Hiring a Holiday Caregiver Part 1: What Questions Should I Ask?

Many people are not aware of the different types of caregiving services available in their area. These decisions are complex due to their sensitive nature and the financial commitment. Families are frequently faced with these decisions at this time of the year because they may be visiting their parents for the first time in months or they’re hosting them for the holidays. This is also a time of the year when rehabilitation facilities encourage their patients to return home to see their loved ones.

Recently, we sat down with Wilmington’s Well Care to discuss home health and home care services. Home health encompasses care that is provided to patients in their own homes, while home care is assistance with a patient’s personal care.

Below we’ve compiled some commonly asked questions regarding holiday caregiving and hiring help over the holidays.

What should I look for in a home health care provider?

Some topics you can research yourself to streamline your search and of course, there are agency-specific questions that any knowledgeable company representative should be able to answer for you.

For your own research, check out: http://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/. This government website is designed to help you understand the home health care providers in your area. It allows you to compare up to three different providers simultaneously based upon some predetermined criteria.

When speaking with a specific provider don’t be afraid to ask the following questions:

  • How long has the company been in business?

    • Just because a facility is brand new does not guarantee their care professionals are experienced.

  • Can the company provide references?

    • A good company should have a references page, contact information, or written literature they can provide a prospective client.

  • Is the company bonded AND insured?

    • This is necessary in most states and is extremely important in protecting everyone involved in the care process.

  • What types of employees do they hire? Are they contracted or full time company employees?

    • This is important because it gives perspective on what type of people will be providing the care.

    • All employees should undergo background checks and long term employees generally provide tailored care while building a trusting relationship with their patient.

  • Is the care program flexible?

    • Again, this is related to the transient nature of the situation. You want to make sure the care program and providers are able, willing, and equipped to adapt to whatever situation may arise.

  • Do patients or their families need to sign a contract?

    • Be cautious of companies that ask you to enter into a contract agreement for care. Home health care is very specific to often rapidly changing situations so you do not want to be stuck in a situation that does not provide the care you need.

We hope this question-guide helps with your search for home care or home health care! Be sure to check back for part II of this post series where we answer our readers’ FAQs about the caregiver hiring process.