Selecting the right agency is not easy but it is an important decision.
How To Select An Agency
There are a lot of care agencies. They range from a single carer working on his or her own to large companies employing hundreds of carers across the country. That’s good—it means there is plenty of competition and choice. But choosing is not easy and it is an important decision.
How do you decide? First, you should telephone several local agencies and ask questions. Some responses should be a red flag to you: do they answer the telephone promptly; do they seem keen to help; do they understand your problem and are they open about their prices? It is surprising how many agencies will fail on one or more of these tests.
When you find agencies you are satisfied with, invite them home to meet you. It is a good idea to have a friend or relative with you. Remember, you are the boss, so don’t be bullied.
Have some questions ready for them. Here are some examples:
1. How can I be sure you will not send a succession of different carers?
2. Do you have a 24-hour help line?
3. How can you be sure to cover a call if my carer is sick?
4. Will you introduce my carer before their first visit?
5. Can I specify a male or female carer?
6. Do carers have to stick to the care plan or can I change my mind whenever I wish?
7. Are their prices competitive?
8. Has the person asked enough questions to be sure you can be safely looked after? For example, did they ask about your medicines, your mobility, your health, emergency contact details etc?
Importantly, do they try to give you what you want or do they try to persuade you to do it their way?
Finally, how do you get on with the person who visits? Does he/she seem competent, friendly and keen to help?
There’s no perfect formula for finding the right agency but these guidelines should help you identify those best avoided. When you have made a decision, do not be afraid to complain if you’re not happy about anything.
There are excellent carers and well-managed agencies out there, so make sure you find one.