Choosing a Care Provider
What to consider when choosing a caregiver
The need to choose a caregiver frequently comes as a surprise. Care may be required for a short period of time while recovering from a surgical procedure, or for a longer term. You may feel family, friends, or neighbours are the answer. However, this often proves ineffectual and can add unwanted stresses to your relationships.
An alternative is to arrange care through a company which offers an in-home care service. When selecting this kind of care provider, we strongly recommend that the following questions be carefully considered:
- Are staff bonded and insured?
- Does the company have professional & general liability coverage?
- Does the company have a mission / philosophy statement which outlines their aims, and guides management & staff in providing care?
- Are staff covered by the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia?
- When hiring staff, does the company screen applicants?
- Are staff required to have a criminal record check before being assigned?
- Does the company provide consistency and continuity in staffing?
- Does the company have a policy & procedure manual which directs management & staff in unexpected situations?
- Does the company have a quality assurance program to monitor client satisfaction and evaluate personnel performance?
- Is the company flexible with scheduling and responsive to client requests?
- How does the company respond to complaints or concerns?
- Does the company provide additional services, such as contact with the Red Cross, Loan Cupboard, local pharmacies, or medical supply companies, etc.?
- Can the company be contacted at any hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? How quickly will it respond?
- How does the company communicate progress, health status, etc. to clients, family members or those the client wishes to keep informed?
- How are clients, family members or others whom the client chooses, included in making decisions or plans for care?
Some people may consider hiring a caregiver on a private basis. This can be successful, but it would be wise to consider the above issues, particularly bonding and W.C.B. coverage. All workers in B.C. are required by law to be covered by Workers' Compensation. If the caregiver is not covered and insured while working, you could be liable for costs relating to compensation and loss of work. Also consider what will happen if the privately hired caregiver is sick or not able to work for any reason. Agencies will normally have appropriate backup staff available.
Discuss your options with family and friends.