The following are questions you should ask of anyone you are considering to care for a loved one:
1. Experience Level How long has the individual been providing Long term Care? How long has the facility been in operation?
2. How did they receive their training? Was it a formal program or on the job training? Was the training provided by an accredited agency? Are they licensed? Is the license current and has there ever been any action taken against their license or certification?
3. How is the facility certified? Are they profit or non-profit? Medicare or Medicaid certified? Also, check the Nursing Home Compare site on CMS.gov.
4. What is the staffing ratio?
This is important when choosing a nursing facility. Most facilities will give you the standard answer that they staff at the state required level. But, you need to ask if that level is the ideal staffing for the acuity of the facility.
5. What is required salary range and what does this include? This may seem like a routine question, but you want to get this information up-front. If they are only going to be responsible for the routine care, the daily wages should not be as high as someone who will be doing more “care-giving” support.
6. What is the weakest area in their opinion? This will startle some care givers either individuals or facilities. But, it’s an important one. If they tell you honestly what they feel like their weak areas are; it can lead to open dialogue prior to entrusting the care of your loved one.
7. In the opposite direction, what is their greatest strength? This answer is often surprising. For an individual care giver this is an important response. If their strength lies in empathetic care, this is the person you want.
8. If you are looking at an independent caregiver, how are they protected? Do they have professional liability insurance? Are they bonded?
9. What is the “back-up” plan? If you are interviewing an individual, what is their contingency plan for things like personal illness, inclement weather, etc.? You don’t want someone that is not going to be with your parents or loved one when you need them the most.
10. Why? This is probably the most important question you can ask. Regardless if you are looking at a facility or an individual, you need to know their motivation for providing Long Term Care. For many it is a “calling” and those are the ones you want to take care of your family.