Key questions to ask your home care provider - Carelancer
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Key questions to ask your home care provider

September 29th 2022
Home care can be challenging. If you or a loved one are struggling with pain, or with the loss of autonomy that often accompanies it, we know this can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. That’s why a helping hand can make all the difference. But it can be daunting trying to find the right provider. Especially if you don’t know where to start.

Finding the Right Home Care Provider: Who Should Be Included in the Initial Conversation?

Ideally, the person who is receiving home care should be on the call. This will help them get a sense of the provider’s personality and temperament. Remember, if you’re contacting a service provider on behalf of a loved one, make sure that you have a power of attorney.

Below are eight key questions to help you make the best, most informed decision before hiring the best service provider for you or a loved one. Remember, this is an important decision, so don’t be afraid to ask too many questions.

1. What makes you an excellent home care provider?

The best home care providers are passionate about their job and possess both the skills and the demeanor to do it with ease. Ask them about themselves. What drew them to healthcare? What do they love about their job? Which values infuse their care approach? This is also a great opportunity to ask them about any unique skills and abilities that might support your long-term care plan.

2. How long have you been in healthcare?

Get to know your provider’s professional background. Have they worked with a patient whose needs are similar to your own? At this stage you might wish to review their documentation. Ask to take a look at their resume, any relevant certificates, and previous letters of recommendation or client reviews.

3. What services do you provide?

It’s important to ask about the type of services a professional provides. Each patient is unique, and it’s crucial to find a provider whose services cater directly to your or a loved one’s needs. Services like companionship can often mean different things to different providers. What does it mean to your interviewee? Does it mean light chatting over dinner, or trips out to a local museum or movie theater?

4. What is your emergency action plan for handling emergencies?

Accidents happen. And when they do, you want to be sure that you’re in good hands. Having a caregiver who is experienced in supporting clients through emergencies is imperative. Service providers should have an emergency process that they can implement to protect their clients. Ask your provider to share an example of a time they cared for someone in an emergency. If they have no previous experience to draw upon, ask them if they have an emergency action plan that considers both your needs and the needs of your family.

Some health conditions will require additional emergency planning. If your care involves electric-dependent procedures like dialysis, for instance, make sure you go over temporary options with your prospective provider. If you have mobility issues, or use an electric wheelchair or scooter, it’s important to let your care provider know where unpowered models can be found.

5. What kind of personal protective equipment do you wear?

In Ontario, home healthcare providers are no longer required to wear masks. However, it’s vital for people who are immuno-compromised or vulnerable to airborne diseases to be protected. Take the time to clarify with your healthcare provider about the type of personal protective equipment - mask, face shield, gloves - you would like them to wear when working.

6. What’s the best way for us to stay in touch?

Being able to contact your provider is critical, especially as your needs evolve and change. Discuss how you will keep in contact with your provider outside of appointments. It’s also a good idea to clarify what times of the day are best to contact one another. Carelancer’s in-app messaging ensures that your information is stored safely so that you and your family members can keep track of your contact with your provider.

7. How will you be getting to and from our appointments?

Depending on the type of services you require, you might need your provider to have their own means of transportation. For security purposes, ask them for the make and model of their car, and for their licence plate details. This is just an added layer of protection, helping you identify your service provider when they arrive for their first appointment.

If you have mobility issues, find out more about your provider’s vehicle. Is there adequate space inside? Is it easy to get in and out of? You’ll want to let your care provider know where to park. Remember to inform them about any special permits they may need to park at your property.

8. How often will we meet each week? And for how long?

It’s important to find a service provider who can coordinate their schedule with your or a loved one’s specific care needs, discuss the type of services you require and together you can then determine the frequency and duration of your sessions. If your care plan changes and you need to request additional or supplementary services, you can always modify your agreement with your service provider.

9. Could you tell me about your approach to providing care in a way that respects the dignity and independence of your clients?

It is important to address this question as it is one of the most significant aspects of care. This provides an opportunity for care providers to share their approach to care and establish a positive relationship with the care seeker and their loved ones. Care providers who prioritize these aspects of care take a client-centered approach, empowering clients and treating them with respect and compassion.

Food preparation and planning

When hiring a service provider for food preparation, it's important to communicate your dietary needs, preferences and restrictions, including any allergies and cultural practices. You might wish to ask about how your food will be cooked, served, and stored. Additionally, you may want to inform the provider of the cooking equipment available at your disposal.

In-home Care for Neurological Conditions: Addressing Complex Needs

Patients with neurological conditions may have unique care requirements that must be met by their healthcare provider. To minimize stress caused by changes in environment and routine, in-home care can be particularly beneficial. The following questions are meant to address the needs of individuals with more complex neurological conditions.

  • How do you care for people with neurological conditions?
  • How did they approach their interactions with their patients?
  • How did they manage the mood swings that often accompany neurological conditions?
  • How do they ensure that their patients’ environment is safe and secure?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you cared for someone with a neurological condition?

Transportation Services and Accessibility

Transportation services empower people to continue living life to the full. Being able to visit friends, go shopping, and stay a part of the local community helps maintain independence. Below are some questions that address transportation.

  • To what extent is your vehicle accommodating for accessibility?
  • Is it suitable for individuals with mobility limitations
  • Can one enter and exit the vehicle safely and comfortably?
  • Are you in possession of an accessible parking permit and a valid driving license?
  • When was the last time you had the car serviced?
  • Is your car previously rebuilt?

The Importance of Safety Features in Vehicles

Safety features should not be overlooked, the safest vehicle will help avoid or reduce the severity of an accident and will provide a higher level of protection.

  • Airbags: to protect the driver and passengers in the event of a collision
  • Seat belts: to help prevent serious injuries.
  • Anti-lock brakes: to prevent the wheels from locking up during emergency braking.
  • Electronic stability control: to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle during sudden maneuvers.
  • Lane departure warning: to alert the driver if the car begins to drift out of its lane.
  • Rearview camera: to help the driver see what is behind the car when reversing.
  • Automatic emergency braking: to automatically apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate a collision.
  • Blind spot monitoring: to alert the driver of vehicles in the car's blind spot.
  • Adaptive cruise control: to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front.

It is crucial that the caregiver's approach to care aligns with your own values and beliefs. Choosing a caregiver is not only about finding someone to provide care for your loved one, but also about finding someone who can provide you with peace of mind. This means finding a trustworthy and empathetic healthcare professional who will provide your loved one with the care they need.


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