not every elderly home care service is going to have years of working experience in the field. It’s a good idea to ask them bluntly about how much experience they have in the industry and if they have any experience dealing with your specific condition. You want a home care provider that is not only experienced but also confident that they can provide the assistance they say they can.

If they don’t have any experience with your exact condition then ask around and contact multiple different home care agencies to see which service is best suited for your needs.

An experienced carer who has worked with different clients is going to have far more experience and will know how to take care of your needs. However, it’s also perfectly fine to hire a carer with little to no experience as long as they have a reputation for taking good care of their patients.

Home carers are going to get very close and personal with you, so you’ll want to be paired with a carer that matches with you in terms of attitude, personality and potentially even lifestyle choices. This will help you reduce potential conflicts.

Other special needs that could be considered include cultural, language or even religious reasons. Having a carer that can speak and read in your first language may be ideal.

3. How long has your agency been in business?

A common and often very important question to ask is just how long the  agency has been in business. This is often directly related to how much experience the agency has in working with different clients and can speak volumes about how the company works.

However, it’s good to keep in mind that the quality of care received from a home care company isn’t always related to how long they’ve been in business. Some newer home care agencies are worth using due to their impeccable services, perhaps older home care services may have grown complacent, resulting in poor quality of service. 

It might not be the most important quality of a home care service, but it’s a useful question to ask regardless. The way the home care agency answers this question could have a drastic effect on how trustworthy they seem. Ensure that you read testimonials and reviews about the business and their services, these can often be found on Google reviews.

4. Do you rely on contract workers for home care or do you train and employ your own staff instead?

There are still many home care services that use third-party or freelance carers instead of employing and training their own. This is a strategy still used by both large and small home care agencies. For smaller companies, it gives them a wider reach without having to use their own employees, and for larger companies, it gives them the ability to take on more client requests and jobs. However, the quality of care that they can offer may drop significantly.        

For a much more personalised and understanding home care service, it’s vital that the home care provider employs and trains its own staff. This allows the company to maintain consistent quality across all of its services and to reduce the potential for inconsistency. This also helps to ensure that the carers that are assigned to you will be vetted and insured to avoid future complications.

A home care provider should be committed and flexible to adapting to clients’ needs

5. Will my family members and I be able to have a say in the way you carry out your services?

A key to offering an excellent home care service is providing flexibility. Instead of feeling like you need to pick a home care provider based on what they can offer you, the focus should be on your personal needs and the provider adapting based on what information you offer them. 

As a result, it’s often extremely important that you and your family members and friends have a say in how the service is carried out. The more people involved in this process, the more accurate and relevant the information will be. This will allow the home care provider to change their services and adapt depending on what the best options would be for the client in question.

A home care provider should be committed and flexible to adapting to clients’ needs and offering a variety of options in order to meet those demands. 

5. Will I be paired with the same carer or multiple different ones?

Home care services rely heavily on the bonds and relationships that you build with your carer. However, many carers cannot commit to a completely 24/7 service, so there might be occasions where you’ll be assigned a different carer for a couple of days due to rotation of shifts and holiday periods. It cannot be guaranteed that you’ll receive home care from the same person forever.

It can be challenging working with several different carers over a short period of time. High-quality care services often have no choice but to assign two or more different carers to you. The good thing is that they’ll usually adjust their home care services to take this into consideration. For instance, if there’s a new carer assigned to you, then they’ll request that your old carer shares information about you so that your new carer can quickly fit into their role.

7. What methods do I have available to pay for your services?

Lastly, it’s important to consider the payment options you have available. Everyone has their preferred payment methods and you may be able to receive financial assistance from government bodies and authorities. The financial help available to you will vary greatly depending on your personal circumstances and you might find that the cost of high-quality home care is lower than you’re expecting.

Ask the provider if there are options to reduce or split the cost. Consider all available options to ensure that you can comfortably pay for the service and that you take advantage of all the cost-saving measures available. 

Finally, if you’re considering the option of home care in the future, then keep these questions in mind because they’ll help you better understand the home care services and the type of people that work for the agency. 

Home care services are a long-term investment and it’s vital that you pick the right service from the beginning so that they can truly support you and help you to live a comfortable and carefree lifestyle.

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