3 Critical Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Care Agency

Deciding on a home care agency can be overwhelming.

With hundreds of home care agencies in San Diego County, how do you know you’re choosing the best one for you or your loved one? It all starts by asking the right questions. When interviewing an agency that provides in-home caregivers, find the answers to these 3 critical questions first. 

  

  1. Is the agency licensed through the state of California?
  2. Are the agency’s caregivers registered home care aides?
  3. Is the agency available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?

Is the agency licensed through the state of California?

All home care organizations state-wide must be approved by the California Home Care Registry. A Home Care Organization (HCO) license ensures the following requirements are met:

  • Valid business license
  • Dedicated office space
  • Hires caregivers as employees, not as independent contractors
  • Has worker’s compensation insurance
  • Has professional, general, and criminal liability insurance  

Why It Matters to YOU: Home Care Licensure was set up by the state to protect the consumer, and is a requirement of all California Home Care Organizations (HCO)! No agency should be operating without a valid HCO license. 


Furthermore, families who hire private caregivers or choose “referral” agencies unknowingly become “employers,” subject to the all the risk and liabilities that professional insurance protects against, like theft, on-the-job injury, etc.). Without the types of insurance required by state licensure, and without knowing labor law, families could be putting themselves at risk for costly lawsuits, fees, and fines. By choosing a state licensed home care agency, you know you are protected.

Are the agency’s caregivers registered home care aides?

Any working California caregiver, whether hired privately or through an agency, must be registered as a Home Care Aide (HCA) through the state. All registered HCAs are required to:  

  • Register through the state
  • Pass fingerprint/background check by the FBI and Department of Justice
  • Be tested for Tuberculosis
  • Pass a 3-hour safety training before working
  • Complete a 2-hour agency training
  • Pass at least five (5) hours of continuing education for every year they are an active HCA
  • Renew registration every 2 years

Why It Matters to YOU: Feel safer knowing that any registered home care aide working in your home will have cleared an extensive government background check, will be free of tuberculosis, and will be adequately and continually trained to perform basic caregiving tasks. This is the bare minimum to be compliant with California regulations. Every individual agency may require more of their caregivers.

Is the agency available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year?

Not all agencies keep the same office hours. Some agencies let voice mail pick up calls after office hours and on weekends. Other agencies forward their phones to an answering service who will relay the messages on. The best agencies will have dedicated care managers on call 24 hours a day ready to help you, right then and there. Find out how accessible agency care managers are.


Why It Matters to YOU: Things come up, at all hours of the day and night. When something happens after hours, you or the caregivers in your home will need to talk to someone who can make decisions and take action. Basically, you need an agency who is truly there for you at all times. 

Additional Questions to Ask

  

Of course, there are other questions you should be asking, but by asking the 3 critical questions first, you will have already covered a lot of ground as far as protecting yourself or your loved one.

Here are other questions to ask home care agencies when you interview them: 

  • Does the agency lock clients into a contract?
  • Is there a minimum for shift-length or minimum hours-per week or month?
  • Does the agency charge for different services, like bathing or supervisory visits?
  • Are caregivers introduced and trained in the home before starting with new clients?
  • What happens when a caregiver calls out sick or cannot attend a scheduled shift?

Aaron Home Care is the Answer

  

Learn how Aaron Home Care can serve you. As a California-licensed, bonded and insured Home Care Agency, all our caregivers are trained and registered as Home Care Aides. The Aaron Home Care staff is dedicated to serving clients, 24/7/365. Rest assured knowing that our clients and the caregivers that are attending them are fully supported round-the-clock.


Additionally, we won’t lock you into a contract, and your schedule can change as your needs change. We offer a flat, hourly-fee for all caregiving services—we don’t “nickel and dime”. And it is our standard procedure that all clients have new caregivers introduced and trained in the home by a familiar face. 

Give us a call 619-880-5522 if you have other questions. We’ve got answers!