If you are searching for “senior in-home care near me” and living in the Dallas, TX & Fort Worth TX area, then you will want to know the three most important questions that rarely get asked in the service inquiry process. This is based upon my 33+ years experience as a provider of senior care in homes, and 14+ years as Director of Care Mountain home health agency, which is a 24 hour in-home care and home health care provider in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex.
There are many good in-home care agencies, such as Care Mountain, in the Dallas – Fort Worth area! At least twice weekly on average though, I get a service inquiry call from someone who is in unhappy with their current home health agency and wanting to change. I feel if they would have asked, among their other questions, these three things they would have likely avoided their dissatisfying situation. Unfortunately, these three questions are rarely asked and are some of the most important determinants of quality of service for senior in-home care by a home care agency.
First question is, “How much do you pay your caregivers and what is their rate of turnover?”. Just because the home health agency is charging you a lot, doesn’t mean they are giving a lot of that to the caregivers. Some agencies give less than half what you pay to the agency to the caregivers. In the current very competitive DFW labor market you can not attract and retain the best caregivers without paying them well! The industry average caregiver turnover rate for home health agencies is 84% (Care Mountain is averaging 4%)!
Second question is, “What can you tell me about the experience and tenure of the agency owner(s) and Administrator?”. The owner(s) and Administrator are the two most important leadership roles for determining the culture and standards of the agency. A lot of DFW home care agencies are being bought up by owners whose interest is mainly financial and have little or no experience in this industry. Combine that with an Administrator without the experience or tenure that demonstrates a true passion for this line of work, and you now can NOT expect the best experience (Care Mountain’s owner & Administrator has 33+ years in this line work and 14+ years as current Administrator).
Third question is, “Are you State licensed and what is your inspection and complaint history?”. While some companies providing in-home care are not State licensed, those that are licensed undergo inspections and audits to ensure they are meeting high quality of care standards. Results of these recent audits and inspections can be found online at the Texas Health & Human Services Commission Long-term Care Provider Search or the Texas Health & Human Services Commission website on aging, where as for an unlicensed company you are depending heavily upon online reviews and unverifiable standards of home care to determine expected quality.
From my experience, most all of the people I have talked with wanting to switch agencies could have avoided this situation had they only asked these three questions in addition to typical due diligence. Hope this article can save you the stress of caregiver turnover and having to find another home health agency.