For seniors and other folks who need support to live at home, finding the right mix of home care services can mean the difference between autonomy and dependence.
That’s why it’s so important to choose the highest quality people to support you.
But how can the average person screen highly-trained health professionals, especially in a world with “disruptors” entering the home care space?
The good news is that no one can stop you from asking questions, and any agency that doesn’t provide thorough answers is waving a red flag saying “buyer beware”.
Two areas in particular where you need trustworthy information are around qualifications and safety & security. We’re publishing posts that cover each topic, starting with qualifications.
Asking about qualifications isn’t just about understanding an agency’s basic standards. It’s also an opportunity to ask about specialized skills that meet your particular needs.
Here are four questions we think you should ask:
1.What are the minimum requirements you require to add home care staff to your roster?
The answer to this question will give you a baseline regarding their post-secondary education and licensing requirements.
You can also use this information to see if the rest of the answers are consistent with their baseline.
2.How does your company verify credentials?
Look for employers who require their staff to provide proof of their diploma or degree, as well as any specialized certificates they’ve earned.
They should also be confirming the credential was granted by an accredited institution.
3.What training requirements do you have for your home care staff?
Here you’re looking for basics like CPR and First Aid., as well as skills that are specific to your particular needs, like mobility assistance.
You’re also looking for in-house training that ensures staff are familiar with internal policies and procedures as well as relevant legislation.
And don’t forget to consider management training. The tone of their responses will show how much experience they have operating within a complex health-care system.
Do they come across as an agency that will take responsibility for problems that may arise, or the kind that passes the buck and blames their staff?
4.Do you provide professional development and training for the staff on your roster?
A commitment to providing professional development that ensures their skills are up-to-date is another answer to look for. It shows an understanding that investing in their staff is necessary to provide continuous quality care.
It also gives you the opportunity to let a home care agency know they could be missing a particular skill set that a prospective client needs.
There are no cookie-cutter solutions
So consider the answers to these questions to be a starting point.
Any successful home care plan starts with a thorough assessment from a licensed health-care professional who will link you to the right mix of services to help you stay at home for as long as possible.
Because the last thing you want is a home care provider who doesn’t know what they don’t know.
* Stay tuned for our next “buyer beware” post about safety and security.