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Hiring the Best Caregivers for Your Aging Parents

August 6, 2012

This topic seems to be garnering significant attention in the news on a daily basis. Elder abuse, fraud, scams, inappropriate or dangerous care, under trained caregivers; these headlines scream from multiple newspaper and magazine articles frequently. How do you go about by-passing the bad caregivers and finding the good ones?

Believe me, there are qualified, compassionate, hard-working, and willing caregivers out there. Some work for home care agencies, others work as home  health aides, many work independently, not enough work as volunteers and the need grows greater every day.

Yes, there are under trained, uninvestigated, abusers out there. Unfortunately, there are too many of them. But this post is about how to find the right ones.

I’m going to put out a list once again. Some of it you’ve already seen before if you’ve been following this blog. Some of it may be new. Here’s the list:

Get recommendations from friends and family.

Talk to federal and state agencies on suggestions of how you can find the best, most qualified caregivers.

If there’s a nursing school in your area contact the office and see if any of the students are looking to pick up some extra money.

Insist on background checks and drug testing for any employee who comes to your home as a caregiver from an agency.

If you are hiring someone independently then pay for the background check and drug testing yourself. It’s worth the small monetary outlay to know there is no criminal background or addiction.

Follow your gut instinct when you are interviewing someone. If you feel uncomfortable, threatened, nervous, or intimidated chances are very good that this person should not be caring for your aging parents.

Be involved.

Participate in the Plan of Care.

Show up unexpectedly and at odd times.

Ask questions.

Report any signs that something is not working out.

I’m going to say that again: Report anything that isn’t working out.  Every state has a hotline number for reporting insufficient care provided by agency personnel. If you’ve hired the caregiver privately and feel things are out of hand then report to your local Health and Welfare office or Health and Human Services office. These numbers are found in your phone book under State Government.

If you have to fire a private caregiver then protect your parents by changing the locks and being sure that they understand the reasons not to have any type of contact with the former caregiver. If you have to fire an agency employee you may also want to take similar steps.

By being involved  and Starting the Dialogue with your parents about options for care as they age you can be prepared when the time arises. This allows you to interview potential agencies, get a feel for the services in your area, and get recommendations before hand. Decisions based on information gathered in a non-crisis situation are usually better thought out and more rational than last-minute crisis management as your parent is being released from the hospital or rehabilitation center.

This is a serious topic we will be re-addressing multiple times. Feel free to ask questions and share your stories so others are aware of the options.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2012 4:24 am

    I think one should ask for references also, and a list of credentials/job experience. All of your suggestions are spot on. Jane

    • August 7, 2012 8:46 pm

      Thanks Jane, yes these things are so important. I’m still having internet issues. Hopefully they will be fixed by Thursday evening and I’ll be in closer touch with you about some possibilities.

  2. August 7, 2012 7:42 am

    Great information! I think it’s also important to have the care recipient involved in the interview process, if possible, so that he or she can ask questions and get a “feel” for the potential caregiver’s personality and common interests they may share.

    Kelly Schaefer
    Artnip Dementia Signage for the Home

    • August 9, 2012 8:03 pm

      Yes Kelly,
      It is very important for the care recipient to be present at the interview. Not all can participate due to certain diagnoses, but they need to establish a sense of the caregiver. It’s important for the family or other person doing the interviewing to see the interaction as well and to follow their gut in terms of responses and interactions between the potential caregiver and the care recipient. Thanks for commenting.

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