1. Ask if the agency staff are dementia trained
Look for a home care agency that demonstrates a specialism and an extensive knowledge base within dementia. Look at who is running the dementia service and why it is structured the way it is, as well as the background and experience of the management team.
2. Ask for references from existing clients
This is wholly appropriate. If the agency can’t find a client who is willing to speak to you about the care they deliver then you should really start to question what the agency is like.
3. Look at the report on the CQC (Care Quality Commission) website before hiring a home care agency
This rates the home care service in five categories, notably whether it the care it offers is considered safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. Visit www.cqc.org.uk
4. Meet the person overseeing the care package and also the carers
It’s also worth checking if the client will receive the same carer, bar sickness or holidays. This is crucial with dementia where continuity can be difficult enough to sustain.
5. Ask how they would deal with the client being unwell or a medical emergency
The carer should be expected to alert the family and call the agency’s care manager when a client is ill and call the GP or dial 999 if they are really concerned.
6. Finally, be aware that care at home can involve much more than practical tasks like washing, dressing and making a person breakfast
Ask the agency if their carer will take the person with dementia out to social events where they can engage with friends or their local community, or even let the person with dementia assist them with some of the household tasks, like folding laundry, to build the person’s confidence and make them feel more empowered.