What to Ask An Agency
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Questions To Ask When Using A Homecare Agency
It pays to be ultra-cautious before you bring any stranger into an elderly person's home. Using a care agency may make you feel somewhat more secure. But there are still several questions you should ask before you hire an elder home care agency.
If the answers you receive make you uncomfortable in any way, then trust your instincts and interview another agency.
- How Long Has The Agency Been In Business? Running a home care agency is a complicated business. New agencies are less likely to have the necessary know-how or the experienced employees to cover your needs.
- Is the Agency Licensed? Licensed home care agencies will be monitored by the licensing agency. They will have to adhere to strict guidelines about who they hire and how they do business.
- What Insurance Does The Agency Carry? Some home care agencies carry little (or no) insurance. A good agency will be willing to send you proof that they have Professional and General Liability Insurance, Workers' Compensation Insurance, and Dishonesty Bonding for their employees.
- How Does The Agency Screen Employees?Thorough background checking is mandatory. Doing a local background check on someone who has recently moved from another state isn't enough. Does the agency routinely do drug screens? How does the agency verify that an employee has the skills she says she has? How many references does the agency check, and how far back do they go?
- What Is the Employee Replacement Policy? If you are unhappy with a home care agency employee, what is the agency's policy? The agency should guarantee that they will work with you until you have the right person on the job. If an employee doesn't show up for work, does the agency have someone who will immediately come to fill in, day or night?
- What Are The Agency Fees?What is the hourly rate for the kind of assistance you need? What is the minimum number of hours the agency requires you to use per day or per week? Is there a discount if you use more than a certain number of hours in a week or a month? What is the maximum number of hours an employee can work in one day or in one week? What will cause the fees to go up? How much notice do you have to give if you wish to discontinue services? Will you have to pay a deposit? How much?
- How Does The Agency Monitor Employees?Does the agency have a system for verifying that workers arrive and leave when they should? Does the agency work together with you to prepare a written care plan? What system does the agency use to communicate with employees about changes in the care plan or other issues? Does a supervisor visit employees on the job? How often?