Senior care providers vary greatly in their ability to provide first-rate services to their clients. The really good ones are always good, the really bad ones should be avoided, and there are some in the middle of the pack that can be OK on a hit-or-miss basis. Being properly licensed in your state, if required, is a starting point, but since licensing is based on minimal requirements, this alone does not assure quality of care.
A large number of senior care providers are members of franchise networks. Others are owner-operated independents, usually in one limited geographic area. Whether a provider is a franchisee or an independent should not be the main factor in determining whether they are the right one for you. While you might think that a responsible franchisor would be quick to purge unsatisfactory operators from its network, the opposite is true. Under the franchise offering regulations, each franchisor engaged in the sale of new franchises must disclose the number of its terminated franchises. No franchisor wants to have a lot of failures on its books, so it generally carries its poorest performers for as long as possible. Since the poorest performers under financial pressure are more likely to cut corners, they should be avoided.
Licensure and Longevity
You can usually verify whether a provider is duly licensed by going to the website of your responsible state agency. Use a Google search phrase, like “licensed home care providers, name of state.” How long they have been in business? Start-ups keep popping up, but since the weaker ones fail after a few years, established providers are usually a better choice.
Quality and Involvement of Senior Management
A very important factor. This can be a very challenging business to operate. The top people must be experienced, committed and on top of day-to-day operations. If not professionally managed, administrative staff and the caregivers themselves may not consistently perform at the highest levels.
Pride in Reputation and Track Record
Do they really take pride in their reputation, and explain how it has been earned, or do they merely mouth platitudes about having the best caregivers? What do your friends who may have used them have to say? How many local families have they served?
Number of Caregivers Available
A high number is an indicator of a successful provider. Look for at least 100 licensed and background checked caregivers.
How quickly do they call back after you leave a message? With a franchisor, your call may be answered at a call center and handed off to a local affiliate. With two steps instead of one, can they meet your time frame for beginning service? Once retained, do they respond to calls about changes in service scheduling, or problems, or do they run and hide?
This is something you should be able to tell in the first call. Are you getting a sales pitch, or do they seem to be genuinely interested in providing seniors with compassionate and quality home care? The experience should not be like buying a garden hose from an 800 number.
You want a provider who has the right caregiver for you, and who will be there to handle all the issues that come up, with professionalism and expertise. All senior care providers will claim to have this ability, but only some really do. The above checklist can help you make the right choice.
If you or a loved one need an in-home caregiving ‘Angel’ in the 27 Metro Atlanta counties give us a call (770) 579-5000 or use the form on our contact page.