5 Smart Tips for Choosing a Home Care Provider

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Posted by Eva Owens

Choosing a caregiver can be tough. This is an important relationship and it’s better to get it right than to rush into something that might not last. Are you a caregiver? Stay a while. This list is for you too, you can use this list to understand what’s important to clients.

Ask for 1-2 caregiving references.  Ask each home care aide that you’re interested in hiring for one or two references from their prior caregiving experience. Call the references and ask a few questions about situations that are important to you. Some good questions to ask caregiver references’ are: “Do you have an example of when they handled a difficult situation?” and “How would describe their cooking and cleaning skills?” What if the caregiver you’re interested in hiring hasn’t worked in home care before? No problem, simply ask for a prior work reference that can speak to their professionalism, service-related skills, and ability to communicate well.

Treat anonymous sites like Craigslist with caution.  Try to avoid anonymous websites, such as Craigslist. Anyone can respond to your ad on Craigslist and it’s hard to check references and employment history with the people you meet on these sites. Consider using a site like Carina instead. Carina is the only site in Washington state with verified individual providers and verified home care clients looking to find each other. You can message with providers before you share personal information, like where you live. You can trust that all providers on the site have already been contracted with DSHS.

Can the caregiver meet your specific needs?  Do you have a special diet? Or perhaps specific mobility or positioning needs? Do you need assisted transfers? Make sure to ask about a caregivers ability, willingness, and experience with any of your tasks that require special skills or ability.  

Get specific about your schedule and hours.  Schedules and availability can make or break a good caregiver-client relationship. Be specific about what you need and what you're flexible about. When you post a job on Carina, you can specify your hours and scheduling preferences. When a provider responds to your job, make sure to review your hours and scheduling needs during your phone and in-person interview.

Don’t forget to get authorization.  I know that you already know this, but I must say it again: Always remember that your individual provider must receive case manager authorization before starting work.

Want more tips?  Click here for AARP’s Tips on How to Hire a Caregiver and here’s an article from the Washington Community Living Connections page on hiring a caregiver.


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