There are, of course, all the obvious things... you check backgrounds, references etc. but most employers aren't allowed to give more than the dates of hire so references are usually not all that helpful.
My company offers a $150.00 bonus after the HHA has worked 250 hours for us. That is a huge incentive.
Still, you will always have the ones who quit without notice, no matter how well you interview. You can ask all the right questions, hire HHA's who seem wonderful, and often these will be the ones who turn out the worst and are no call, no shows. And frequently the HHA's that I had reservations about and almost didn't hire turn out to be the best. After hiring for several years, I think it's really just a crap shoot. I often just go by my gut feelings. If something rubs me wrong, if I sense an attitude problem, like if they treat me politely (they have to!) but treat my office staff rudely during the hiring process, they are out. I won't hire someone who is late for an interview with me and doesn't call to tell me they are running late or having a problem getting there on time. (if they can't make it to an interview on time, they won't make it to a clients on time) I steer clear of job hoppers and I won't hire someone who didn't give a 2 week notice before leaving a past job. I have had many people tell me during a job interview
how awful their boss/supervisor/past agency was and how they just had to quit because it was so terrible. When I question them about this, what I often find patient abandonment clear and simple, which shouldn't be tolerated no matter what the reason. Heck, I might just tick them off too!
Just today, we called a doctor's office to question something he had written on a potential employees mandatory physical exam that we misunderstood. Based on what we thought it said, we had told the HHA she didn't qualify for hire. It turned out that we had read it incorrectly. The HHA got very nasty with the doctors office when she called them after we told her we couldn't hire her. The doctor's nurse very apologetically called to clear up what was written and told us the HHA had gotten angry and hung up on her. I didn't hire her because of that. There was no need for her to be rude.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer. I wish there was! I hope some of these tips help. Good luck!