Questions To Ask A Home Health Care Agency Before Hiring Them:

Have you ever had the experience of buying a product or service only to realize later that there were questions you wish you knew to ask up front? One of the advantages I have is that I’ve been through this process multiple times over the years and I’ve put together a list of questions you can use to have a shot at eliminating “buyers remorse.”

Who do you send for the initial in-home assessment?

Is it a skilled nurse? Is there a social worker?

Is this a free service? Will you be trying to sell me your services or simply recommending what I need?

How do you make sure your caregivers are nice, trustworthy and that I’ll be safe?

Do you screen your caregivers?

Does your agency conduct statewide police checks?

Is your agency bonded?

How much experience does your average caregiver have?

Does your agency hire experienced caregivers?

What sorts of tests do your employees have to take?

Do you have health and skills testing?

Did they mention Caregiver Code of Conduct™?

What happens if your caregiver doesn’t show up to my home?

Do you have a system for handling caregivers who don’t show up?

Who supervises your caregivers and how do you know they are doing their job?

Are the caregivers supervised?

How do you keep the family informed about what goes on during the day?

Does your agency have a policy for keeping the lines of communication open?

How do your hours and overtime work?

Will your agency accommodate the hours I need?

Does your agency take responsibility for overtime hours that I did not schedule?

What type of services do you provide?

What if I need skilled nursing or therapy?

When are your caregivers available?

Do you have around the clock availability?

Who handles unemployment, Workers Comp and other taxes?

Are you the employer?

All the above questions are very important to have answered before moving forward with a home health care agency.

Feel free to contact me and learn some of the stories behind these questions. My office number is 402-991-7399.

Because good decisions result from good information, this guide was created to help you evaluate home care agencies and make the best choice the first time. Please take 10 minutes to review the important elements that make up a good home care agency.


It is important that your initial in-home assessment is provided by a registered nurse and social worker – this
insures your medical issues, personal needs and desires are communicated by a professional.


When you hire a professional home care agency, you expect to receive quality care provided by a compassionate, empathetic and caring person. The real question; how do you make sure this will occur? Physicians Choice Private Duty screens caregivers for experience, skill and personality. To ensure caregivers are reliable and honest, extensive background checks, including statewide police checks, are performed on all new hires and we are insured and bonded. ESS also mandates drug screening upon hire and whenever there is a potential issue.


The very best agencies hire only experienced caregivers. To make sure your needs are met, Physicians Choice Private Duty recruits caregivers who have experience and are seasoned in attending to the needs of care recipients.


A good home care agency will test employees to assure their personal health, skills and capability. Standard testing for all Physicians Choice Private Duty employees includes competency testing, TB tests, pre-employment skills testing, and random drug testing.


Insist on an agency that incorporates training that focuses on core values such as attitude, character and respect. Caregiver Code of Conduct™ is a training and certification program developed to enhance caregivers’ skills in areas of social and client interaction. Physicians Choice Private Duty is proud to offer this training to their staff.


One of the most common problems that people have with the average home care agency is that the caregivers don’t show up. Choose an agency that has a system to handle the caregivers who cannot fill their shift. We pay bonuses for perfect guarantee all shifts. The state average is 78% of shifts being filled. Physicians Choice Private Duty staffs at 100%.


A good home care agency will provide field nurse supervisors who perform unscheduled supervision visits to help make sure that you are receiving the best care possible. The field nurse supervisor visit is also a good time to communicate any concerns you may find uncomfortable discussing with your caregiver. (If you prefer not to receive unscheduled supervision visits, be sure to tell the agency.)


For peace of mind you need an agency that has a process to keep you informed. Physicians Choice Private Duty’ caregivers keep careful notes of each visit in your home to provide a quick snapshot of their activities and are always available for review. Our staff is also trained to alert family members regarding any changes or concerns regarding the client, in addition to responding to clients’ or family members’ concerns.


Make sure the agency you hire will modify the schedule of your service — without financial penalty. Also ask about their overtime policy. Some agencies charge you time-and-a-half for any aide that is scheduled over 40 hours. Unless you specifically request additional hours from a caregiver that is already scheduled 40 hours for that week, the agency should be responsible for any overtime pay.


Everyone’s needs are different. Choose a homecare agency that can provide services for all your personal and unique needs. Physicians Choice Private Duty provides all levels of service from errands, shopping, light housekeeping to hygiene assistance, medication reminders, skilled nursing services, therapy and more.


The time of day you need assistance can vary from the middle of the night to very early in the morning, so make sure the agency can accommodate you any hour you need them. Physicians Choice Private Duty is available, mornings, nights, weekends, holidays, temporary or long term.


There are two types of home care companies; one is a registry that finds a person for you to hire. In this situation you are the employer and responsible for Workman’s Compensation, unemployment and other State and Federal taxes. To avoid being responsible for taxes, and the risk of a hefty Workers Compensation claim, only hire an agency (as is Physicians Choice Private Duty) who provides you with caregivers that are employees of the agency, and not working independently.

Digging through old articles in my inbox led me to this gem from Holiday Spy Kit: 8 Clues Your Aging Parents Aren’t OK

The 3 items that jumped out at me were:

Give a big hug.

Look for:

Obvious weight loss. Anything from depression to cancer to difficulty shopping and cooking can be behind a noticeable loss of weight.

Increased frailty. If you can notice something “different” about a person’s strength and stature just in a hug, it’s noteworthy. Pay close attention to how your loved one walks (shuffles more?) and moves (rises easily from a chair? has trouble with balance?), comparing these benchmarks to the last time you were together.

Obvious weight gain. Injury, diabetes, and dementia (because the person doesn’t remember eating and has meals over and over) might be the cause. So can money troubles that lead to fewer fresh foods, more dried pasta and bread.

Strange body odor. Sad to say, changes in personal grooming habits because of memory trouble or physical ailments might be noticeable on very close inspection. Look, too, for changes in makeup, hair, or the ability to wear clean clothes.

Getting into your parent’s space will give you a lot of information in a short period of time. You simply need to be aware when giving them a big hug.

Inspect the kitchen

Look for:

Perishables past their expiration dates. Your loved one might be buying more than he or she needs, as we all do — but you want to be sure there’s a reasonable ability to ditch the old stuff (rather than use it).

Multiples of the same item. Ten bottles of ketchup or a dozen different vinegars might indicate he or she can’t remember from one shopping trip to the next what’s in the cupboards at home.

Appliances that are broken and haven’t been repaired. Check the microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, washer, and dryer — any device you know your parent used to use routinely.

Signs of past fire. Look for charred stove knobs or pot bottoms, potholders with burned edges, a discharged fire extinguisher, smoke detectors that have been disassembled. Accidents happen — but accidental fires are a common home danger for older adults.

Increased takeout or simpler cooking. If someone who used to cook a lot no longer does or has downshifted to extremely simple recipes, the explanation could be a change in physical or mental ability.

The kitchen is the house or apartment space Encompass likes to keep track of for many of the reasons listed above. Expiration dates and evidence of no one cooking are good indicators of a parent’s mental state.

Notice how the other living things are faring.

Look for:

Plants that are dying, dead, or just gone. How well other life is looked after may reflect how well your parents can look after their own lives.

Animals that don’t seem well tended. Watch out for dogs with long nails, cat litter boxes that aren’t changed routinely, dead fish in the fish tank, or any animal that seems underfed or poorly groomed.

Things in your parent’s life that were once doted on can fall into neglect as they age. Take note as you walk around their living space.

Read the full article here: Holiday Spy Kit: 8 Clues Your Aging Parents Aren’t OK

If you are a caregiver and want to talk to someone with years of experience in this area, call us at 402-991-7399. We’re here to help.