Choosing a home health care provider is a very important decision in your life (or the life of your loved one). There are many things to consider, all of which can affect your happiness, safety, and quality of life. Every company and individual that provides home care brings a different personality, skill set, and care philosophy into your home, and it’s important that you do your homework to ensure they’ll meet your needs. Here are six things you should be looking for, and this is a bare minimum. For a much larger checklist, visit www.careforce.ca/checklist).
- Do they have the ‘basics’? First aid, CPR, WHMIS, and Food Handler training are the very least you should look for in terms of your caregiver’s training. You should also ask for verification of a valid criminal record and vulnerable sector check.
- Do they bring any ‘extras’ to the table? You should also check to see if your care provider has any training (if needed) in personal care, Alzheimer care, and palliative care. The provincially recognized Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) certification would cover all of these.
- Are they insured or covered by Workers Compensation? The last thing you want is to be liable for your caregiver’s on-the-job injury or – in extreme cases – negligence. Be sure to examine your care provider’s coverage carefully.
- Do they have reliable references? If you’re hiring a home care agency, be sure to check out their Better Business Bureau rating (free online). Be sure to also call at least three references.
- How much will they charge you, and when? You need to know how much you’re expected to pay and when you’ll be billed, and you should demand transparency. Do not trust a care provider that won’t issue clear invoices and receipts, and who demands to be paid only in cash. Be sure to demand a clear cancellation policy as well. You don't want to be stuck paying for care you don't need.
- Does their personality match yours? It is so important that you have a caregiver you can bond with and feel comfortable being around. Sit down for tea with them first before committing to having them as your caregiver.
- Are they willing to do things the way you want them done? It is so important that your caregiver is willing to do things the way YOU want them to be done. For example, if you want your towels folded a certain way, then that’s the way they should fold them. If you prefer dinner at 4:00pm, it shouldn’t be made at 5:30pm. A great caregiver understands your preferences and respects them.
Always remember that you deserve the very best care. So take your time, ask the right questions, and only choose a caregiver once you’re ready.