Checklist for Hiring an in Home Care Provider

Care Facility - Elder Care Attorney in Bucks CountyMost people prefer to stay in their own home where they are comfortable, secure, and can be independent, rather than receive care in an assisted living/personal care facility. However, if your loved one decides to remain in his or her home, support can be provided by a home health care provider. Home health care providers offer a wide range of services to ensure that your loved one is well cared for.. When you begin looking for the right home health care provider for your loved one, consider the following list of tips to help you find the right caregiver.

1. Decide the level of care required.
Before you begin looking for a home health care provider, decide what level of care is needed and how much your budget will allow. Depending on the needs of your loved one, care providers can offer services ranging from companionship to personal care services.

2. Seek additional help from a geriatric care manager.
If you are unsure what services your loved one may need, consider hiring a geriatric care manager.  She (or occasionally he) will be able to assist you in the process of finding the right level of care.  The GCM can also be very helpful in making suggestions for safety within the older person’s home. A geriatric care manager is trained in any of several fields related to eldercare, focusing on a holistic approach to the wellbeing of the older person. If you would like to learn more about the assistance a geriatric care manager can provide, contact Newman Elder Law for more information.

3. Choose whether to use an agency or find a care provider on your own.
Hiring a helper through personal contacts can be fraught with all kinds of undesirable outcomes.  Two of the biggest areas of concern are making sure that your insurance and his/her insurance covers accidents both in and outside the home.  Does the recommended person drive?  Are all relevant and necessary documents valid and up-to-date?

Finding an aide through an agency can offer some advantages, including nationwide prescreening for any criminal offence, and references from previous job-situations.  These references should include length of time at that job, reliability in showing up on time, hands-on kindness and caring, patience, ability to communicate with someone incapacitated by poor vision, deafness, dementia.

Questions to the agency should include: what is the expected/promised coverage if an aide is sick or cannot get to the job?  How do you train your aides?  Does someone from the agency come out to assess the older person’s personality and needs before sending a caregiver?  What if there is a poor “fit” — i.e., we don’t get along?  Do your aides all speak English?  You should know that the agency will send you an aide they consider suitable for you.  You may not agree.  Will the agency let me know ahead of time if a different aide is coming that day?

4. Find candidates who meet your care needs.
If you are not using an agency to find a care provider, you can begin looking for candidates on your own. Begin by asking friends and family for caregiver referrals. Also consider contacting your local senior center, adult daycare center or place of worship for referrals.

5. Select the right candidates to consider.
Begin by writing a detailed job description that you can easily share with applicants. Your description should include the level of care you require, daily tasks including driving, work hours and days, and other responsibilities. Also decide how much you are able to pay, and if you will need to pay taxes and possibly a Social Security contribution.

6. Conduct an initial interview.
Once you have received applications from qualified care providers, conduct an initial interview in a public place like a restaurant or coffee house.  This initial interview will allow you to assess the person’s personality, work experience, and to see if you actually like him/her and feel comfortable in their company.  After all, they will be in your loved one’s home, probably unsupervised.  Are you comfortable with that?

7. Additional interviews.                                                                                            After conducting an initial interview and having carefully reviewed their job history and qualifications, you might invite the ones you trust and like best to visit the older person at home.  Be careful in introducing the aide to the older person, since fear is a known part of dementia. If there is no dementia apparent, then you and the older person can discuss the aide’s qualifications and make a short list of those liked best.  While conducting this more detailed interview, discuss your loved one’s likes and dislikes, health concerns and all responsibilities you will require. Also talk about salary and benefits, including vacation and time off.

8. Check references.
References are an important factor to consider when hiring a home care provider. Be sure to ask for at least three professional references that you can contact. A reference can give you a detailed understanding of what the person is like to work with and employ. When you call the references, ask questions that will give you a clear understanding of the candidate as a person and as a caregiver. Consider asking about his or her reliability and attendance, why he or she left their past positions, and if there were any problems. But please note: these days many employers will give only dates of employment rather than anything more important, relevant to re-hire, and personal.

9. Consider conducting a criminal background check.
A criminal background check is common in the fields of medicine and care giving. Along with ensuring the candidate has no criminal history, a national (not just a state) criminal background check will help give you peace of mind.

10. Prepare employment paperwork.
Once you have selected the ideal candidate, prepare your entire agreement in writing. In your employment agreement, include information about a trial period if you would like one, job responsibilities, salary information, pay schedule, time off, start date, and your termination policy. Of course, you will have this dated and signed, with a copy for yourself and for the aide.

A home health care provider can be beneficial for elders who wish to remain in their homes. If your loved one needs additional care and wants to remain at home, follow these steps to find a care provider who meets your loved one’s needs. Once you have found the right care provider, be sure to visit your loved one regularly to ensure he or she is receiving the best care possible. If you have questions about home care services or need help selecting a home care provider, contact Newman Elder Law for assistance.


What is the Difference between Guardianship and a Power of Attorney?

Beratung von Senioren im PflegeheimBoth a power of attorney and guardianship are tools to assist someone who is unable to make financial or medical decisions for him or herself by appointing an agent or guardian to act in their stead. However, these tools differ in their responsibilities and the freedom and control they give to the elder or person with special needs.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is an estate planning document that allows you to appoint an agent who is given legal authority to make financial and medical decisions if you become incapacitated. For many people, a power of attorney eliminates the worry and stress of managing financial and medical accounts when not mentally able.

A power of attorney can give the agent control of specific affairs, or general financial or medical power. For families caring for an elder or friend who is incapacitated, a power of attorney can simplify care by allowing the agent to make medical and financial decisions for their loved one.

A power of attorney is also an option to consider when caring for an adult child with special needs. Parents or guardians of an adult child with special needs should have powers of attorney prepared to protect their child’s inheritance and assist with any medical decisions.


If an adult is incapable of making responsible decisions due to a mental disability or health condition, a court may appoint a legal guardian who can make decisions. When a guardian is appointed, the court will authorize the guardian to make certain legal, financial and medical decisions for his or her ward.

Because guardianship is restrictive and takes away the ward’s freedom to make decisions, guardianship is normally closely monitored by the court and is only granted when a person is legally incapacitated, meaning  they are at significant risk of personal harm to themselves, or they are incapable of managing their property or financial affairs.

How a Power of Attorney and Guardianship Differ                                                               

The most notable difference between a power of attorney and guardianship is that an elder or adult with special needs appoints his or her agents and decides what authority they receive when preparing a power of attorney, whereas a court appoints a guardian when the ward is unable to make responsible decisions. While both a power of attorney and guardianship give an agent or guardian the legal authority to make decisions, guardianship offers far less control to the ward.

In many cases, a power of attorney allows the agent to successfully manage financial and medical decisions if the elder becomes incapacitated, but allows the elder to define what authority the agent will have. At times, guardianship is a better solution for assisting a loved one with all aspects of his or her life. For parents who care for adult children with special needs, guardianship can allow them to easily care for their child and manage his or her financial affairs.

In situations where you are planning for the future of an adult child with special needs, taking care of an elderly family member or you may become incapacitated due to illness or medical procedure, a power of attorney can provide assurance that medical and financial accounts will be managed well and decisions will be made correctly. If you are the parent of an adult child with special needs or the child of an elder who is unable to make informed decisions, guardianship may allow you to better care for your loved one. For more information about preparing a power of attorney or becoming someone’s guardian, please contact Newman Elder Law.