When your loved one opens his or her home to a new caregiver, the No. 1 hope is for that individual to become not only an aid but a friend, as well. A recent study, however, revealed that hiring a caregiver can open up the unfortunate opportunity to a host of concerns.
The study, recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and funded by the National Institute on Aging, revealed poor hiring and screening practices by home-care agencies around the nation. According to an article published by NextAvenue.com, which summarized the study’s findings, including the responses of 180 surveyed agencies, many hired random responders to Craigslist postings for placement in elderly individuals' homes. Regretfully, many new-hires also hadn’t been subjected to criminal background checks or drug tests. Forty-five percent, in fact, hadn’t been put through a federal background check, which is considered to be one of the most important portions of a screening process.
“People have a false sense of security when they hire a caregiver from an agency,” Dr. Lee Lindquist, an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the lead author of the study, said in a statement. “There are good agencies out there, but there are plenty of bad ones, and consumers need to be aware that they may not be getting the safe, qualified caregiver they expect.”
To pick from the best possible job candidates, Freedom Home Care recruits directly from certified nursing assistant schools and does not rely on websites, such as Craigslist. Each and every Freedom Home Care caregiver has gone through a rigorous screening, which includes fingerprint background checks, criminal and
federal background checks and requested drug testing.
The survey also revealed that an unacceptable 58.5 percent of the agencies merely relied on self-assessments when determining whether an applicant was qualified for the job. At Freedom Home Care, however, potential caregivers are asked to not only describe their qualifications but are also asked to prove them through a series of pre-employment tests designed specifically for the field of in-home caregiving. Freedom Home Care wants to be sure that when they walk into a new patient’s home, that they are more than qualified no matter the individual’s ailments.
“Once caregivers are in patients' homes, they are indifferently supervised,” explained the editors at NextAvenue.com “Lindquist found that only about 30 percent of agencies sent supervisors into homes at least once a month to evaluate the quality of care. Many instead relied on ‘client feedback’ for evaluations, which is typically understood to mean depending on patients or families to report errors made by home-care aides. But families are not generally around regularly to make thorough observations, and, as Lindquist puts it, ‘How do you expect a senior with dementia to identify what the caregiver is doing wrong?’”
To ensure high-quality care is delivered to all of Freedom Home Care’s clients, supervisors make regular visits to the homes – and often they come unannounced. Not only are they sent out to ensure that caregivers are doing their jobs properly but also to talk to clients to get face-to-face feedback about their experience with Freedom Home Care. This type of personal interaction is truly important to everyone at Freedom Home Care.
When the day comes when you are faced with the proposition of hiring an in-home caregiver for your loved one, we here at Freedom Home Care encourage you to talk to us about all of the items discussed in the National Institute on Aging’s study. We want nothing more than for you to feel comfortable and confident in your decision.