4 qualities to look for in a home health provider

Carelike Team | New Caregivers, Home Care & Home Healthcare, | July 26, 2016

Hiring a home health provider for your senior loved one can be an intimidating experience. You want to ensure that you have the best person for the job, which means they need to meet certain qualifications. Beyond having the right credentials - that is, the appropriate education and certifications - they should also have the necessary skills and personality traits. Here are a few to look for during the hiring process:

Good communicator
How well does the candidate convey his or her ideas? If you find you're more confused after asking a question to the home health aide than you were beforehand, he or she may not be the best at effectively communicating. Don't overlook this detail - the home health aide may have to relay information to you or your loved one's doctor. Doing so in an effective manner can ensure the senior gets the best care possible.

For example, imagine if the home health aide didn't speak up about a concern regarding the senior's lack of appetite. You could go for far too long without realizing there was a problem!

You no doubt want the senior in your family to spend time with someone who shows empathy and emotional support, so don't hire a cynical home health aide! Consider the candidate's demeanor during your initial conversation. Does the individual smile and shake your hand? Did you two make small talk before diving into the interview? Those interpersonal skills are crucial for making the home health care experience positive for everyone involved.


Senior holding hands of home health aide.

Hire a home health aide who shows compassion.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, integrity is an important trait among home health providers. After all, these individuals are helping the senior with personal activities like dressing and bathing, and you want your loved one to feel comfortable during this process. Plus, you want peace of mind knowing you're leaving older adult with someone who will always be honest.

This trait can be hard to spot - everyone will say they're trustworthy, after all. To really evaluate whether candidates are the right fit, ask them to describe a situation in which they came to an ethical dilemma. How did they overcome the situation?

Able to work under pressure
While most shifts spent caring for your senior loved one may involve leisurely afternoons at the park or helping with daily living activities, others might not be as smooth sailing. Be sure that the home health aide you hire can work well under pressure so he or she will be ready to act in an emergency. Always ask what steps the individual would take if your loved one falls or becomes seriously ill. This will give you a more realistic picture.

As long as the home health provider's resume checks out and he or she has these traits, you should be in good shape!