By Bernard Freeman
Caregivers want to know their loved ones are taken care of when they’re not able to be with them. If you’re hiring a professional part-time caregiver, either to give yourself a break or to meet needs that you’re unable to meet, or using adult day care or other programs, you want to make sure your loved one will be in good hands.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Elder Care program offers a number of questions to ask respite care managers as you’re researching resources.
What to Ask
- How many people will the respite care manager take care of at any given time?
- Can family members interview the respite care provider?
- Does the program provide transportation, either for the caregiver or the patient?
- What is the screening process for caregivers? How are the caregivers trained, supervised and evaluated?
- How do the caregivers handle emergencies with the patient or unexpected situations?
- What are the fees associated with the service, and what will the respite care provider do in exchange for those fees?
You also should interview providers. They should be insured, and always ask for references, as well. Follow up on those references. Try to talk to people whose loved ones are in a similar circumstance to your family so you can find a provider who’s a good fit for your situation. Other questions to ask include:
- Have you ever worked with someone in the same medical condition as my relative?
- What is your background and training?
- What is your availability? If you’re not available, do you have a back-up?
- What is your history with respite care?
Ask how they would handle certain situations and why they left previous jobs. It’s a job interview; treat it that way.
As you’re looking for respite care, contact your area agency on aging, or look for other resources. The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) provides support for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers; the Family Caregiver Alliance (www.caregiver.org) has a resource center and a newsletter for caregivers; the National Alliance for Caregiving (www.caregiving.org) is a collaboration between private and government agencies; and the National Adult Day Services Association (www.nadsa.org) offers information on adult day care.