We understand that it can seem a little daunting – and stressful at times – comparing and contrasting the best suited home care providers for loved ones, so we’ve put together a guide of the top ten questions that people looking for external help and support should ask potential providers, to ensure that they are making the right decisions and that their nearest and dearest are in the safest of hands.
How do you select your staff? it’s important that you know who is looking after your loved ones. How does the home care provider select their staff – is it based on a person’s experience in providing care, having the right attitude and caring nature, or neither of these?
What training and support do your carers receive? do they have any qualifications and accreditations relevant to the role, and is the company investing in them to help develop their expertise and skills? This can show a commitment to the continuous improvement of the quality of care that is provided.
Are you available during the evenings, weekends, and public / bank holidays? how and when will the home care provider be available to care – does this include evenings, weekends, and public holidays? Is there an additional charge for care on these days?
Will I receive regular carers? developing relationships with carers is important in ensuring an individual’s wellbeing, and swapping carers can cause uncertainty and leave the client feeling uneasy. In addition, ask what will happen if a usual carer is away or ill, and what will happen if they don’t get along with the replacement.
If there is a problem, what systems do you have in place to deal with it? how and when would an issue be dealt with, and what procedures do they have in place to ensure that they are kept to an absolute minimum? What happens if a problem occurs in the evening or at the weekend?
Do you have the results of the most recent client service satisfaction questionnaire? this can be a great insight into what people think of the services provided, as they have personal experiences. It may include opinions regarding the standard of care provided, the quality of care staff, the support from the office team, and how quickly issues are dealt with.
Will carers provide support with medication, and what processes are in place to ensure safety? it’s important to understand exactly what kind of support home carers are able to provide as many aren’t able to administer medication. What systems does the agency adhere to when assisting in issuing medication? Is a qualified person available to oversee medication support for the agency?
What are the cancellation fees? if a client goes into hospital or away for a period of time where they don’t require care, it should be established whether there will be any additional costs or surcharges applied.
Is travel time included in costs? what exactly are you going to be paying for – will it be a full hour’s care, or will the carer’s travel time be taken from the hour?
How will you advocate on my behalf? it’s good to ask the home care provider how they will ensure that personal choices and needs are met. Also, ask how they will communicate with family and friends, and how often this will happen. If there isn’t a family member nearby, will the care provider assist if they have to go into hospital?