5 interview questions to ask a home health aide

Carelike Team | Preparedness, Home Care & Home Healthcare, | April 21, 2016

Many seniors choose to age in place, meaning they'd rather stay in their homes than an assisted living community. While either route can lead to a fulfilling retirement lifestyle, each involve different care professionals. For older adults who want to stay put, they may need to hire a home health aide.

If you're seeking a home health aide for your parent, finding the professionals through a reputable source is the first step to ensuring you have a reliable caretaker. However, you'll still want to conduct an interview to ensure he or she is the right fit. Here are a few questions to ask during this screening:

"Make sure working with senior clients is not a totally new experience."

1. Have you ever worked with a senior?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aides work with various clients, such as those with physical disabilities or cognitive impairment. To be sure, a diverse background demonstrates the individual's willingness to accept change and the ability to adapt to different work environments. However, you want to make sure that working with senior clients is not a totally new experience for this person, especially if your loved one has unique care needs like dementia.

Additionally, ask about what specific conditions the candidates have experience with, and get their perspective on the relationships they've built with former clients. These home health aides will be in your parent's living space and serve an integral part of his or her lifestyle, so you want to ensure these health care professionals demonstrate compassion and interest in the senior's needs.

2. What services could you provide in an emergency?
Whether in relation to your parent's health or a natural disasters, emergencies are unpredictable but often inevitable. The home health aide must be prepared to handle these situations appropriately. Does he or she know CPR? What steps would he or she take if the senior was unresponsive? The Mayo Clinic also advised you ask how will the individual will assist your parent in a power outage.

3. Why are you a home health aide?
Ideal candidates would answer that they enjoy the compassion and nurturing aspect as well as the medical technique required for the job. This way, you'll know they care about developing their skills and providing high-quality care, giving your parent the best experience possible.

4. Which part of the job description do you see as the biggest challenge?
Candidates won't want to disclose that they are uncomfortable about certain components of the job, but no one enters a new endeavor without some level of apprehension. Phrasing the question this way puts a positive spin on the query and may make the home health aide more inclined to share an honest response.

At the same time, don't get discouraged upon discovering the home health aide is nervous about something. Find out how the person has handled other challenges in his or her career path, and discuss how he or she could apply those skills to new tasks.

5. Do you have any questions?
If a candidate has queries of his or her own, this has two benefits. First, it shows initiative and creativity. You want a home health aide who is self-motivated, as he or she will likely be working independently. Additionally, it creates an opportunity to bring up any issues you hadn't considered.