If your loved one needs care from an in-home caregiver, you may have some research and interviewing ahead of you (or you can ask us to help you, of course). Undoubtedly, you will have some great questions to help determine who or what agency is the right fit for your loved one. When are they available? Will my loved one’s needs be met? How much will their services cost? These are all important, but in my experience there are critical questions which often get left out of this process. Their answers could be very helpful in making your decision. Here are 4 Frequently NOT Asked Questions that should be added to your list:
1. Are you insured and bonded?
Remember that your loved one isn’t the only one who could slip and fall. If a caregiver did injure themselves while providing in-home care, whose insurance would pay for their claim? Having an insured caregiver can shield your loved one from additional financial burden. Also, an agency being bonded gives protection beyond traditional insurance liability by providing an avenue to file a claim for work not performed or other offenses. This is why it is Archer Brogan's official stance to recommend licensed and bonded home care agencies for all care provided in the home. For more information on liability and choosing an in-home caregiver see my previous post on this topic: http://mercerelder.wpengine.com/home-health-agencies-and-liability
2. What training do your employees get?
When researching agencies or individual caregivers, find out whether the person you have if your loved one is going to be cared for primarily by a Certified Home Health Aide or by someone else. Ask what kind of training these employees receive on an ongoing basis, and whether they get any specialized training for dementia or other special situations. Knowing what training the caregivers have will help you determine if they are right for your loved one.
3. How many patients do the workers see in a day? In a week?
When hiring someone to spend several hours caring for your loved one, you may not realize that this person may have just left another 8 hour shift elsewhere. Hard work is commendable, but sometimes people stretch themselves too thin or are asked by their employer to take on too much. The extra hours take a toll, leading to burnout (so-called “compassion fatigue”) or just simple mistakes. With an agency, this could be caused by a staffing shortage which means the remaining caregivers are overworked with too many patients and responsibilities.
4. What is your staff turnover rate?
The rate of staff turnover can tell you so much about an agency. Think about a company you’d want to work for. If an employer has a high turnover, what does that tell you? Maybe the staff is underpaid or perhaps there are other management issues. It could be any number of factors, but it is a red flag that it might not be a great company to work for. Now thinking of your loved one, would they prefer to be cared for by someone who is battling any of these obstacles?
Another issue with high turnover is consistency. If the person working with your loved one is changing often, this could have a negative impact on their care. A person who knows what your loved one needs on a regular basis will be able to handle those needs more efficiently. This could otherwise create an additional burden on you, to continually retrain new caregivers.
If you would like assistance finding the right care for your loved one, Archer Brogan is here to help. We have an extensive network of trusted home care providers in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, and we can put you in touch with agencies we've worked with before and who can help you quickly and professionally.
Archer Brogan Can Help
For More Information Contact this office (609) 842-9200