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When Hiring a Home Care Agency, What Should You be Asking?

By Heather Brown
July 27, 2015

The importance of hiring a quality home care agency when you or a loved one needs long-term care can’t be overstated. With so many to choose from, finding the right one will take some research.

But experts like the Mayo Clinic say that knowing what to questions to ask during the hiring process can make all the difference as you search for the best agency.

Here are some the questions you should be asking – as well as what you should be looking for as you hire a home care agency:

Most states require that agencies be licensed and reviewed regularly. Is the agency you’re researching licensed? It’s also possible that reviews of the prospective agency are available through the state health department.

Ask if the agency is Medicare-certified and meets federal standards for health and safety.

It’s also important to ask questions about the agency’s staff. How are employees screened? Are they covered by Worker’s Compensation? Is there continuing education for employees? Are they employed by the company or independent contractors? Can the agency provide references?

Questions you can ask about quality of care often overlap with those you’ll have about home care agency employees. But you’ll want to know how the employees are trained, supervised and staffed. Does the employee have a positive attitude and is helpful? Most importantly, are you and your loved one comfortable with the caregiver?

It’s important to ask for literature which explains the agency’s fees and services. Is the agency covered by health insurance or Medicare? Check to see what your own health insurance offers. Also, ask if the agency offers financial assistance or a payment plan.

You’ll want to know if the home care agency offers a written care plan prior to the time services begin. Ideally, it should be a comprehensive plan containing specific care needs, equipment involved, and input from the doctor.

Also ask whether the agency has procedures in place in case of emergencies. Of course, you’ll need to know when the services can begin.

In short, by taking due diligence prior to hiring a home care agency you’ll avoid a lot of potential pitfalls later. Asking the right questions can ensure that you or loved one will receive the best care at right price.

2 Replies to “When Hiring a Home Care Agency, What Should You be Asking?”

  1. It’s good to know that most states require home care agencies to be licensed and reviewed. How would you go about finding out if your state requires this? I’m curious since my wife and I are looking into the option of home car for my mother-in-law.

    1. Thank you for your comment Finley. You can always find out if your state requires home care agencies to be licensed and reviewed by going to your states health and human services website.

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