1. Is the agency licensed by the state?
Although Arizona does not require a state license to own a home care agency, the company you choose should meet the most stringent licensing requirements across the country that help protect and provide for the clients.

2. Are the agency’s caregivers bonded and insured?
The company you choose should have professional and general liability, bonding and Worker’s Compensation coverage in case of a mishap.  Some firms have only minimal coverage and some none at all.

3. How extensive are the agency’s criminal and background checks?
You want only the most ethical, skilled and compassionate caregivers in your home.  It is important that the agency not only run a check on the last place a person worked, but complete a complex multi-state check on all the places they have lived, their driving records and reference checks from previous supervisors.

4. How qualified are the agency’s caregivers?
Often times, an agency will simply hire someone without much experience and even less credentials.  Reputable agencies have requirements for levels of experience, certification and annual training. Select a firm that requires companion caregivers to be thoroughly trained through a recognized program.  Although Certified Nursing Assistants are state certified, they need to be trained in the agency’s policies, procedures and standards along with the diseases of the aged.  Reputable agencies must have a licensed RN on staff for supervision to insure that proper protocol is being followed in the care of the client.

5. Will the same caregiver come to the client’s home on a regular basis?
It is difficult to receive good care if different caregivers show up every week.  A good home care provider will insist on continuity of care and carefully match each client with the proper caregiver.

6. How would a complaint or question about service be handled?
A reputable agency will provide you with a detailed process for dealing with complaints or service questions.  All clients should be given the agency contact person and phone number to resolve any concerns that may arise.

7. What procedure is in place to handle emergencies?
Emergencies can happen and a quality agency will have policies, procedures and plans in place to deal with emergencies if they do occur.  Its employees will be thoroughly trained in how to respond to any serious situation.

8. Can the agency provide printed materials describing service rates and fees?
An agency that provides detailed, carefully considered materials for your review, more than likely, has gone the extra mile in other aspects of its business.  These should include rates, minimal hourly requirements, billing cycles and any required deposits.

9. Is the client’s course of care documented with specific tasks to be carried out by the caregiver and is the client’s family involved in the creation of this plan?
A reputable agency will create an individualized plan of care for each new client.  It should be carefully and professionally developed with the client and family members.  The care plan should be written and a copy left with the client.  The plan should list specific duties, work hours/days, and the name and phone number of the supervisor in charge.  The care plan should be evaluated, updated and revised as the client’s needs change.

10.  How does the agency select caregivers and what kind of initial training and ongoing training do they provide?
An Agency should have an extensive and detailed plan about their hiring process.  It should include pre-screening, interviews, reference checks, and an independent background check.  They should also have an initial comprehensive training program that is required and a training manual to support this education.  Because advances are being made every day, agencies must have required annual training to ensure all caregivers are compliant with new information.

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