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    Dementia Symptoms & Caregiver Strategies: Hiring Caregivers for Your Home – Questions

    When choosing a home care agency, there are a number of factors to consider. Use this checklist of questions when considering an agency.

    Operations

    • How long has the agency been in business?
    • How is the agency licensed or accredited?
    • Are the employees bonded and insured?
    • Does the agency offer a visit from a registered nurse prior to start of service?
    • What kind of quality control checks are made by supervisory personnel and how frequently are they made? Who is available if problems arise? Is 24-hour call-in to a registered nurse available?
    • What happens if an aide doesn’t show up?
    • Are there a minimum number of hours or days per week required by the agency?
    • Is there 24-hour care in case of an emergency?
    Staff
    • How long has the agency been in business?
    • What kind of criminal background checks are performed for prospective employees?
    • Are references checked? How many?
    • Does the agency provide employee job descriptions?
    • Are personnel files updated annually?
    • What kind of experience/certification do the aides have before they are hired?
    • What type of training does the company provide to employees? Does training cover Alzheimer's and dementia care?
    • Who pays the worker's social security or other insurance?
    • Is there a plan of care in writing for each client?
    • Will the same person be providing care on a regular basis?
    • Is a list of agency references available to check the level of client satisfaction?
    • Can I interview the employee (see question in next section)?
    • Is there a fee for this?
    • Does the aide have reliable transportation?
    • If you need specialized medical care, are employees licensed to perform it?
    Costs
    • What is the cost of the service?
    • Are there additional costs for weekends, holidays or at other times?
    • What is the billing procedure? Do you pay the agency or the aide directly?
    • Does the agency bill Medicare or other insurance directly for covered services*?

    *Costs for home care services vary depending on many factors, including what services are being provided, where you live, and whether the expenses qualify for Medicare or private insurance coverage. After talking with the agency, you will also want to meet and talk directly with the care provider.

    Questions to ask the individual care provider

    When choosing an individual home care provider, there are a number of factors to consider. Use this list of questions as a framework to ask the provider from the agency, or a provider you may be hiring independently.
    • How long have you been working in the field?
    • Do you have experience working with someone with dementia?
    • Are you specifically trained in caring for people with cognitive impairment?
    • What is your approach/philosophy to caring for someone with cognitive impairment?
    • Are you trained in first aid and CPR?
    • Are you with an agency?
    • Are you bonded (protects clients from potential losses caused by the employee)?
    • Are you able to provide references?
    • Have you undergone background checks?
    • Are you available at the times needed?
    • Is there a minimum number of hours you require?
    • Are you able to provide a back-up, if sick?
    • What type of help or care do you provide?
    • Are you able to manage our specific health and behavioral care needs?
    • Is there anything you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with?
    • What are your costs? (if independent)
    • Do you have your own transportation?

    Describe to them a typical day and some challenges that may arise. Have a conversation with the care provider about how they would go about the day and brainstorm ideas. Introduce them to the person you are caring for and see how they interact. Be sure to have ongoing discussions with the care provider and maintain a good relationship as you partner to provide good care.

    Cognitive Impairment can have many causes. The patient’s doctor should be consulted to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment options. But whatever the cause, the symptoms are often alike, and the Caregiver Strategies are often similar.

    The information in the resources listed above was compiled by the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center through clinical experience and commonly available published materials. For information on additional Caregiver Strategies, go to: cpmc.org/brainhealth.