How To Hire A Home Care Provider

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Approximately 7.6 million Americans receive long-term care in their own home or the home of a family member. "People clearly prefer to receive care in the familiar surroundings of their own home," explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, the industry's professional organization. "Home care is also considerably less expensive than care in a skilled care facility."

Home care services can range from $14-to-$28 per hour notes Jennifer Tucker, Vice President with Homewatch CareGivers, a national provider of homecare services. "On average, individuals from the general population use 20 hours of home care each week for about six months," she explains. "Those with long term care insurance use 13 months of care, on average, at about 20 hours per week."

Many families work with home care agencies when seeking a home care worker to care for their spouse, parent or family member. "One of the benefits is that they do the screening for you and have added protections in place," Tucker adds. Here are five important questions that consumers should ask of a prospective service provider:

Do they provide a written document that states the rights and responsibilities of the client, and explains the company’s privacy policy and code of ethics? Do they triple-screen their caregiver employees carefully, including use of reference checks, driving records and criminal background investigations?

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Does the agency mandate ongoing training of its employees to continually update their skills? Does the agency manage all payroll and employee-related matters and adhere to state and federal guidelines in its employment practices, such as withholding appropriate taxes and providing workers’ compensation and other benefits?

Do they also use independent contractors? If so, who employs the person and what type of background checks do they do on their employees? Also, who pays the mandated taxes and withholdings?

To read other important questions to ask a prospective home care service provider, read our prior article Five Questions To Ask.

"A great way to find quality home care providers is to speak to a knowledgeable long term care insurance professional," states Jesse Slome. "If they've been in the business for a few years, they likely have clients who are receiving care."

For additional information on home care for long term care needs or to find local long-term care insurance professionals, visit the online Consumer Information Center from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance www.aaltci.org.

Written by Jesse Slome
Executive Director of AALTCI
This page is updated on April 18, 2013.

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