Top 10 Questions to Ask a Home Care Agency

Not all home care agencies are the same. Know what questions you should ask a home care agency.

If you are considering hiring a home care agency for your home care service needs, it’s important to know that not all home care agencies are the same.  Here are the top 10 questions to ask when hiring a home care agency: Click The + To Learn More

1. Is the agency licensed by the State? +

The State of Oregon requires home care agencies to be licensed by the State. Selecting a licensed home care agency will assure you that it meets the minimum standards that the State requires to protect clients and their families.

Independent caregivers are not regulated in any way and are not required to meet ANY of the licensing criteria.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers is licensed in Oregon as a Comprehensive Home Care Agency

2. Are the agency’s caregivers bonded and insured? +

The company you choose should have professional and general liability, bonding, and Worker’s Compensation coverage in case of a mishap. Some firms have only minimal coverage, and some none at all.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers is fully insured and bonded.

3. How extensive are the agency’s criminal and background checks?+

Clients and their families put an enormous amount of trust in a home care agency who sends them a caregiver. You want to be sure that whoever is coming into your home can be someone who has been checked out thoroughly. Find out what background checks the home care agency performs on their caregivers, so there’s no doubt that they have done all they can to ensure that the caregivers they hire are of the highest moral and ethical character.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers uses OpenOnline, a NAPBS Accredited agency, and Criminal Records Information Management System (CRIMS) through the State of Oregon.

4. How qualified are the agency’s caregivers? +

Excellent caregivers are in short supply, and unfortunately, some agencies are satisfied to recruit anyone who shows an interest – giving them an hour or two of orientation and training and expecting that they are going to be able to get on with the tasks of caregiving. A caregiver can only be as good as the training she/he receives. Find out what orientation and training the company’s caregiving team is required to take. Learn what ongoing training is provided for the caregivers, and see if their knowledge matches the requirements for your care.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers places high standards on caregiver training and ensure every caregiver is properly trained for the tasks they are expected to do.

5. Will the same caregiver come to the client’s home on a regular basis? +

The last thing you want as a client is an endless parade of caregivers coming and going from your home. A good home care agency will keep the number of caregivers assigned to your care to a minimum. This is essential for the continuity of care and the comfort that comes with familiarity and routine.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers understands consistency, routine and continuity of care makes clients happy. So every effort is made to ensure our clients satisfaction.

6. How would a complaint or question about service be handled?+

A reputable agency will provide you with a detailed process for dealing with complaints or service questions. All clients should be given the agency contact person and phone number to resolve any concerns that may arise.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers includes very clear instructions in its Disclosure Statement & Contract for how clients can register complaints and grievances. Our clients’ satisfaction is important to us so we promise to deal with every complaint swiftly and without prejudice.

7. What procedure is in place to handle emergencies?+

As much as we try to prevent it, emergency situations happen. There should always be a plan for what a caregiver should do in the event that there is an emergency. Caregivers should be trained how to handle an emergency and supervisors should be available to respond to those emergencies.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers staff are trained how to act in emergency situations.

8. Can the agency provide printed materials describing service rates and fees?+

Any agency should be able to provide you with a written document outlining the rates and fees for their services, and how they relate to your planned care. Being up front about the cost of services will help avoid unpleasant surprises.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers provide a clear statement of charges on its Disclosure Statement & Contract.

9. Is there a clear plan so the caregiver will know what to do when they visit a client's home? +

A reputable agency will create an individualized plan of care for each client. The plan of care should be based on the input given by the client and family members during the intake assessment process. At the time the services begin, supervisors review the service plan with each of the caregivers to ensure that they understand what is expected of them each time they visit the client’s home. The service plan is updated periodically to make sure that it is meeting the client’s needs, and if there is ever a change in the client’s condition, the service plan is altered to address the changing needs.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers maintains current client service plans online. These service plans are availble for the caregivers to view at any time using a special app on their smartphones. The service plan details every activity that the caregiver is expected to do during each home care visit. Over time, the service plan will change with the changing needs of the client.

10. How does the agency select caregivers, and what kind of initial training and ongoing training do they provide?+

Older folks tend to be very trusting, so placing a caregiver into the home of a senior carries with it a very high level of responsibility. Therefore, the process of screening caregiver applicants needs to be as thorough and robust as the law allows. A reputable agency should have a very clearly defined procedure for hiring caregivers that includes personal and professional background checks, drug screening, national criminal background checks by a State-approved vendor, driving record check, background checks, and face-to-face interviews. All caregivers, regardless of their background, should receive at least a minimum level of company-specific orientation and training. Additionally, a continuing education program should be made available for all caregivers so they can continue learning and sharpening their skills and knowledge.

Hearts of Gold Caregivers goes over and above State requirements for the training of its caregivers. Our new caregiver orientation takes a full day. Initial caregiver training is 18 hours of online training. This is followed by hands-on personal care training and then a medications administration training conducted by our agency nurse.