April 22, 2011
Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, (619) 997-2495
firstname.lastname@example.org or @PRProSanDiego
State Report Sounds Alarm on Hiring Caregivers for Seniors
Findings illustrate the risks of hiring caregivers through private ads
(San Diego) – California’s seniors are at risk when hiring caregivers through private ads, according to a report released by the state Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes today.
Investigators contacted individuals who posted ads on Craigslist for in-home care providers. According to the report, five individuals offering services had extensive criminal records including convictions for drug trafficking, major theft, burglary and prostitution.
The report also found that 27 percent of caregivers in 64 recent criminal cases involving seniors had previous convictions on their criminal record.
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, has provided non-medical private duty home care for for 27 years. She says it is vital to engage caregivers from a certified or accredited, bonded company that has successfully met state and national standards, with a substantial history and specific guidelines.
“This is one of the most critically important decisions you may ever make,” said Edwards-Tate. “Caregivers should be background checked, well supervised and well trained. When you hire a caregiver, you should be asking a lot of questions. An ethical, reputable private duty home care agency will gladly answer them all to your satisfaction.
While a 2008 state law (Senate Bill 692) allows seniors and their families to conduct criminal screening through the Department of Justice, the report found there is confusion about how to do so and the service is not user friendly.
“It’s impractical to ask a family to conduct their own criminal background checks,” said Edwards-Tate. “Even so, an individual is not under independent supervision and may not be properly trained. You also become liable for any issues that arise such as on the job, injuries, abuses or conflicts,” advised Edwards-Tate.
Edwards-Tate recommends following this Home Care Agency Checklist when engaging a caregiver for an older or disabled adult:
- Does the agency have a business license and any necessary state certifications?
- Are caregivers “employees,” making the agency responsible for paying all employee payroll taxes, as required by law?
- Does the agency provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, and Fidelity Bond Insurance (this is sometimes referred to as “theft” insurance)?
- Are criminal background checks performed on all employees?
- Are caregivers provided training in CPR, First Aid, and caregiving skills?
- Is there active management of the caregiver by a direct supervisor or manager who regularly visits the client and caregiver in the home or other living facility?
- Is there an established Plan of Care created for the client?
- Is there a 24-hour on-call number if there is any kind of emergency after hours or on weekends?
- Do you need a caregiver who speaks a specific language?
- Do you need a caregiver who can escort the client to doctor’s appointments, errands and social activities? What kind of transportation will be provided?
- If there is memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, is the caregiver qualified to work with a client suffering with these conditions?
- If there are physical disabilities or infirmities, is the caregiver physically capable and trained to manage the client safely?
- Does the agency work in cooperation with government and nonprofit social services and provide referrals to supplemental programs and services that may be available, such as those for veterans?
- Does the agency belong to and is active in the Private Duty Home Care Association of America (PDHCA)?
About At Your Home Familycare
Established in 1984, the mission of At Your Home Familycare is to make a positive difference in the quality of life for the communities it serves, especially on behalf of senior citizens, disabled adults, and youth, by providing caring, reliable, and affordable non-medical home care. Now celebrating its 27th year in business, AYHF is one of San Diego County’s Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses and Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in San Diego, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a featured contributor on Washington Times Communities and “The Rick Amato Show” on KCBQ AM Radio, San Diego, on aging and caregiving issues.
AYHF is online at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare The phone number is 888-FAM-CARE (326-2273).
Copyright © 2011 by At Your Home Familycare