9 Questions Your Home Care Agency Doesn’t Want You to Ask

9 Questions Your Home Care Agency Doesn’t Want You to Ask
Dominique Curtin, 2/5/2017
Are you utilizing the services of in home care from an agency, and still have some unanswered questions? Finding in home care for your loved ones is no easy task, and it is wise to be prepared with questions for your provider whether you have started services yet, or are still researching. Remember, you are interviewing the Caregiver for your loved one AND the company the caregivers are associated with. Ever wonder what home care agencies don’t want you to ask?
  1. Can I interview multiple Caregivers? Many local providers only have a handful of available caregivers; regardless of the type of care that you need. There is a tendency to want to match you with their most available caregiver INSTEAD of their most QUALIFIED. If you are dealing with a specific, chronic illness (i.e. dementia) ask your provider to identify their most qualified dementia caregivers, have them provide resumes, credentials and experiences. From there, interview multiple caregivers to determine your best fit among qualified applicants.
    • HomeCare.com identifies and refers the most qualified caregivers per a family's needs and requests; but it does not stop there! The family can interview up to three different caregivers before deciding. Still not happy with those three? Let us know! We would be happy to refer additional caregivers for you to interview until you find a caregiver you are completely happy and comfortable.

      Helpful hints for interviewing a caregiver
  2. Can your provider offer resumes, references and reviews? (The 3 R’s). In 2016, the average agency caregiver had between 1-2 years’ experience. Many providers promote how long their company has been in business, instead of how much experience you’re in home caregiver has. The turn-over rate for caregivers annually is about 60% forcing most local providers to be constantly hiring and training new personnel. By reviewing work history, caregiver feedback, and references, who have worked with this caregiver previously, you will be able to identify the most reliable competent, and experienced caregivers in your market.
    • One of the biggest differences between HomeCare.com and agencies is that the caregivers in HomeCare.com's network have approximately 8 years’ experience. HomeCare.com also does extensive screening to assure families have the “best of the best options” to choose from.
  3. What is the agency’s plan for back up resources? Even the best, most reliable caregiver may have car trouble, encounter inclement weather or have an emergency come up. It is important to understand the capabilities of your homecare provider to understand their plan for back-up care. Do they have access to a large pool of qualified caregivers who can be redeployed to your case in the event of an emergency? This is especially important for clients (i.e. those who suffer from dementia) who cannot be left alone. All families should identify an emergency plan that includes family members, neighbors, friends and additional provider resources.
    • With a caregiver network of 30,000 (and growing!) HomeCare.com has access to a large amount of back up resources. Given the case of an emergency for the caregiver, upon your request we are ready and able to refer another qualified caregiver as a replacement.
  4. Compensation. Ask your care provider how much the caregiver earns per hour in compensation. Many families are shocked to learn that the average caregiver in the US earns $10.25 per/hour. Caregivers have one of the highest turnover rates of any industry (upwards of 60%!) mostly because their wages have not kept pace with inflation, and increases in other industries. This is resulting in the most qualified caregivers leaving agencies after 3-5 years’ experience in search of higher wages. Even the most qualified caregiver for the job, may not be working through local providers due to such a low hourly rate.
    • Caregivers referred to families by HomeCare.com set their own rates and often negotiate significantly higher fees with their clients. On average, caregivers earn $15 per hour (which is 40% higher than most agencies) and because caregivers have the ability to negotiate their own rates with clients, they stay active on our network for several years. Families still commonly pay a lower total hourly rate for careivers obtained through HomeCare.com, because our referral fee is lower than the markup that home care agencies typically charge.
  5. How does your provider credential caregivers? Most caregivers typically are licensed as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) or Home Health Aides by the state in which they work. In addition, local providers should supply customers with background checks, proof of insurance, references and a work history of the caregiver to the customer. See HomeCare.com's credentialing process
    Every professional caregiver HomeCare.com refers must pass a thorough background check. This screening process includes:
    • Social security number trace and verification
    • Federal and state criminal records, felony and misdemeanor verification
    • National sex offender registry check
    • Motor vehicle check in the current state of residence (if requested)
    • License/credential verification
    • Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS) Which searches any wrong actions of individuals and entities in the health care field
    In addition, we verify their licenses, and conduct a quality assurance review of each person’s profile prior to referring them to any family.
  6. How do I know if my caregiver is working the hours they are supposed to, and how can I get status updates on the services they are providing to my loved ones? Most providers will create a care plan listing activities and schedules for the caregiver on a weekly basis. Some providers use telephony or phone base solutions to have caregivers call in to confirm their arrival and departure times. Most require their caregivers to keep detailed notes for both completed activities and changes in condition. The latest trend is to have caregivers use their smart phone which includes GPS tracking, and electronic updates to keep you and your family members up to date on your loved one. This is particularly important if you are a remote family member trying to care for your loved one.
    • HomeCare.com has developed an exclusive app; which enables the family of the loved one and the caregiver to constantly stay connected with each other. It also features daily care reports – to show you exactly what work was completed, GPS Check In and Check Out – enables you toverify your caregiver has arrived on time and validates hours worked, and lastly (and most importantly!) access to care groups which allows all your family members to stay up to date with care provided.
  7. Can I get a caregiver who has experience with a specific chronic disease? For example, what if my loved one suffers from: type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, dementia, stroke, respiratory or heart issues? Because most home care providers employ caregivers with a limited set of experience, it is unlikely that they will be able to match your chronic condition with a specific caregiver. Most caregivers with this type of experience can get higher paying jobs outside of the home care industry.
    • Since HomeCare.com has such a vast and large network of caregivers (30,000 and growing!), we can refer a caregiver that is uniquely qualified to care for your loved one and who meets your other stated criteria.
  8. Is there different pricing for companion care, personal care or a higher skilled caregiver that might be needed to deal with chronic conditions? Most agencies will try to charge you one price, regardless of the service you need. The price of service should vary with the experience of a caregiver (more experience = more pay!) Unfortunately, even experienced caregivers are still under paid by most home care providers. This means, fewer qualified workers available and higher turnover. Once your loved one becomes comfortable with a caregiver, you will want to know that they will continue to provide services for the duration of care needed.
    • When you find a caregiver through HomeCare.com, you and your caregiver negotiate your caregiver's rate based on the exact services being provided to your loved one.
  9. Customer service response times – how quickly will your provider be able to respond in an emergency? For medical emergencies, clients should always be dialing 911 and not waiting for a return call from a care provider. However, for other situations; a late caregiver, missing caregiver, or schedule change, ask your provider what their response time will be. Especially if your loved one cannot be left alone! This may impact the health of your loved one, your ability to work, (or to focus on your many other responsibilities).
    • HomeCare.com has customer service available especially for emergencies that could arise. We are always here for your referral needs.
Dominique Curtin

Dominique Curtin

Dominique is the Digital Content Manager for HomeCare.com, a leader in the caregiver referral service industry. She has marketing expertise in the healthcare industry and has a passion for helping families connect with the best caregivers. In addition, she has helped lead several company's marketing programs across websites and social media platforms.