Top 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Home Care

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posted by Ryan Whittington on August 31, 2011

Choosing quality care for aging relatives can be one of the most important decisions any of us will make.  We want our loved ones to be comfortable but also safe and well cared for.  Senior home care services can be the answer for many consumers. These services allow seniors to stay comfortably in their own homes but also provide for qualified professionals to visit regularly to ensure quality care.  There are five important questions anyone should answer before hiring a service:

  1. Are the workers employees or independent contractors of the service?
    In general, employees will have a higher level of support from the service company and often more stringent rules governing their actions.  That doesn't mean you should rule out independent contractors, many healthcare professionals make their living as contractors, but you'll want to carefully interview the service about how contractors are managed and supervised, and if there is a case load difference between employees and contractors.
  2. Is the company bonded and insured? 
    You are hiring a company to have its employees in and out of your relative's home, often when you are not present.  It's important to protect you, the company and the employee to ensure that the company is bonded and insured.  You can feel more comfortable about the employee entering your relative's home when you are not there and possibly having a key when this protection is in place.
  3. How does the agency choose the assigned caregiver?
    When choosing senior home care it's important to consider the needs of the senior. Does he or she have specific medical requirements for which the care specialist should have specific training.  What about personality compatibility?  You are hiring a service not only to look after a senior's medical care but also to make him or her more comfortable.  The right caregiver can make all the difference in how your loved one responds to the care.
  4. Does the company provide a plan of care?
    You are hiring a service and its employees for their expertise.  They should give you a detailed plan of how they plan to care for your loved one.  It doesn't matter if your senior home care needs are short or long term, a caregiver should have a clearly defined plan to follow.
  5. Does the company have a service agreement that clearly spells out terms and conditions?
    Ultimately, you are signing a contract with a company to provide services and like any business agreement you will want to see all of the requirements, terms, conditions and carefully review them before moving forward.

Hiring senior home care may prove to be a significant expense so its also important to protect yourself.  And it goes without saying, you'll likely need to involve yours (or the senior's) health insurance provider in the evaluation process.

Hiring someone to help take care of a loved one is a big decision, but by following these simple tips, you can find a caregiver that will take excellent care of your loved one, and you will be able to enjoy the time you spend with your senior more.

Post Tags

Advocacy and Education, Caregiving, and Case Management
  1. Scott


    July 20, 2017

    I’m glad that you suggested finding a company that has a specific plan for care. I have been looking for home care for my father, but I don’t know how to choose a service. I can see how it would be good to find a place that has a detailed plan, so mistakes are less likely to happen.

  2. Callum Palmer

    Callum Palmer

    March 21, 2018

    Not many people would think about it, but I like that your article encourages readers to ask how the caregiver is chosen. After all, you want to make sure that your elderly loved one will end up with a caregiver that you know you can trust. However, to ensure this, you need to know how the caregivers are picked and if you can request one specifically.

  3. Earnest Watkins

    Earnest Watkins

    March 23, 2018

    I appreciate how you mentioned that you should choose a home care service that is both bonded and insured. My wife and I are looking into homecare for my wife’s mother. We haven’t ever had to look at homecare services before, but we’ll make sure to check for licensing and insurance to ensure my mother-in-law gets the best care possible.

  4. Ava Murphy

    Ava Murphy

    May 15, 2018

    The best part of your blog for me is when you talked about the importance of choosing a home care agency that’s insured and bonded to give you peace of mind about the safety of your house and your loved one. My sister is looking for an in-home care agency for her husband. She is mostly at work, so it’s crucial for her to find a home care agency that she can trust with regard to her husband’s welfare, so I will make sure to share your tips with her.

  5. Ava Murphy

    Ava Murphy

    May 21, 2018

    It got my attention when you suggested finding out if the home care agency that you’re interested in assigned caregivers to their clients based on their specific training and requirements. My best friend’s mother has dementia. She wants to find an at home assisted living company that can provide her caregivers that specialize in handling dementia patients to make sure that her mom is going to be taken care of in the best possible way.

  6. John


    June 22, 2018

    The best piece of your blog for me is the point at which you discussed the significance of picking a home care organization that is safeguarded and attached to give you genuine feelings of serenity about the wellbeing of your home and your cherished one.

  7. Rhianna Hawk

    Rhianna Hawk

    September 25, 2018

    It’s good to know how an agency chooses the assigned caregiver, I agree, particularly to ensure that my mom gets someone that she can get along well with personality-wise. My mom can get somewhat blunt when she’s having an episode (she has dementia) and I want someone who can handle being around that without becoming offended or hurt by her words. It would be great if they had something of a dark sense of humor as well, though just having a specialist with dementia training would be just fine.

  8. Charlotte Fleet

    Charlotte Fleet

    June 07, 2021

    I am glad you mentioned the importance of hiring a caregiver for your home that is properly insured and bonded so you can trust them. My mom and aunt are hoping to find a great home caregiver for my grandma to make sure she is okay since she lives alone. I will make sure that they look into the insurance and licensing of a caregiving service before they hire one.

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