How long should I wait for an in-home care agency to call me back?

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I have been Mom's caregiver 24/7 at her house for 2 1/2 years. I have not had any help, I am with her every minute. I am behind on many things I want to do. I want to get someone in the house once a week so I can get out to get the car serviced, doctor appointments, etc. I have researched home care agencies. Last week I called the agency that was 1st on my list. I left a voice mail message. How long should I wait for a response before I move on to my second choice?

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John, that happened to me... I called the first place on my list and after few hours without a call-back I contacted the 2nd name on the list.... the 2nd name called back within 15 minutes. It worked out great, they were wonderful to work with and the caregivers were excellent :)

One thing good about using an Agency is if a caregiver is unable to come to the house for her scheduled work, the Agency will quickly find someone to fill in. What I had liked was that the Agency was licensed, bonded, insured, and had workman's comp for their employees, plus other benefits. They were expensive but well worth the cost.
Keep in mind that you are calling during the holiday season so service may be a little slow unless you are a client or considered high priority. I usually make a second phone call before writing any type of service provider off completely. And I see is no reason not to make calls to multiple agencies, that way you can get a feel from several before you make a decision.
John, keep calling. I too have priorities, but don't wait for one to return a call before calling another. Every time I call an agency, I learn a little bit more about what agencies can offer and what I need.

Their approach is often the typical helpful, cooperative, "we're the best", but if you can guide the discussion to some casual topics sometimes they're more relaxed and give you an insight into the way they run the business.

Last year I called 2 agencies, both well rated plus a new one in the area. The first conversation was very pleasant and encouraging, but I learned that some agencies are franchised and the different franchises aren't all equal.

That initial conversation was encouraging, but the franchise owner stated that a new franchise closer to our area had opened up and she needed to verify whether or not her franchise or the new one would have jurisdiction. A quick call to the other agency determined that the other agency probably would have jurisdiction, and would call me to discuss my needs.

That never happened. Bad, bad, bad way to start out a new franchised business!

I never called back. If she can't even call, I won't waste my time.

I'd call the second, third, fourth and more agencies now. You'll learn from each conversation and refine what you want and how to present it.

An example of that is that I learned from a few agencies that their weekly standards were minimum of a 3 hour visit, 2x weekly. I called another agency, recommended by someone in my father's church, and a brand-new start-up agency. I thought they might be more flexible b/c of just starting up.

Not so. Their minimum weekly was 20 hours per week, at a cost of $23/hour. I cut the call short, noted it on my checklist and moved on.
Companies vary. I have found that some places don't return phone calls due to poor communication on their part. Sometimes, their staff doesn't pass on the message. Also, they may be overbooked and have too much going on. They may not have the time to return calls. And, sometimes, it could be that it was an inadvertent error and your message was misplaced. I'd call them again at least two more times, but also speak with 3-4 places to get a feel for who they are, details of their services, prices, personality, philosophy, etc.

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