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Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Home Care Company

picture credit: ElderCareABC blogWhen you hire an in-home health care/home care worker from a Home Care Company rather than hiring a caregiver independently, you usually work closely with company staff instead of job applicants. These questions can help you navigate the agency hiring process.

For more detailed information please check out our previous blog post "Hiring a private elderly care agency vs. an independent caregiver"



1. Will you take care of all required payroll paperwork for my parent's worker?

    A significant amount of paperwork is involved when employing anyone, covering such matters as taxes, Social Security, and disability. One plus to hiring from a home care company is that it will usually do this for you. Still, it never hurts to double-check; you are dealing with your loved one that needs care after all. Ezra Home Care takes care of all of the required paperwork.

    2. Are you Medicare certified?

      Medicare certified agencies are eligible to be paid through Medicare, the government's health coverage for people over 65. To become Medicare certified, an agency must meet federal standards for patient care. Ezra Home Care is a private pay company; we accept Long Term Care insurance but not Medicare. Often times we supplement care to a Medicare client.

      3. Can my parent and I interview candidates and give input on the selection of the caregiver?

        The more control you and your parent have over choosing a home health (caregiver) worker, the better you'll feel about the caregiver. Agencies approach this differently, so you'll need to ask. Ezra Home Care works to ensure that we find a caregiver that matches our client’s personality.

        4. What kind of background check do you do on your workers?

          It's increasingly common for employers to do criminal background checks on potential employees. Since trust is critical when hiring someone to help your parent in a home setting, these checks are valuable screening tools. Ezra Home Care conducts thorough background checks (including criminal, sexual abuse, driving record, communicable diseases etc.)

          5. Do you check your workers' driving record and driver's license?

            If you need someone to drive your parent, even occasionally, it's important to know what kind of driver you're getting. Car insurance requirements, by the way, differ state by state. Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see what's required in your state. And if the worker will be driving your parent's or your car, check with the insurance company to find out how to include new drivers. Ezra Home Care checks all of our employees’ driving records.

            6. Are your workers bonded?

              If someone is bonded, the caregiver is basically insured, and your parents will be covered if the caregiver accidentally breaks the washing machine.  Bonding coverage varies, so ask for details. It's a level of reassurance that can make a positive difference and provide piece of mind. Ezra Home Care provides bonding for all of our workers.

              7. Do you provide any training for your workers?

                If so, ask the agency whether training is done once or on an ongoing basis. Ezra Home Care provides ongoing training to our workers. Our training includes cultural sensitivity training, memory loss and complex medical care training.

                8.  Are the healthcare workers your employees or independent contractors?

                  Some companies function more like job referral services, linking independent workers with jobs rather than managing their own employees. With independent contractors, you'll likely be required to do more paperwork and supervision. It's a good idea to be clear about this from the start. Ezra Home Care’s workers are all our employees.

                  9.  What kind of supervision do you provide?

                    Does the company check in with its workers daily or weekly? Is someone available to provide expertise or extra assistance if needed? How often do the workers receive training? Ezra Home Care developed a constant communication system; we require our caregivers to check in with the office several times a day and keep detailed notes on every client.

                    10. How do you handle a worker's sick days, vacation days, and holidays? Will you automatically send a replacement worker?

                      Will you automatically send a replacement worker? Everyone needs breaks and time off, especially home care workers, whose work is physically and emotionally demanding. Find out how agencies cover for worker absences and what information may be required from your end. Ezra Home Care provides great replacement caregivers that are familiar with each client case.

                      11.  What's the turnover rate of your workers?

                        Do you think they like their jobs? Do you offer benefits? It's always hard to know if you'll get an honest answer, but it never hurts to ask. A simple truth prevails: People who are happy with their work make better employees. See if you can get a reading on this. We are proud of the fact that Ezra Home Care’s turnover rate is 3% compared to the industry standard of about 40%.

                        12. How do you handle conflict between a client and worker?

                          It helps to know how much support you'll get from an agency should a conflict arise -- and it probably will. Does the agency mediate conflicts, and if so, how? Is it flexible about changing workers if things don't improve? Ezra Home Care works tirelessly to ensure that there is a careful client and caregiver match.

                          13. Do you have customers I can talk to about their experiences?

                            Ask for several references. This is one of the best ways to get a sense of how an agency performs over time.

                            14. Do you accept payment from insurance companies?

                              If your parent has, say, long-term care insurance that pays for the cost of in-home care, you'll want to make sure the agency accepts this kind of payment. If not, you're probably better off using one that does. Ezra Home Care accepts long-term care insurance.

                              References: Caregiverstress.com and Ezra Home Care

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