Five things that families should consider when hiring a caregiver to ensure a safe and optimal care experience for their parents or loved ones:

Important Questions to Ask Your Home Care Agency

1. How do you screen your caregivers for safety? A responsible, credible home care agency in California always conducts a thorough screening and background check of its caregivers before sending them into a client’s home. In addition to Home Care Aide (HCA) mandated certification and Department of Justice fingerprinting and background checks, the best home care agencies go further by screening for DMV driving records, drug testing, and abiding by strict minimum-age requirements.

2. How do you train your caregivers and verify their skills? Caregivers should have a solid foundation of training, such as how to use mechanical lifting equipment, basic knowledge of how to support clients living with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, and how to assist with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming and hygiene. Ask if the caregivers are tested on scenario-based skills and if any personality tests are conducted to check for temperament under stress or condition-related situations, such as “sundowning.”

3. What is your performance record for on-time arrivals and no-shows? How promptly do you communicate schedule changes to your clients? Ask the agency how it manages late arrivals and last-minute cancellations by caregivers. Does it guarantee a replacement? How does it communicate with clients and how often? What is its policy if there’s an ongoing tardiness issue?

4. How do you manage caregiver performance? Ask how the agency motivates caregivers to provide the best care and client experience. Does it value and know its caregivers’ track record and does it continually train caregivers to ensure it has the best talent? Assessing personality and chemistry with clients is also important.

5. How do your caregivers communicate with each other about a client’s condition during shift changes?Your parent will likely have more than one caregiver to staff weekly schedules. Ask the agency how each caregiver is notified of a client’s daily condition, how that information is communicated to other assigned caregivers to ensure seamless care, and how families are notified, how often and when.

Finding the right caregiver can be less stressful if you know the right questions to ask. Initiating a conversation at the start about what’s most important to you in finding the right caregiver can make all the difference.