Panama City, FL- When an older adult is unable to care for themselves but want to stay in their homes, hiring a caregiver seems like a great alternative. But a prior study has shown that caregiver agencies don’t thoroughly vet their employees, so clients get inferior care and are sometimes harmed.
Results of the study
A 2012 study conducted by the Northwestern School of Medicine found that many caregiver agencies in the U.S. do not perform federal background checks, don’t drug test and don’t ensure caregivers are adequately trained. Researchers Below are some of the results of the study:
Just 55 percent of caregiver agencies across the U.S. conducted a federal background check.
Only one-third of agencies did drug testing. Some people will get jobs with such agencies solely to gain access to drugs. A caregiver who is high or impaired in any way can make mistakes that jeopardize the well-being of their elderly clients.
Only one-third tested for caregiver competency and agencies relied on feedback from clients to assess whether a caregiver has the necessary skills and experience.
Just 30 percent of agencies made regular visits to monitor caregivers and assess competency.
Fifty-eight percent of agencies counted on caregivers to self-report their skills and qualifications.
Background checks should include criminal history
Most employers today conduct background checks on any new hires by check their job references and calling former employers. They also often check a prospective hire’s credit rating, but not all caregiver agencies check an applicant’s criminal background.
Conducting a criminal background check can help an agency weed out any staff members who may have a criminal history that indicates they have victimized the elderly before, or if a prospective employee has been convicted of drug and theft-related charges. A thorough vetting process can prevent elder abuse and neglect by exposing a troubling history that could put the safety and well-being of an elderly person at risk.
What do I look for when choosing a caregiver agency?
If you are looking for a caregiver, elder care experts recommend you ask the agency the following questions:
What level of training does the assigned caregiver have? Education level?
Did you check each employee’s references?
Do you conduct a criminal background check?
What type of training do you offer?
How often does the agency do in-home inspections to ensure care quality?
Can a caregiver provide the level of care an elderly person requires?
Speak with an attorney
Trying to choose a caregiver can be difficult, and keeping up with the loved one’s care can be challenging. Sometimes, none of the steps you take keep your loved one from being abused or neglected. If your loved one is abused or neglected by a caregiver in their home or a long-term care facility, we recommend you consult with one of our attorneys who specialize in elder law. We have an experienced team of nursing home abuse lawyers in Panama City, Florida.