Making the decision to hire in-home help for your loved one is a big step, but you’re not done yet. You must also take the time to hire the right type of help that will give your family member the best chance at staying in their home. We’ve all heard the horror stories of less-than-average caregivers, but we can assure you that this isn’t the norm. Here are seven helpful tips for hiring the best in-home help possible.

1. Know What You Need

Home help ranges from companion care to assistance with light housekeeping to skilled nursing care. Assess your loved one’s needs, and if you’re not sure, ask their doctor for an assessment. Your loved one’s needs will change over time, but think about what they need today.

2. Choose a Reputable Agency

Although working with a caregiver may offer some reduced savings, you’ll be acting as an employer, and you will have the responsibility of checking referrals, confirming certifications and overseeing the caregiver on the whole. A reputable agency takes on these duties for you so that you can focus on being a family member, not an employer.

3. Ask about Caregiver Training

Ask the agency what types of training and certification requirements they have for their caregivers. Basic certification like CPR and First Aid gives you peace of mind that the caregiver could handle a small emergency with ease.

4. Ask about Caregiver Background Checks

Consult with the agency on how they hire their caregivers. For instance, many use background checks to screen their employees and check on referrals. Knowing the process the agency uses will make you feel more comfortable that the caregiver is properly screened.

5. Local and State Requirements

Certification requirements vary from state to state. Inquiring about these requirements and determining if the agency meets them will help you gauge reputability. Visit the Family Caregiver Alliance for more state specific information.

6. Caregiver Supervision

How are the caregivers supervised during their shifts? This is a big concern for families, and rightfully so. Ask the agency about drop-in visits from supervisors and other helpful tools that are used to determine quality care in the home.

7. Ask for References

Just as you would check the references for an individual caregiver, you should do the same with an agency. Reputable agencies will be able to provide you with referrals and testimonials from current and past families.