Choosing a caregiver for your loved one is a big undertaking, and the interview is critical for figuring out whether or not the potential caregiver will be a good fit for your loved one. To help you out, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of questions to ask prospective caregivers, divided into four categories: basic questions, general caregiving experience, particular medical and memory conditions and daily activities.
While this list is a great starting point, keep in mind that you should also use it as a jumping off point to ask questions specific to your loved one’s situation. If you will need the caregiver to administer medication or do a laundry load of hospital gowns and hospital socks every day, then ask them about that. Every agency and every private caregiver is different in terms of the services that they provide, so you should always clarify everything upfront before making your final decision.
Table of Contents
- Tell me about your time at [insert school, training program or former employer here].
- How do you communicate with the family? How often will you communicate? What will you do if you can’t get in touch with a family member?
- Do you have a specialization or certifications I should know about? Are you certified in CPR, and is the certification current?
- What does your availability look like? Are you able to work the days and hours we need you to?
- Do you have a driver’s license and a clean driving record? And do you have reliable transportation and car insurance?
- Are you willing to undergo a [background check, credit check, drug test, etc.]? If so, is there anything you want to tell me before I run the check?
- May I contact your former employers as references? If so, what is their contact information?
- Are you licensed and bonded? If so, can you provide proof of that or contact information so I can verify it?
- Are you comfortable with pets? Do you have any allergies to them? [if applicable]
- Do you smoke?
- Are you up to date on your vaccinations?
- We have some house rules, such as [no smoking inside the house, no guests allowed, etc.]. Are you willing to comply with those rules?
General Caregiving Experience
- Tell me about your experience working as a caregiver?
- What made you decide to become a caregiver?
- If you switched from another career into caregiving, why did you make the switch?
- In your opinion, what are your strengths and weaknesses as a caregiver?
- Do you tend to be quiet or talkative, and how do you manage clients who are the opposite of your style?
- How often do you update care plans? How do you know when/if an update is necessary?
- Tell me about your previous employers. What did you like and dislike about them? [This will let you see if they breach confidentiality or bad mouth former employers.]
- Tell me about a time when you dealt with a challenging client. How did you overcome those challenges?
- What type of client do you find the most difficult to handle, and why? How do you manage these difficulties?
- Why do you want to work as a private caregiver rather than through an agency?
- Have you previously worked for an agency? If so, what was that experience like for you?
- As a private caregiver, what are your expectations for time off? Will you help us find a substitute caregiver for the days when you can’t work?
- How would you respond if a patient refuses care? [This is common in patients with dementia.]
- Being a caregiver can be a draining career. How do you take care of yourself and find work-life balance?
- What services do you charge extra for?
- Have you done any ongoing training to keep your skills sharp?
- Do you have any experience helping clients with [your loved one’s condition]?
- My loved one often does/experiences [seizures, episodes of confusion, etc.]. How would you deal with this situation?
- Can you give an example of a time you dealt with [insert stressful situation here]? Can it be related to your loved one’s condition [i.e. dementia patients wandering off]?
- Are you willing to take my loved one to the doctor or other health appointments?
- Will you help my loved one take their medication at home?
- Will you provide wound care and other post-surgery care? [if applicable]
- Will you be able to safely lift or otherwise move my loved one if necessary? Do you have experience caring for seniors with mobility limitations?
- Do you know how to operate [insert medical device here]?
- What type of personal care do you provide? Are you willing to help with dressing, bathing and/or toileting as needed?
- What household chores are you willing to help with? Can you give me some examples of household tasks that fall outside your scope of work? [Some agencies only allow light housekeeping tasks, not deep cleaning.]
- Are you willing to drive my loved one to appointments or run errands on their behalf? Will you be comfortable driving their car if necessary? Do you expect reimbursement for mileage if you have to drive your own car?
- My loved one struggles to feed themself and needs to wear an adult bib. Are you comfortable helping them eat?
- Do you have experience cooking? What meals do you cook? Do you have experience following a nutritional plan or accommodating certain dietary needs? [if they will be preparing meals for your loved one]
- My loved one is lonely and enjoys chatting with their caregivers. Are you open to providing companionship and emotional care?
Use this list of questions to help you find an experienced caregiver for your loved one. It often takes multiple interviews until you find the right caregiver, so don’t give up and keep trying until you find a great candidate!