Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Caregiver: Why Price Per Hour Should Not Be Question #1
When searching for affordable, quality in-home care for yourself or a loved one, you may not know what questions to ask home care providers. Often, a person makes the call for home caregivers reluctantly, and probably not with a lot of previous experience. One of the first questions many callers ask is “what is the price per hour?”. Choosing home caregivers on price per hour alone may cost more in the long run.
First, it is important to know about the different types of Florida home care agencies and home caregiver regulations. You can read more about Florida home care options in our blog post, and view the Florida Health Care Agency’s chart about various home care provider types. Choosing a private home caregiver means you are serving as the employer and taking on a lot of risk in terms of liability in the event of an injury or incident. You should also understand the home care agency’s background check requirements, training and supervision for caregivers. As a private home care employer, are you going to perform a background check, how will you ensure the person is adequately trained to handle special needs and what provisions will you make for oversight and backup for care needs?
Second, it is important to understand some of the questions to ask that are equally important to price/hour. We have provided Five Tips for Finding a Quality Home Care Provider as well as Question and Answers to Consider in Choosing a Home Caregiver. Apply the same techniques that you might when searching for a medical specialist to treat a life threatening condition. Ask about special training, find out about the agency’s experience and training program, learn about their long term commitment to the field and the community and ask to hear about how they have helped others in similar caregiving situations.
Third, talk to the home care provider about how they will put together an affordable home caregiving plan for you. What total costs can you expect? What can they accomplish for a certain cost/amount of time? We often share with our clients some examples that better illustrate the value of home care services by explaining what our home caregivers can provide in a block of time. For example, in three hours, the caregiver can prepare a meal, complete laundry, make the bed with fresh sheets, assist with a bath and help organize the pantry and throw away out-of-date items (this list is customized to the client’s needs).
Some other questions to consider in the overall affordability of your home care options: “Will the home health agency assist with long term care paperwork/claims?”, “Does the agency provide (and pay caregivers for) training/continuing education?”, “How does the agency screen and hire caregivers?”, and “How does the agency ensure oversight and backup so that you have care in place when needed?”.