Handling all of your loved one’s needs on your own can become increasingly difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Finding the right home care assistance for your aging relative can offer them the support they need and bring you peace of mind.
You want your loved one to receive the best possible care, but trusting an outside party with these very personal responsibilities can be challenging. Family caregivers often take it upon themselves to vet potential agencies, but how do you know what questions to ask home care providers and what red flags to look for?
This list of 25 interview questions can help you gather basic information about a company’s services and gain a deeper understanding of its dedication to quality senior care and customer service.
Interviewing home care agencies: What you should know in advance
When beginning your home care search, keep the following in mind:
Different agencies have different intake processes. Some companies will conduct the intake process for new clients by phone, while others may prefer to schedule a face-to-face meeting to discuss your needs and their services in detail (fees may apply).
It’s a good idea to interview multiple agencies. Before hiring, compare and contrast agencies until you find the right fit. Consider your loved one’s personality and interests in addition to their senior care needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Any reputable home care agency should be willing and able to answer these queries.
It’s never too early to start searching for home care. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to begin interviewing home care agencies, especially if your loved one has comprehensive care needs or their health is declining. Some agencies may have waiting lists or periods between assessments and starting care.
AgingCare is here to help. Don’t know where to start your search? AgingCare can help you find the best home care agencies in your area. A trained Care Advisor will discuss your needs and help you find local options at no cost to you.
Basic business questions to ask home care providers
Understanding a company’s business practices and qualifications can help you ensure they’re committed to supporting and protecting their clients and employees. Ask these questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you provide references from previous clients or referral sources?
- Are you licensed to provide in-home care? (if applicable in your state)
- Are your caregivers employees of your agency (not independent contractors) and covered by workers’ compensation insurance?
- Are your caregivers bonded?
- Do you have business liability insurance, and are you willing to share a copy of your insurance certificate?
Care management questions for home care providers
Knowing how an agency assesses a client’s needs and schedules care can offer insight into whether they’ll be a good fit. Ask these questions:
- Do you create a personalized care plan for each client? Who’s involved and what does this include?
- How often do you evaluate and update a client’s written plan of care? Who conducts the ongoing evaluations and updates?
- Do you offer specialized care that matches my loved one’s specific needs (e.g., dementia, Parkinson’s disease, mobility assistance)?
- How do you communicate with clients and their family members regarding any issues, concerns, or recommendations?
Caregiver selection and training questions
Finding a caregiver who’s knowledgeable, trustworthy, dependable, and friendly will help you and your loved one feel more comfortable with this new care arrangement. Ask these questions:
- How do you recruit and select caregivers?
- Do you conduct background checks? If so, what kind? What’s your policy regarding hiring employees with charges or convictions?
- Do your caregivers attend orientation and receive ongoing training?
- Do you conduct periodic supervisory visits to evaluate caregiver performance?
- Can I interview individual caregivers, or do you handle assignments?
- How do you match your clients with caregivers?
Company policy questions to ask in-home senior care providers
Understanding how a home care agency operates can help you set realistic expectations and feel better prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Ask these questions:
- If I have an issue or concern, such as a no-show or late caregiver, who will be my point of contact?
- What’s your backup plan when a regularly scheduled caregiver isn’t available? How do you provide last-minute coverage?
- Is a member of your staff available outside of normal business hours for emergency situations, or do calls go to an answering service?
Billing and cost questions to ask home care agencies
Confirming whether an agency’s rates are compatible with your family’s financial situation is a key factor in the decision to hire home care. Ask these questions:
- Do you require a minimum number of hours or shifts per week? If so, what’s the minimum?
- Do you offer a free in-home consultation or charge a fee for the initial assessment?
- Do you charge different rates for nights, weekends, or holidays?
- How often do you bill, and what forms of payment do you accept?
- Do you require a deposit for services?
- Do you accept long-term care insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid? If so, do you bill insurance directly, or do clients pay you and then file for reimbursement?