Tips for hiring a care worker or care agency

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Hiring an elder care worker or agency to help a senior is a daunting task. Here are some tips to help you find the right fit!

Assessing a care worker

Ideally, a community or private agency will have verified the candidate’s professional skills and references. Your task is therefore to interview for the best fit with your parent.

  • Ask the care worker:
    • Tell me about your last position.
    • What did you do?
    • What did you enjoy most about it?
  • Listen for how they express themselves, the enthusiasm they show for the job and whether your parent can understand them clearly.
  • Have your parent explain what is needed:
    • See how the person listens and reacts.
    • Does he or she seem empathetic?
    • Does he or she seem sincerely interested?
  • Ask the interviewee to re-state the requirements.
  • Encourage questions.

If you do not use an agency, hire an elder care professional to make an assessment, do reference and academic checks and “test” the worker on some real-life scenarios.

Tips for hiring an agency

  • Ensure the agency has assessed and clearly outlined its understanding of the care and support requirements.
  • Be sure your elderly loved one (the client), as well as the family, has “bought into” the arrangements.
  • Start slowly and build on success. Consider beginning with care for a few hours on a couple of days a week, rather than a smothering program of eight hours every day.
  • Determine the “reporting” relationship. Who will supervise the workers? (Hint: it should be the agency staff, not the adult daughter.)
  • Be sure the agency has quality-control procedures so the services are constantly monitored and fine-tuned. It’s only natural that needs will vary and evolve over time.
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About Pat Irwin, BS, ACB, CSA/CPCA

Pat M. Irwin, BS, ACB, CSA/CPCA, is president of ElderCareCanada and a certified mediator.

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