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10 Questions


Chris Foster, Certified Senior Advisor, Exec. Dir., LivHome, Atlanta, GA

The most important aspect of choosing the right company to care for a loved one in the home is doing your research upfront.  You want to make sure the senior will be given high-quality care.  You also want to protect your loved one from theft, abuse, lawsuits and abandonment.  When you invite a caregiver into your home, that person becomes part of your family.  It is vital to know he/she has already been thoroughly checked by the home care agency and that the agency carries the proper insurance. 

This list of 10 basic questions to ask an agency will help guide you in the process to find the professional best suited for both your family member and for you.

  1. Is the agency licensed and in good standing by the state?
  2. Does the agency employ its own staff of professional Care Managers, personal care assistants, live-ins, homemakers and companions?  (Don’t rely on 1099 workers!)
  3. Are the agency’s W-2 employees covered by a workers compensation policy?  (Ask to see a copy of their policy; all reputable agencies will be happy to supply it.)
  4. Does the agency require written references and conduct national, criminal background checks, drug testing and driving record verification for employment?
  5. Is a TB test required upon hire and annually for all in-home staff?
  6. Does the agency have at least a $1,000,000 general liability policy? Does it cover employee theft?  (Ask to see it.)
  7. Is a thorough clinical assessment conducted by a professional geriatric Care Manager who has the education, training and experience to address both senior and family needs? Do they create a custom care plan?
  8. Are regular visits conducted by a professional geriatric care manager to the home to observe and supervise the client and caregiver?
  9. Are services provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  Is a 24-hour, on-call professional available if needed?
  10. Do they provide information, referrals and coordination of appropriate resources?

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