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Interviewing caregivers for the first time – Do you know what questions to ask?

You want to provide your aging parent with the best care, but knowing how to go about it can be a little daunting.

Choosing a home health care agency is the first step and often the first choice when hiring a caregiver. While there is no shortage of private caregivers advertising their services online and in the newspaper, a home care agency is usually the first choice for families and their seniors for several reasons.

We obviously can’t speak for all agencies, but caregivers who work for Living Assistance Services:

  • must pass our thorough screening process, including a check of credentials and criminal check
  • must have at least two years of professional experience
  • are hired based on credentials and experience, as well as personality

Home health care agencies also have staff available to assist with the ever-changing needs of the elderly, including qualified PSWs (personal support workers) and RPNs (registered practical nurses) who work under the direct supervision of an RN (registered nurse).

What to Ask

Once you’ve decided on a home health care agency, it’s still important to do your due diligence when it’s time to choose your loved one’s caregiver. This is important because, after all, this is the person who you’ll allow into your loved one’s home and entrust with their care.

Asking the right questions when interviewing potential caregivers is key. We’ve compiled some standard questions that can offer valuable insight into the caregiver’s skills, and, just as importantly, their reasons for wanting to work with seniors.

  • What is a PSW?
  • Are you comfortable with the duties required? (Be sure to review the job description, which may include personal care, such as hygiene and dressing, light housekeeping, shopping and errands, meal preparation, and companionship, such as reading a book or playing cards.)
  • Are you comfortable with pets? (If your loved one has pets)
  • Do you have a medical condition or limitation that would prevent you for performing the tasks required?
  • What experience do you have caring for seniors and/or people with cognitive impairment?
  • Are you able to be flexible and change or increase hours if needed?
  • How do you feel about the elderly and/or people with disabilities?
  • Have you ever dealt with an emergency? If so, what was the emergency and what did you do?
  • How would you deal with a client who refuses to comply with care? For example, if they refuse to take their medication or won’t take a bath?
  • How would you respond if the person you were caring for was verbally and physically aggressive towards you?
  • Under what circumstances would you say it is acceptable to break a confidence of a client? For example, would you tell me if my mom/dad did or said something concerning or about what happened at their doctor’s appointment?

Once you’ve completed the interview obtain copies of the caregiver’s documentation such as proof of education, first aid training certificates, etc. You will also want to get written permission and check references.

A reputable and transparent home care agency should have nothing to hide and will happily answer your questions and provide the documentation requested. Their literature and website should provide you with information relative to their experience, their range of services, their management team and the principles of their agency.

We understand that every person’s situation and needs are different. Hopefully, you find this information helpful when you’re ready to start interviewing potential senior care candidates.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We can help!

David Porter, CPCA

Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

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