By Deborah L. Shelton, Chicago Tribune reporter
August 12, 2012
In addition to checking whether an agency is licensed by the state health department, consumers should ask other questions before a paid caregiver comes into their home. Northwestern University researchers have put together a checklist of questions to ask:
• How does the agency recruit caregivers, and what are its hiring requirements?
• What types of screenings are done before a caregiver is hired? A federal or state criminal background check? Drug screening? Something else?
• Is the caregiver certified in CPR? Does he or she have any other health-related training?
• Is the caregiver insured and bonded through the agency?
• Does the caregiver have the skills you expect? (These could include lifting and transfers, homemaking and personal care such as bathing, dressing or toilet assistance, among others.)
• How does the agency assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?
• What is the agency's policy if the regular worker cannot provide the contracted services? Will a substitute be provided if you are dissatisfied with a particular caregiver?
• Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis? How frequently?
• Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in-person at the home of the older adult?
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