“Who is this person that will be coming into my home to spend a few hours with Mom?”
Whether you’re booking a respite caregiver for the first time on SecondSenior or hiring a live-in caregiver through an agency, this is the question we all ask when bringing a new caregiver into the home.
Amidst a number of other important considerations like cost, compatibility, and scheduling, safety for your loved one is a foundational priority that is best addressed in the interview process.
Going through the steps below will enable you to learn more about a prospective caregiver and, at the end of the process, will hopefully give you peace of mind that your loved one’s companion is both honest and reliable.
Meet potential caregivers in-person.
Meeting face-to-face is always the most effective way to build trust. Critical qualities like compassion and compatibility are best expressed from a caregiver in-person, rather than via email or phone. Scheduling an interview is also a great way to test a caregiver’s punctuality. If a prospective caregiver arrives late to the interview, he/she may be more likely to be late to the scheduled shift you’ve hired them for.
If you’re not ready to invite them to your home, suggest a neutral and public place to meet for the interview, such as a park or coffee shop.
Request and contact references.
Past behavior is a great way to predict future performance. Take the time to request and contact 2-3 references who have employed your potential caregiver in the past (even if they are new to caregiving).
Consider the following questions when calling references:
- What was the context of your working relationship?
- Did you enjoy working with him/her?
- How does he/she handle constructive criticism?
- Were they typically on time?
- What would you say are his/her biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Would you hire this person to provide companion care for a loved one?
Schedule an agreed-upon time period for each conversation so that you’re not rushed. Take full advantage of the opportunity for each reference to candidly speak about your potential caregiver.
Perform online research.
Start by simply entering the name (and perhaps location if they have a common name) of your potential caregiver into Google. If they have a Facebook or LinkedIn profile, these are likely to appear on the first page of search results. This is a quick and easy way to fact-check the personal information you receive from your potential caregiver, and you also get a chance to see how they choose to portray themselves to the public. Most people are smart enough to filter their posts on social media, so you may not find much information at all, let alone anything shocking. However, this is still a good way to find anything that you consider to be red flag behavior that a background check might not.
If any suspicions arise during online research, consider running a background check. There are a number of inexpensive online background check websites that will query your caregiver against criminal databases.
Taking the time to thoroughly interview, check references and search for information online is a great way to establish trust, keep your loved one safe, and gain peace of mind for yourself and your family in the process of hiring a new caregiver.