Choosing the right care provider can be a daunting and challenging task. Here we seek to lessen your worries and provide you with questions and information you should be asking care providers when making a decision.

Understanding scheduling

Care provision is highly dependent upon scheduling, therefore it is important to understand both the working relationships and processes of your selected care provider.

Does the provider have clear pricing?

A care provider should have clear pricing and policies. These should be available on the company website or marketing collateral sent out to prospective customers. However, it is also important to be aware that some agencies will not share pricing information until an assessment is agreed.

Be sure to check if there is a requirement to sign a contract or a minimum duration?

If you are required to sign a contract, it will be important to read the terms and policies of the contract carefully and seeking appropriate advice on terms you do not understand.  It is also important to be aware that you may be charged a penalty for the termination of services before an agreed period of time, normally stated within the contract.

Are home assessments required?

Home assessments are usually provided for free, in order to discuss the services offered and also to ensure the environment is safe for both the client and care provider. It is also during home assessments when service agreements are signed, so it will be important to make sure you are prepared with enough time to read through the agreement and ask appropriate questions.

Understand the care providers cancellation policy

There are important questions to ask surrounding cancellations. One example is, how much notice is required to not be billed, most providers do not charge a cancellation fee as long as there is an adequate period of notice. Cancellations at short notice will usually incur a charge for all or a portion of the service.

Cancellations fees maybe of annoyance to clients who believe they should not have to pay if a service is not provided. However, many providers use these fees in order to ensure that caregivers do not lose work without notice and protect their income security.

Are there additional charges for shorter shifts?

Some providers will charge a surcharge for shorter shifts, so it will be important to clarify this during your home assessment.

Is a caregiver’s travel time included in the shift time?

It is subject to change across care providers; however, most care providers do include the time to travel between homes as part of the service. However, the care providers scheduling team has a responsibility to the client and employee to ensure travel distances are reasonable so that caregivers are not constantly late or rushed as ultimately this effects the clients in a variety of ways.

How do you know if a care provider has arrived to provide service?

Care providers will have different procedures; however, it is common for caregivers to be required to check-in and out of shifts in order to provide safe client care, log important information and meet working alone standards.

How are caregivers screened and hired?

You should always ask for more information on the caregiver screening process and what the requirements are to be hired for the required service:

Requirements will vary across care providers, however it will usually be a combination of the following:

  • Background check
  • Telephone screening
  • Interview
  • Aptitude tests
  • Two professional reference checks
  • Criminal record (DBS) check
  • Tuberculosis testing
  • Induction training
  • Branch introduction training
  • 5-year address history
  • Shadowing & feedback
  • Six-month probation period
  • 3 month spot checks & onsite reviews
  • 6 month unannounced spot checks
  • 1 year appraisal

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