Senior with her family caregiver When it comes to arranging care for a loved one, you have choices.  Many companies will promise to provide caring and dependable service, but most families want objective standards by which they can measure competing claims.  Here is a list of things you should expect from your home care provider, a series of quality benchmarks that will help you know that the trust you have placed in a company will be well founded.  These benchmarks can provide a starting point for evaluating whether a company can deliver on its promises! Is the provider locally owned and operated, rather than a large franchise? Are shift lengths customizable for the full range of 1 hour to 24/7 or live-in care? Is there a generous cancellation policy of 48 hours? Is the provider licensed and in complete compliance with the Department of Health? Are all staff and employees bonded? Does the provider carry liability insurance? Are all employees required to pass a drug screening test? Is there an automated system that clocks a caregiver’s actual arrival and departure times? Is there a system that automatically alerts staff if a caregiver does not clock in at the scheduled time? Is there a live staff member available by phone at all times? Does the provider offer specialized care through nurse delegation (supervisory oversight by an RN)? Does the provider offer caregivers who have special training for clients with Alzheimer’s or other dementias? Does the provider offer caregivers who have special training in end-of-life care? Does the provider coordinate care with physicians, therapists, hospice and other providers? Are all caregivers entitled to free, unlimited continuing education? Are all caregiver applicants required to provide personal and professional references? Are reference checks conducted by the provider rather than outsourced? Does the provider verify all registrations and licenses of their caregivers? Does the provider check the driving record and insurance coverage for any caregiver providing transportation? Does the provider conduct state and national background checks? Is each caregiver checked against abuse and neglect registries? Is each caregiver fingerprinted? Does the provider provide for an introduction and orientation of any new caregiver to the client’s team? Will the provider replace any caregiver with whom the client is not fully satisfied? Does an unpaid, independent agency conduct random customer satisfaction surveys on both client and customer satisfaction? Are caregivers required to demonstrate fluency in the English language? Does the agency have written standards for appearance? Does the provider regularly review documentation logs? Will the Case Manager conduct home visits? Does the agency offer a free in-home assessment? Does the assessment include an evaluation of the home for possible safety concerns? Is the agency able to respond with same-day assessments when urgent care is needed? Does the agency handle all payroll, worker’s compensation, taxes, and immigration verification details for its clients? Are the caregivers actually employed and supervised by the agency, or merely contracted through a registry over which the agency has no direct supervisory capacity? Does the agency offer resources on the many different ways to pay for home care? Does the agency offer resources and referral to help clients obtain Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits? Does the agency participate in eldercare networks for the most current resource and referral information? Does senior staff offer the services of a Certified Senior Advisor? Does the agency gratefully acknowledge, but NEVER offer payment for professional and community referrals? Is there flexibility in the schedule to allow for family emergencies, holidays, and other unforeseen shift adjustments? Does the agency have a clear written process for receiving and resolving concerns and complaints if they arise? Is the agency accredited with the Better Business Bureau? Has the agency been recognized with local or national service distinction awards?   At Cascade Companion Care, we can answer yes to each of the above benchmarks, as these are the commitments we have made to our clients and community.  We invite you to compare these objective standards to any other home care alternative you might be considering, to ensure that your loved one is receiving the best care possible.