Choosing a caregiver or nursing home for a family member is one of the most difficult decisions in life. It is a stressful, consuming task that is often made worse by the fact that a loved one has suffered a medical crisis. You may face great pressure to arrange care in a very short period of time.

However, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman suggests that you take the time to ask questions — and a lot of them. Below are some inquiries you should make to determine whether a caregiver’s services will meet your family’s needs and desires.

Questions To Ask Caregivers

  • How long have you been a caregiver?
  • Prior to starting your own business, where else did you work (hospital, nursing home, case manager, etc.)?
  • Do you like your job? Why?
  • Do you have another outside job?
  • When you’re gone, who is the substitute caregiver? Can I meet that person? What’s their background?
  • Who lives in the house? Family? Other residents?
  • What’s a resident’s typical day? When do they eat? What do they sleep?
  • What kind of activities do you offer (exercise, gardening, church, outings)?
  • Can I see your past Organized Health Care Arrangement (OHCA) annual surveys? (OHCA is a clinically integrated care setting where individuals typically receive health care from more than one health care provider. Members of an OHCA may agree to abide by the terms of a joint notice of privacy practices and to share Protected Health Information (PHI) as necessary to carry out treatment, payment, or operations relating to the OHCA.)
  • What have you been cited on in the past (deficiencies)?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • Are there open visiting hours?
  • Do you encourage family support?
  • Have you ever met or worked with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman?
  • What do you think this job is all about?
  • What would past residents say about you?
  • Do you have any references I can talk to?

Living in the community is supposed to be less a “medical’ model and more a “psycho-social model.” What does that mean and does that describe your home?

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • How home-like does the place appear to you?
  • What do you see? What do you smell?
  • Do the residents look happy?
  • How does the staff interact with the residents?
  • Does it feel like a family?
  • Are the residents well cared for? Safe?
  • Would I want to live here?

For more questions about care homes and other related facilities, please call the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman:

Executive Office on Aging No. 1 Capitol District
250 South Hotel St., Suite 406, Honolulu
(808) 586-7268