Three Steps for Choosing a Care Provider

Attorney Doug Lauenstein discusses the important factors that should be considered when choosing a care provider for an adult.

If your loved one suffers from dementia and a care provider is needed, you must do the proper research to ensure they are safe and as independent as possible in the right environment. There are three main considerations to make when choosing the most suitable candidate as a care provider.

  1. Assess care needs. The first step in picking the best care provider is understanding the severity of the situation. Make sure to involve the person with dementia in main decisions as best as you can.

The level of care required depends on several factors. Ask yourself how independently he or she can eat, walk, use the restroom and bathe. Staying educated on the way dementia progresses will help you to assess current needs and plan for the future. Early stages of dementia may allow the person to remain independent to some degree. Middle stages of dementia may require 24-hour supervision and in late stages, round-the-clock care may become necessary. Consider safety, health, care and social engagement, and bear in mind the likelihood that additional services are likely to be needed as the condition progresses.

  1. Contact providers. Once you have analyzed the situation thoroughly, it is time to ask for referrals. A good place to begin the search is the Alzheimer’s Association nearest to you. Another excellent referral source is the patient’s current doctor, who should be very familiar with both the care needs and local options. Senior centers, other caregivers and people you know who have dealt with similar situations are other possible sources for referrals.

Contact each provider and describe the situation. Explain expectations and goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding qualifications, types of services offered, cost and hours of availability. The more information you gather at this stage, the easier it will be to choose the perfect care provider. Be sure to have the following information prepared when speaking with the care provider candidates:

  • Name
  • Patient’s physician’s name and number
  • Diagnoses and other health/behavior care needs
  • Insurance coverage including Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance
  1. Interview providers. After you’ve received referrals and narrowed down your options, it is time to screen the providers. Interviewing potential providers will lead you to your final decision, so it is important that you have a list of questions prepared.

Be sure to understand whether the provider offers the specific services needed by the person with dementia. Review care plans as well. How are care plans created, and how are they revised as needs change? Both the family and the person with dementia should be involved to the greatest degree possible. Know whether the staff is trained specifically in dementia care or has experience working with patients who have dementia. Be certain that credentials have been verified.

Regarding staff, ask the agency whether they complete background checks on all staff and personnel. Ask the agency for references, and use them to contact families and ask about their experiences first-hand. If at all possible, arrange a meeting with staff for an on-site visit if you’re interested in adult day or residential care.

If your loved ones are in need of a care provider, it is vital to complete the proper research to ensure their experience is safe, professional and comfortable. By following these three steps, you will be that much closer to finding the right match. For more information regarding care providers, please contact Doug Lauenstein at