Your dad is aging and struggling with everyday tasks like dressing, bathing, or even preparing meals for himself. You try and help out when you can, but you can’t always be there; you worry about his safety and independence. Maybe it’s time for private duty home care.

Whether your dad is looking forward to having someone help him at home or has reluctantly agreed, you probably feel some sense of relief that a professional caregiver will be looking after him. You also likely feel a huge sense of responsibility to make sure that caregiver is the right one for him. So, how do you know?

It’s important to ask the right questions when evaluating potential providers, so you can feel confident that the caregiver in your parent’s home is professional, trustworthy, and appropriately skilled.

Questions to ask about hiring standards:

  • What are your hiring standards and qualifications?
  • How do you verify experience and credentials?
  • Do you test potential employees on their clinical skills before hiring them?
  • What kind of liability insurance do you provide to employees?
  • Do you perform criminal background checks on employees?

Questions to ask about caregiver supervision and scheduling:

  • Are the caregivers employees or contractors?
  • How do you assign and match caregivers to your clients?
  • How do you orient employees to your client’s care?
  • What sort of training and continuing education do you provide for employees?
  • How do you supervise employees?
  • How do you handle scheduling problems?
  • How do you handle personality conflicts?
  • Who can I contact if I have problems after normal work hours?

That question—how do you match the caregiver to the client?—is one of the most important. Not only do you want your parent’s caregiver to be skilled and qualified, you want them to be a good match. Many caregivers become like family, but only if they can truly bond with the people they care for. Ideally, your dad should feel a sense of comfort and ease with the person coming into his home.

What you should tell the caregiver about your dad...                                                                                

Encourage your dad to ask questions and express his feelings and preferences. Be sure to:

  • Share details of his normal routine so that the caregiver has an understanding and can adapt. For example, let them know what time he likes breakfast; whether he dresses before or after he eats; or if he likes to take walks.
  • Welcome their questions—they’ll want you to make sure they aren’t overstepping their bounds as well.
  • Share any cultural or religious considerations with your care team that are important to you and your family, such as preferred language or food restrictions.

…and what you should know about them

Now that they know about your dad, get to know them. Talk to them not only about their work experience, but their philosophy on care. Why do they want to care for seniors in their home? Many people in the caring professions have a compelling reason for doing this kind of work. Maybe they cared for an aging grandparent. Or perhaps they were inspired by someone who cared for their parents. If they’re willing to share, that’s the kind of information that helps give you peace of mind that your parent’s caregiver is truly caring and compassionate.

If after awhile you have any minor concerns—like the kinds of meals they are making or what kinds of activities you’d like them to do—you can usually discuss those directly with them. However, if there are bigger concerns—such as consistent tardiness or not meeting your expectations—you should speak directly with the provider.

It’s important to keep open lines of communication. Encourage them to ask questions and make them feel they can talk to you. You’re all in this together, and working collaboratively will ensure your dad has the care he deserves—and you have the peace of mind you need. 

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