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Interviewing a Caregiver? Ask the Right Questions

Asking the right questions can help you find the perfect caregiver for your loved one.

Everyone has different health and social needs. So when a family makes the difficult decision to hire a private caregiver, the next challenge is finding just the right person to meet your and your family's unique requirements. Conducting a personal interview with each caregiving candidate is always recommended.

Collecting a basic resume - name, address, contact information,  educational background and a list of relevant professional experience - is, of course, the first step in any hiring process. For caregivers, a list of experience should include who was cared for, how long they were cared for and what specific duties were involved. Look for duties that match your own needs and maybe some duties you wouldn't have expected. Feel free to ask for more details, if you need them. In addition, you should also request and check several personal and professional references. Anyone who doesn't have these readily available should raise a red flag.

When you're ready to interview a candidate, choose a comfortable setting such as your home. Have the candidate meet the person they might be caring for and observe the reactions of both. Is the candidate light-hearted, open-minded and patient? How do they make your loved one feel?

During the interview, ask pointed questions to match specific needs such as wheelchair transportation, experience working with a paraplegic or experience with blind or deaf clients.  

It may be a good idea to have one or two substitute caregivers available in the event that your main caregiver becomes ill or takes vacation. For this reason, you may want to interview with the intention of finding two or three qualified candidates. 

Below are a few suggested questions for any caregiving candidate:

  1. Are you certified in CPR for adults and/or children?
  2. How many years of experience do you possess as a caregiver?
  3. What types of needs and illnesses have you cared for?
  4. What ages have you cared for?
  5. What is your current location and do you have reliable transportation?
  6. Do you have back-up transportation if something happens?
  7. Do you have any personal or physical limitations that would not allow you to fully perform the required tasks of this case? (Remember to explain in detail what tasks are expected.)
  8. How much weight are you able to lift?
  9. How do you handle difficult situations? Tell me about a time that you handled a tough situation?
  10. What hours can you work, and are you available outside of the normally scheduled time if needed with some notice?
  11. Do you know how to prepare for special dietary needs, such as cooking or pureeing food?
  12. Do you smoke?
  13. Are you allergic to pets?
  14. Does this seem like a position you would be interested in understanding the needs and expectations I’ve described?
  15. When are you available to begin?
  16. Is my pay rate acceptable to you?
  17. Do you understand the tasks described, and do you have questions for me?
  18. Do you mind if I run a background check on you? (Remember to explain that you are doing this for all potential caregivers.)

Selecting a caregiver that is right for your loved one can be a very tedious and emotional process but well worth it once you’ve found the right caregiver for your family. Asking the right questions and introducing each potential candidate to your loved can help you feel secure in your final decision. 

Here are some resources to help you find the right caregiver. If you have experience with a care giving agency in Largo you can rate them and leave a review in our directory. You will be helping others looking for local agencies. 

National Agency for Home Care and Hospice: Guide to choosing a home care provider.

NAHC Home Care / Hospice Agency Locator, home care providers in Largo.

Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas: 10 questions to ask when choosing a home care provider.

Chris Sansbury August 22, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Thank you for sharing this valuable information.
Steven East August 23, 2011 at 08:18 AM
This is great list of questions! Regarding Question # 3, we would suggest including: What type of experience do you have with chronic disease? One of the key challenges in caring for the elderly is managing chronic disease because people are living longer and often have more than one disease. For example, it would not be unusual to care for a patient that had both diabetes and heart disease. Knowledge of what to watch for is extremely important, since caregivers spend more quality time with a patient or loved one than the medical team. Steven East, CEO and President Caring People Home Healthcare Agency Servicing New York, New Jersey and Florida http://www.caringpeopleinc.com

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