Issues to Consider
Covering the bases.
Write a list of questions for the prospective employee or agency. Also, having a job description will reduce surprises and “I didn’t know you needed me to do that.”
Be clear about your expectations, needs, salary, time off, communicating with family members about the kind of caregiver you want.
Hiring on your own:
- Ask interviewees to bring or email a list of their work history, including names, dates and contact information as well as at least two references. You’ll also want to see their proof of identity, ideally a Social Security card or driver’s license or photo ID. Let them know you plan to do a background check. (Your local police will know how to proceed.)
- When possible, have your family member participate in the interview.
- Ask them about their work experience. Have they taken care of anyone with dementia, let’s say, or seniors who needed help with personal care? Are they comfortable with someone with mental health issues? Do they have special training (CPR, dementia)?
- Learn why they left their previous job. If it was as a home aide, what did they like and not like about the work and that particular position? If they are still working at another place and plan to continue, discuss how will coordinate schedules so that job won’t impact yours.
- Find out why they want to work in this field, why this job and what their expectations are for the position?
- What hours, days and holidays can and can’t they work? Do they have an upcoming vacation, time-off plans, or other obligations with their own family?
- Do they have questions about the job or my family member?
- Are they open to a two-week trial period (if that’s something that appeals to you)?
- Make sure they’re comfortable with specific needs your mother may have. Does she only eat a certain kind of food, speak a different language, or have physical or cognitive issues?
Using an employment agency:
- Ask them if they have a minimum number of hours; most agencies require you to book at least 4 hours at a time.
- Make sure your family gets a clear estimate of the full cost of care per week to ensure you can afford the care.
- How do they vet workers? What does the background and reference check include? (There is one, right?) Do they do drug testing? If the person will be driving your parent, has the agency checked the worker’s driver’s license and driving record? What kind of car do they have? (If they will use yours or your Mom’s car, ask your insurance company if they should be included on your policy.)
- What is your training process?
- Who oversees the caregiver? Are there follow-up visits, for example, to make sure the care is good? How does the caregiver communicate with them so they know what is going on? How will the aide communicate with you?
- Do they do a free needs assessment and if so, is it done by a nurse? Is there a custom care plan?
- Are their workers independent contractors or employees? (It might be less work for you if they are employees.)
- Are they bonded? Do they pay workers compensation and unemployment insurance?
- Are they Medicare certified?
- Do they handle all payroll paperwork relating to the worker?
- If your parent has long-term care insurance, does their company accept payment from his company?
- Do they give you a choice of candidates?
- Ask for the names of a few clients with similar needs who have used their agency.
- How do they handle conflict between a worker and the person or family?
- When the worker gets sick or takes holidays or other days off, do they find a replacement?
- What does their service agreement have in it?