Home Health Care: What to Look For

November 19, 2016

As more elders choose home health care over a nursing facility as they age and begin to require supervision, family members strive to hire the most qualified caregivers for their loved ones. It can be difficult finding a qualified person for this important job. The following criteria may be helpful when looking for a senior care provider.

Certification.

Working with a health care agency helps to reduce the stress and effort needed to find a professional elderly caregiver. Although many families do not need to hire someone as qualified as a registered nurse, they want someone who has a home health care certification or diploma that indicates professional education and training. Agencies recruit and screen employees for this purpose, as well as often bonding and insuring their employees.

Experience.

Hiring someone with experience means that the home health care provider understands the needs of elderly patients and has successfully worked in this type of position already. It is reassuring not to have to explain everything about an elderly loved one’s care and daily needs when hiring a person who knows what to do.

References.

Obtaining employee references is helpful in determining a prospective caregiver’s competence and capabilities. It is always a good idea to contact the references with prepared questions that will help to evaluate the caregiver’s reputation and experience.

Public records.

Searching online for the employment agency or the name of the prospective caregiver may reveal interesting facts. For example, an agency like the Better Business Bureau might report complaints that have been addressed, or not. Civil criminal records are usually available to the public when searching under the appropriate municipal court dockets. Social media browsing often turns up evaluation sites for medical or health-related organizations, and Facebook may reveal personal posts, praise, or complaints about the agency or employee.

Skill.

Assessing the skill of a hired caregiver can be handled in many ways. The home health care agency has presumably completed a background check on each employee, as well as checked references. Education and certifications, licenses, or diplomas should also be verified. Previous employers should be contacted to confirm employment dates and duties related to senior care. Family members should also interview a prospective caregiver to get a sense of the person’s fit for this particular position. Personality traits such as compassion and empathy may be desirable, along with punctuality, responsibility, and accountability.

Bringing a stranger into the home of an elderly person to provide daily care and monitoring can be challenging. The caregiver should be honest and trustworthy, fully able to perform the duties being assigned. Take precautions when hiring a caregiver for your loved one for the best possible outcome.