Screening In-Home Elder Care Providers in Sonoma County, California
How to interview potential in-home
Elder Care service providers you are considering for the care of your loved one.
Your two options when it comes to in-home elder care workers
If you have determined that the type of care the elder person in your life requires
is at-home care, you have two choices when it comes to finding an assistant.
You may either choose to hire a home health worker directly or you may choose
to go through an agency. If hiring a person directly, you might benefit from
first contacting the following local agency to see if they have any references
for trusted home health care workers in Sonoma County:
Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging
2250 North Point Parkway
P.O. Box 4959, CA 95402
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Your other options would be to look at offers of help being given in the classified
section of the Press Democrat, or other local paper, or to go on-line and
search community job boards like those featured on www.craigslist.org. At craigslist,
you can post a help wanted-type advertisement, describing what you need and
asking workers to email you with their qualifications which you can consider
prior to making an interview appointment with them. *We strongly urge you not to
post your phone number on craigslist. Simply make use of the 'anonymous' email
address they route responses through to your email inbox.
Once you have gathered a list of candidates, it is time to begin interviewing
What to ask when interviewing a home healthcare worker
- What is the worker's professional background in their work in the elder care field?
- Do they have degrees, certified training or other professional qualifications? Ask
to view documentation.
- What types of services do they provide? What hours are they available?
- What is their backup plan in case of illness? Who will take over their duties if
they are absent?
Take note of the personal grooming, attentiveness and interest level of each candidate.
Do they ask you questions about the elder person's health and needs? Do they ask
what will be expected of them? Be sure to obtain at least 3 references from each
candidate from other families whose loved ones they have cared for.
Following up on the references is a vital part of the interview process. Be sure
to ask the contact family what their experience was with the health care worker
and what the duration of it was. What was the elder person's experience? Was there
ever any incident which caused concern?
Because the comfort, health and safety of your loved one is at stake, we advise
you to consider conducting a criminal background check on any healthcare worker
you might intend to hire. For the same reasons, it is wise to also perform a sexual
offender background check.
Once you have hired the elder care service provider of your choice, you should
remain attentive to their performance of their duties. Whether they come to your
home or to the home of your loved one to administer care, plan to make a few
unannounced visits during their hours of service to see how things are going.
Because elder abuse is a reality in today's world, and because many elder people
do not communicate that they are being abused either because they are unable to
or because they feel afraid or ashamed, you know that you will be your loved
one's best guardian in ascertaining that the worker is professional and trustworthy.
When hiring a home healthcare worker through an agency
Going through an agency will take some of the work off of the family's hands by providing
a list of pre-screened employees for consideration. However, it is still important
for the family to conduct interviews to ascertain the fitness of the candidates for
the work involved. Be sure to ascertain whether the agency performs criminal
and sexual offender background checks on its employees. Ask to see proof of this.
If the agency does not provide this service, you will, again, wish to consider
having this done yourself. All of the above questions should be asked during
the interview, and references should be thoroughly checked. Make those unannounced
visits to secure your peace of mind, and be sure to treat the health care worker
with the courtesy and appreciation they deserve for their assistance to you in
this important work.
What type of worker you need to hire depends upon the elder person's specific needs.
The need may be for personal assistance with daily living, running errands,
providing transportation, or giving medicines. Home health care workers may include
licensed nurses or hospice workers. You will find a more detailed description of
the types of home health care workers in our article:
Types of Elder Care available in Sonoma County, California