The following interview questions to ask a caregiver will help you select the right person to care for your loved one. While many people may offer their services as a caregiver, their qualifications will vary. Some states and localities require that individuals who offer these services be licensed or certified to work in the capacity of a caregiver or home health aide. Know what questions to ask during the hiring process to ensure that you hire the most qualified person for the job, whether you are privately hiring or using the services of an agency.
Bonds and Insurance. Is the individual bonded or insured? If the person is bonded, ask to see the bond. The bond amount should be $10,000, at a minimum. If the person is insured, ask to see a copy of the insurance declaration page.
Background check. Individuals who work as caregivers may be able to provide a current copy of a Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information document, which includes their fingerprints and identifying information. If the document is more than a year old, you may wish to ask for a more current document, which the applicant can obtain through the Attorney General’s office. A background check may also be done on the Internet through various agencies offering this service, or through a private investigation firm.
In the United States, you may call your local county court house to find out if there are any outstanding warrants on an applicant. To do this, you’ll need the individual’s first and last name, as well as their birth date.
References. Ask for references if the individual has been working in the capacity of caregiver or home health aide previously. Be sure that phone numbers and addresses of the references are provided. Call or write to the references to verify the length of reported employment and job description. Asking for any other information may be against the law, depending upon where you reside. Occasionally an individual may be able to provide a letter of reference from a previous employer.
Training. What type of training has the individual had in regards to providing care of a disabled person? Ask for certificates, licenses, diplomas or transcripts that specify completed classes or training the caregiver has received. In the United States caregivers are not required to have a license, however home health aides, nurse assistants and nurses are.
Proof of citizenship. The potential employee should be able to provide proof of citizenship or legal residency. They should be able to provide a state issued I.D., driver’s license and Social Security card.
Driver’s license and insurance. Many caregivers need to drive the individual they are caring for to doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments and recreation activities. Ask for a copy of their current driver’s license and a copy of their insurance card. Call the insurance provider to ensure the policy is currently in effect.
Authorization for Background Information. Ask a potential employee to fill out this authorization if you plan on doing a background investigation that will reveal items that are a matter of public record.
Tips for Hiring Caregivers through an Agency
Depending upon where you live, hiring a caregiver through an agency may be an option. While this may provide a quick solution to finding a qualified caregiver, it is important to double-check background information of the individual you are considering hiring, as well as understanding the policies of the agency.
- Does the agency conduct background investigations on their employees? If so, ask to see the documents of the potential employee.
- Does the agency bond and insure their employees? Ask for copies of these documents.
- What training do the employees receive? What type of supervision do the employees have?
- Are there any policies against giving a caregiver gratuities or gifts?
- Is the agency licensed? Note that in the United States home care agencies are not required to be licensed, however home health agencies are.
- Can the agency provide proof of citizenship or legal residency for their employees?
- What specifically are the job duties of the person you are hiring? Get the job description in writing to avoid problems later.
Be sure to thoroughly vet any individual you allow to work in your home. The caregiver you select will be your eyes, ears and hands when you cannot be there for your loved one. Don’t allow your family or loved one to become the prey of a scam artist or criminal; do a thorough background investigation of any employee that will come in contact with your family.