Most older Americans want to remain in their homes as long as possible. For growing numbers of elders – and concerned family members – this is only possible with the help of a home care aide. As we discuss in another article, there are two basic types of aides and two ways to engage one: either through an agency or hiring one yourself.
If you hire through an agency, ask questions to screen and vet the agency.
Then, use the following questions to interview the candidates they suggest or those you have found on your own:
- Can you provide me with your full name, address, phone number, social security number and current photo ID so that I can run a background, including credit, check? (If interviewing an agency candidate, request contact information only.)
- Can you (your agency) provide me with copies of current documentation related to personal insurance, bonding, workers' compensation, and current health status (TB test, immunizations, etc.).
- Can you (your agency) show or provide me with current documentation related to specific services and assistance (dementia care, CPR, etc.) you are trained/certified to provide?
- Tell me about your experience as an in-home aide – how long you have been providing care, previous work situations, etc.
- Can you (your agency) provide me with references related to past clients and employers.
- Why did you leave your last position? (If they have not left this position, ask how they plan on coordinating schedules.)
- What are your expectations if I hire you?
- What hours and days will you be available?
- What hourly rate do you expect, and how do you expect to be paid?
- How do you like to get feedback and suggestions?
- What do you like and dislike about home care?
- Situation-specific questions related to specific issues, such as ability to prepare culturally appropriate foods or competency in the older person’s language, should also be asked.
(Based on information from interviewees and How to Care for Aging Parents, pps. 155-161, and The Caregiver Helpbook, pps. 177-181.)
Two United Hospital Fund guides provide tips and strategies for a good interview and meeting the challenges that may come with employing a caregiver in the home, too:
- AARP: Needs Assessment Checklists
- Family CaregiverAlliance: Hiring In-Home Help
- National Institute on Aging: There’s No Place Like Home – For Growing Old
- Caring Connections: Caring for Someone
ElderCare 911: The Caregiver’s Complete Handbook for Making Decisions, S. Beerman, MS, MSW and J. Rappaport-Musson, CSA (2008, Prometheus Books).