Choosing a Home Care Services Agency – 8 important questions to ask
Choosing a home care services agency can be an incredibly daunting task. Home care is also known as domiciliary care, so you should ensure you look at both terms. Whilst it’s often a preferable alternative compared with residential care, it’s still difficult to find a company you trust with the care of yourself or a close relative. Therefore it is important that you get your home care assistance right.
Here we share 8 important questions to ask when considering a home care services agency to help you make the right decision for you.
1 – Does this home care agency specialise in the type of care I need?
Not all home care agencies provide ‘general care’ – and others offer a wide range of care types. But ideally you want to know that the people looking after you or your relative are specialists in their field. Perhaps your family member has Alzheimer’s, but the home care agency you’ve been considering specialises in physical disability. It’s always best to ask about the agency’s experience and enquire about specialisms, both as a company and concerning the skills of individual staff and carers.
2- Home care assistance – Will i get the same member of staff so that I can get to know the person looking after me?
It’s incredibly important that you and your relative feel comfortable with the person who will be taking care of you and providing you with your home care assistance – and whilst you might strike a rapport during a first meeting trust is often built over time. For this reason it’s preferable to have one or two carers who visit on a regular basis who you can get to know well. Familiarity is especially important for people with Dementia, as often it can be confusing and frightening to be visited several times a day by different people.
3 – The homecare services agency – Are they based locally or are they a national company?
There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing small, private firms and larger corporate homecare service providers alike. Some local homecare services agencies may have a more personal touch, whilst larger companies have a better understanding of a greater range of care needs and may have a broader range of services and resources available. Ultimately the decision is yours – and should be based on your personal preferences.
4 – Are there reviews online and testimonials available for this home care agency?
Reviews and testimonials are vital – this is your opportunity to read genuine feedback from people who currently use or have used a home care agency’s services in the past. Impartial review sites are always favourable compared with testimonial pages on company websites – as this way you get a clear, unbiased viewpoint. If you can’t find any reviews for a company this could be a sign that you need to steer clear.
You can find homecare services agencies in your area by searching our comprehensive home care providers database.
5 – Will I be offered a preliminary meeting before I make my decision?
You should always be offered a no-obligation, informal meeting with a representative from your chosen home care agency to discuss your care requirements and individual needs. They should expect to hear that you are considering several companies and shouldn’t push you into making a decision there and then. Instead you should feel listened to, understood and clear about what their plan of action would be going forward, as well as how you will access and pay for the care.
6 -Do I know anyone who has used this home care services agency themselves?
Word of mouth recommendations are always the best forms of feedback – so ask around (perhaps on social media or within your circle of friends) and see whether anybody you know has used the homecare services agency you’re considering. This way you’ll get honest feedback and may find a perspective you hadn’t considered before – which could make your decision much easier as getting the right type of home care assistance is important.
7 – Are the staff from this homecare services agency I am dealing with friendly, personable and understanding?
If you feel at all uncomfortable or that you haven’t been properly understood or listened to in the initial stages of your enquiry, this doesn’t bode well for the standard of home care assistance you’ll receive. Staff should always be friendly, polite and accommodating.
8 – What does the CQC have to say about this home care agency?
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) assesses all home care agencies, just as it does with residential care homes. You can find ratings and details of previous assessments on their website. Here is a short video expelling more about the CQQ.