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Hiring In-Home Caregivers: 5 Tips to Help You Navigate the Industry
Need to hire a caregiver? You aren’t alone! The CIP team shares our top five recommendations for navigating the caregiving industry and finding reliable in-home care in the Upper Peninsula, MI.
If you’re in need of in-home care services for the first time—either for yourself, a parent, a child, or another loved one—you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind. And given the complexity of the caregiving industry, you might have a lot of questions even if this isn’t your first time navigating the system!
The CIP is here to help. Whether you’re new to caregiving hiring or have been through it many times before, we want to help you find qualified caregivers for yourself or your loved ones.
When evaluating Marquette home care agencies (or elsewhere in the UP), start with these five essential tips.
1. Know the Legalities of the In-Home Care System
First things first, there is no licensing requirement for home health agencies (HHA) in the state of Michigan. There are recommended best practices for in-home care services, but there is little oversight of these practices and adherence, or not, is left up to the individual company.
Because there is weak oversight and the industry often incentives profit over people, some home care companies will cut corners on:
- Training and mentoring new caregivers
- Caregiver hiring processes (background checks, interviews, etc.)
- Proper compensation for hours worked
- Communication with clients
2. Do Not Assume Good Intentions
We all want to think the best of people, especially those whose entire business revolves around providing care for people who otherwise may not be able to live independently, safely, or happily.
After all, people who are called to provide care must be caring….right?
Unfortunately, we have to set aside that mindset when it comes to hiring a caregiver for in-home help. You need to accept (and even assume!) that some Marquette/UP home care agencies do not have your best interests at heart.
It’s a sad truth, but it’s one that can save you a lot of headache and heartache as you go through the caregiver hiring process.
3. Ask Questions About Everything
To find a reputable and professional agency for Upper Peninsula, MI home care, the best approach is to ask questions. Ask questions, get answers, and then ask more questions about those answers!
Here are some good questions to start with:
- How do you train new hires?
- What is your compensation structure and pay schedule for your caregivers?
- Is your company insured?
- What is your turnover rate?
- How do you acquaint new caregivers with clients’ backgrounds and needs?
- Do all caregivers have access to timely supervisory support?
- What is your policy if a caregiver finds themselves in a situation outside of their comfort level, skill, or professional training?
- How do you communicate any changes in caregiver schedules/assignments?
- What are your shift schedules for caregivers? (Minimum, maximum, average, etc.)
- How do you handle no-shows? What happens if our caregiver does not arrive on time?
The purpose of these questions are twofold.
First, you’ll understand how the agency works and what professional standards, if any, are enforced.
Second, you’ll be able to quickly gauge the agency’s attitude toward your questions. Is the representative/manager open, honest, and understanding of your concern? Or are they quick to dismiss your questions with vague answers?
4. Be Clear on the In-Home Care Services You Need
There are many different types of caregiving, and not all caregivers are equipped, trained, and/or willing and able to provide certain types of care.
Before speaking with in-home health care agencies (in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, or anywhere else), it’s a good idea to get clear on the kinds of services you are seeking, as well as the weekly time input. This can help ensure that the company or individual you’re hiring is matched to the needs you have.
Some common in-home assistance services might include:
- Grocery shopping
- Meal preparation
- Review of mail
- Communicating with family, medical staff, etc.
Tip: Check out the CIP family caretaker agreement for an idea of what a private contract might look like.
5. Understand How to Pay for In-Home Care
If paid privately, the cost of home care can be prohibitive for many families in the UP. Fortunately, there are state and federal programs available to help children and adults with disabilities pay for home health care.
Some of these programs include:
- MI Health Link
- Home Health Program (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)
- State Disability Assistance, or SDA (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)
Unfortunately, these programs can be a serious maze to navigate, as each has its own application processes, proof requirements, and provider restrictions.
Many families combine state and federal funding if possible with other funding sources, such as long-term care insurance, disability insurance, or personal savings.
Need Help Navigating Michigan’s In-Home Care Services?
If you need help navigating the UP/Marquette in-home care system—whether it’s getting connected with a local agency or figuring out a workable means of funding care assistance—the CIP would love to help you.
Please explore our Care Close to Home service to see how we can help.