How to Select a Home Care Agency to care for your Family Member

Caring for seniors in their homes is becoming a very popular business; and one that is expected to grow as more and more people continue to age. But how do you find a good Home Care agency?

Having owned and operated Wake County’s oldest Home Care agency, and being a certified trainer for the State of North Carolina’s DHSR, we know a little bit about what differentiates a good Home Care agency from a bad one.

1) Don’t just make sure they have insurance, ask for a copy of it! Every business owner in America can and should have a copy of a Certificate of Insurance. It details what insurance they have bought for a given period of time. Insurance a Home Care agency should carry is: Professional and General Liability, Workers Compensation, Theft or Bonding, and Hired and Non-Owned Auto.

2) How long has the agency been in business? Believe it or not, we’re still running across new things after 12 years of helping seniors. Nothing can replace experience! As an example, the longer an agency has been in business, the more established and trusted staff they have. They’ve weeded out the employees that “no call/no show” for a case, and are in a position to send out only trusted employees.

3) Does the owner of the agency give you their mobile number? Since we provide care to seniors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year, my employees and clients may need to contact either myself or my Director of Nursing at anytime. Do they answer it? Test it a couple of times at various hours of the day, and see what happens. If you leave them a message and they don’t call you back; that’s very indicative of the type of service you’ll receive from them in the future.

4) You get what you pay for! Believe it or not, we are not getting rich charging our clients $20/hr. for services we provide. The margins in this line of work simply are not there. And we run a VERY lean agency. So, when someone says that they’ll only charge you $14 an hour versus our $20, you’re going to get what you pay for in service and in the employee they send to you.

5) Ask for referrals. We are MORE than happy to give both existing clients as well as previous clients that will vouch for both our employees that provide care as well as our commitment to customer satisfaction. The mere fact that the agency is willing to hand of references for you to call says a great deal about their agency; follow up and call those references!

6) How many clients do they have? Believe it or not, bigger is not always better. We’re a boutique agency; we only serve 30-40 clients at any one given time. Why, because it allows us to get to know each of our clients, their families, and their needs. I also know each employee that I am scheduling with the client. When it comes to Home Care, smaller really is better!

7) Who does the scheduling at the agency? While I hate to make blanket statement, I will say that “schedulers” and business owners have different priority sets. Having employed schedulers in the past, if the scheduler couldn’t find a fill in for a sick caregiver, they still received their paycheck all the same. In other words, if a scheduler couldn’t fill a shift, it was no skin off their nose. At Helping Hands of America, I do the scheduling. Raleigh is a small town, and I have a vested interest in making sure that my employees are there, day in day out. I can’t afford to have my professional or personal reputation smeared due to an employee dropping the ball.

8) Does the Home Care agency use a telephone log in/log out system; or a Telephony system? Every day, our employees call our Telephony system at least twice a day, to log in and to log out. If they don’t log in by a given time (normally 15 minutes after their shift was to start) the system both e-mails as well as texts a message to the office. We can then proactively call both the client and a replacement aide to get the shift covered.

Caregiving is a tough job, and is hard on the caregiver. That’s why Home Care agencies are in the business they are. However, not all Home Care agencies take it as seriously as other do so that’s why it’s up to you to do as much research on them prior to bringing them into your home.

Author:.

For the past 12 years, Gavin Densmore has owned and operated Helping Hands of America, Wake County NC oldest Home Care / Senior Care agency.  Helping Hands of America provides in-home care, between 2 and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  We're the only Home Care agency in the state of NC certified by our licensing board to train other Home Care agencies.

3 years ago, upon prompting by our licensing board, we started Home Care Seminars, a training organization ...

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