Year-round 24 hour in-home care costs on average about $4,000 a month ($48,000 a year). But most special needs adults can get by with temporary or part-time daily support – or adult day care. It is by far the cheapest solution for the same quality of results, costing approximately $18,200 per year on average. So how do you choose the right home care provider, whether on a long term or temporary basis?
Get These Questions Out of the Way
To begin with you want to get certain questions out of the way that are simple and straight forward. That includes:
- How long have you been an in-home health care aide?
- What are your credentials and work history (and any of the aides that you use if dealing with an agency)?
- (If working through an agency) May I see the aide’s references and insurance or bond certificate?
- Do you have reliable transportation and are you yourself reliable and dependable?
- Are you trained in CPR and to provide basic medical care like first aid?
These questions along with whether or not the agency or aide you are interviewing has experience dealing with a special needs adult in the same situation as you or your loved one (who is autistic, for example, or in a wheelchair) are fundamental. Beyond the basics, here are 5 of the most important questions to ask that you may not have thought about.
The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask When Interviewing In-Home Care Providers
You want an aide who is caring, professional, and dependable. How do you know for sure if you have the right team in mind unless you give them a trial? But why would you put you or your loved one at risk with someone who may or may not be up to the task? You shouldn’t. Asking the right questions can help you narrow down the field to the right person for the job.
1. What Are Your Most Pressing Outside Obligations?
Do they have to pick up kids by a certain time after work or is there someone who can do that for them? Are they themselves caring for an elderly or special needs adult and may be called away at a moment’s notice?
The purpose of these questions is not to pry but to be sure that your care provider is giving you or your loved one the best care. That means if something terrible happens while they are on the clock, like if your loved one has to be rushed to the hospital, you want to know that your provider will be able to go with them and bill you for the overtime rather than leave you or them alone waiting on someone to meet them.
2. What was the Most Difficult Situation You Have Ever Faced as an In-Home Caregiver?
You want to know that whoever you choose can be calm under pressure. Anything can happen – there’s a reason why you’ve chosen to hire home aides. But you want to know that if something unexpected, tragic, or dangerous happens, that whoever is taking care of you or your loved one can handle things in a crisis.
Asking about a real incident (since you want someone with experience first and foremost) where they had to use quick thinking helps get to an honest answer. If they don’t have an example of experiencing a crisis, ask them what kind of crisis scares or worries them the most and how they would handle that situation.
3. How Do You Feel about Doing These (List These and What You Want) Chores:
Not all in-home care providers are certified nurses who can take vitals and recommend medicines. Just like a non-medical in-home care provider is not a maid or butler. It is important to know what all is included when it comes to both medical and non-medical services. Particularly since long term in-home care is usually non-medical make sure that you get a good feel for whether or not your care provider will truly be okay with handling any or all of these chores:
- Housekeeping – Not all home health providers offer this service and keep in mind that the ones that do are usually not providing deep daily cleaning like a separate cleaning service would. This service is usually light house work like vacuuming, cleaning the tub, and washing dishes – not steaming carpets and painting walls.
- Errands – Some elderly and special needs adults are very active and largely independent but maybe can’t get around so well. Will you be okay going shopping, picking up subscriptions, walking around the grocery store, and going to Dr.’s appointments? If they seem uncomfortable or impatient, it may not be a good fit.
- Can You Cook? – This is a more important question than most people realize. Meals on Wheels gives free meals to seniors over 60. But boxed and frozen dinners don’t offer the kind of nutrition that many special needs and elderly adults need. The best option is home-cooked meal preparation. Again, not all home health care services provide meal preparation. They may provide meal delivery or go shopping but the difference is huge. Food security for newly released hospital patients results in a big reduction in readmission rates and better long term recovery.
- Can I Trust You with Money? – Some home health providers like Hands from Heaven even offer money management services. You want to use a service that is extremely trustworthy and credentialed to handle a loved one’s or your money. Most leave this up to a trusted relative but if you don’t have one, make sure that if the service provides financial management that they are reputable and able.
4. Does care-taking include talking and spending quality time?
Beyond chores and errands what most special needs adults need is help with the little personal things. They need someone they can talk to every day. They need someone who can get them out and moving around safely. They need someone who can help them stay clean and keep their hygiene on point – a huge factor in overall good health.
They also need someone who will show up every day on time and make sure that they are eating and taking their meds. Make sure that whoever you choose has a caring spirit about them when they answer this question and not just a professional one.
5. How Do You Feel about Me (or My Loved One)?
Most people would be embarrassed or at least hesitant to ask someone what they thought of them or their loved one, but it is a very important question. The 30% of home caregivers who use a service professional are trusting a basic stranger to take care of someone who is vulnerable and needs help with a lot of things from cooking and bathing to shopping and housekeeping.
If you like a person, you will be more inclined to do those things in a loving and caring manner. You want your person to be comfortable enough to be open and honest with their care provider and you also want the provider to be comfortable and at ease. Don’t be afraid to ask the uncomfortable question – it just might save you from a bad breakup down the road.
We Go Above and Beyond at Hands From Heaven
At Hands from Heaven, we do a lot of things that other home care agencies do not. We provide homemaker services as well as personal care for special needs adults. We assist with respite care and supported living patients. We offer non-medical transportation, adult day care support, and we even provide financial management.
Our dedicated and certified team of CPR and First Aid skilled drivers will take you to get your meds, pick you up from the hospital, drop you off at the airport, take you grocery shopping, and even take you to play Bid Whiz or Bridge!
Would you like to know more about our services at Hands for Heaven? Browse around our site or stop by for a visit – click here for directions to our facility. Did you know that we are hiring? Check out our Facebook page for more information and to submit an application!