How to Interview a Care Worker for a Loved One

If you are a busy person caring for a loved one, finding good quality home care support will be important to you. Whether you need full-time care or a little extra care to fill the gaps when you can’t be there, it’s a big decision. Here is a bit of guidance on how to interview care workers, and what sort of questions you may want to ask them that will help decide who best meets your needs.

Here is a bit of guidance on how to interview care workers, and what sort of questions you may want to ask them that will help decide who best meets your needs.


Pre Interview

There are a few things to work out before interviewing any care worker candidates. Identifying what you want and the type of support required is an important consideration.

Keep it Local

Having a home care worker located nearby that services people in your neighbourhood, means they will have less problems providing back-up when they are unavailable. With Better Caring’s platform you are able to search by postcode and select candidates who live nearby to your loved one.

Ensure lawful employment of care worker

Home care workers need to be covered by public liability insurances and have undergone criminal checks. Those who are self-employed, are responsible for organising their own income tax and superannuation. Understanding how your care worker is employed and paid is critical to the safety of your loved one and your potential liability. Better Caring makes it easy to employ independent care workers on a contractor basis. There is no misunderstanding of a care worker being mistaken for an employee – and all the legal obligations (e.g., tax and super payments) that go with that. We cover those operating on the platform with public liability, professional indemnity and group accident insurances. All care workers are carefully screened before being accepted onto the platform.

Find out about transport arrangements

A big need for many families is to provide transportation for their loved one to doctors’ appointments, physical therapy sessions, church or temple, social events, entertainment and recreation. You will need to decide if you want the care worker to use their own vehicle or yours. To avoid liability, if care workers are using their own cars you will need to check if their vehicle is insured (we recommend siting the paper yourself). If using your family’s vehicle, make sure to verify appropriate coverage with your car insurance provider. Better Caring makes it easy to identify whether a care worker has their own car, Driver’s Licence, car insurance – this is clearly displayed on Better Caring’s care worker profiles.

Know the level of care you need

There are three levels of care provided by Better Caring (and other home care agencies): domestic and social care, personal care and nursing care. Domestic and social care includes meal preparation, light housekeeping and assistance with daily activities such as letter writing, reading, and entertainment. This level of care is designed to provide peace of mind for the client and the family. At the domestic level of care the carer generally does not touch the client.

Personal Care includes the basic Activities of Daily Living – eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and continence. This level involves hands-on care and requires a higher level of training than companion care.

Nursing Care is provided by a licensed skilled professional such as a nurse, licensed practical nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. Better Caring makes it easy to identify care workers who have the right level of skills, experience and qualifications needed to support your loved one. All Better Caring care worker profiles clearly display their background, diplomas and services offered. After hours support is critical The rule of thumb in home care is that the worst situations only occur nights, weekends, or on holidays.

Home care is a 24/7/365! You will want to have an understanding of the availability of your home care worker outside of regular business hours, and how contactable they will be. Better Caring care workers publish their hourly rates for weekend, overnight and after hour care – making it clear upfront what the potential costs would be if you needed additional support outside of regular business hours. These costs are very competitive when compared to traditional home care agencies – often up to half the cost.

Compare rates

Providing home care is expensive and home agencies will charge you accordingly. Independent care workers set their own fees – and these can vary considerably.

Experienced care workers provide a higher quality service and accordingly usually charge more. In the end, you get the kind of service you pay for. Better Caring makes invoicing procedures and payments easy. We invoice weekly and expect to be paid immediately so that we can pay the care worker immediately. If you don’t pay, the care worker doesn’t get paid. Paying on time will keep your valuable care worker happy and motivated. It’s a relationship Inviting someone into your home to provide care can be a great experience for you, your family, and the care worker. You will become an inter-dependent group of people who each have a role. Identify a quality home care worker that will support that relationship.

The Interview

Better Caring screens all care workers operating on its platform before accepting them into the Better Caring community as an independent care worker. We check their Police/criminal record, and we contact their referees for a reference. For care workers offering personal care services, they are also required to provide relevant qualifications, which we check. We’re picky because we only want the best care workers – so we don’t accept all care workers who apply to join the platform.

Nevertheless, when seeking to hire a care worker, your own due diligence is advised. We recommend you interview candidates carefully before hiring. An initial interview can be conducted over the phone, and if satisfactory you can then meet him or her in person (this could be in a public place like a coffee shop if you have concerns). If things feel like a good fit, you will then want to introduce the care worker to your loved one. What tasks do you want the care worker to perform? It’s important to know what tasks you want the care worker to do.

Prepare the care worker for the interview

Before conducting the interview, you will need to provide the care worker with some basic information about the job you want done, that he/she can determine if he/she has the right skills for the job. Basic information to provide to a care worker before the interview includes your relationship to the person needing care; how old the person is; why he or she needs a support service; whether he or she has a disability or other health condition; where the person needing care lives; what days and hours are needed; if any manual lifting is required; if there is any equipment to be used such as bed lifts, incontinence pads etc; the types of care and support being sought: showering, cooking, cleaning etc; and whether a Drivers Licence and/or car is required.

Example interview questions to ask care workers:

  • Why do like being a care worker?
  • How would you respond if a client were verbally and physically aggressive towards you?
  • Do you have a driver’s licence and clean driving record?
  • Do you have reliable transportation and insurance?
  • How far from here do you live?
  • What are your responsibilities outside of work?
  • Do you have to account for the schedules or needs of others in your working day or week, or are you flexible?
  • Will you be working on other jobs that might be affected if I’m delayed getting back?
  • Would you be available for respite care, or to stay over for a long weekend?
  • Do you smoke? (Many people say they don’t smoke but they do -offer an outside smoking area and insist it be used).
  • What certification or training do you have? Do you have any First-Aid training?
  • Here is a list of expected care-related duties -is there anything on the list that poses a problem or concern?
  • Are you comfortable with pets?
  • Are you comfortable with my (parent/spouse) having guests or other family members stopping by?
  • Have you ever cared for someone with (conditions relatable to your loved one’s care: memory problems, elderly, wheelchair bound, etc.) before? If so, please elaborate.
  • Will you be comfortable driving my parent’s car if need be, or using your own car to run errands if we request it?
  • What are your expectations for holiday time, and are you willing to help find coverage for the days that you need to take off?
  • Are there any restrictions in the number of hours, days per week or special consideration in scheduling?
  • Are you able to work the hours needed?
  • When are you available to start working?
  • After a trial period, would you be willing to commit to (fill in a time frame – 6 months to a year is common)?
  • What holiday plans do you have in the next 12 months?
  • Example scenario questions that help you find the best care worker:
  • How would you handle it if my mother wakes up and doesn’t want to get dressed or eat her breakfast-but she has a doctor’s appointment later that morning?
  • If my father is running a fever and is acting lethargic and you think there’s blood in his urine, what would you do?
  • If I’m not at home and can’t be reached, what would you do then?
  • My aunt falls, seems confused, doesn’t recognize you and won’t let you help her. She’s combative, what do you do?
  • You get lost on the way to a client’s house, you are extremely late and very frustrated. What do you do?
  • You have a personal family emergency, but you are scheduled to be at my mother’s in an hour. What do you do?
  • It’s Friday evening, your car is starting to act up, you are scheduled to be at my uncle’s home first thing Monday morning, you’re pretty sure it will be okay, but you’re not positive. What do you do?
  • You arrive at my father’s home. He is very upset, irritable, starts yelling at you for no apparent reason and tells you to leave, he does not want you there. What do you do?
  • Just say my father really loves you, he wants to give you money or an expensive present to show you how much he appreciates you. What would you do?
  • If my father falls in the house while you are assisting to transfer him, what would you do?
  • What if my father refuses to take his medication? What do you do?

Post interview

If you have been happy with the responses gained during the interview, the next step is for you to set up a time for the prospective care worker to meet with the person who needs the care. This will ensure that they both feel comfortable with one another and that their personalities will fit well together.

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