Employment as a Senior Caregiver

Working as a senior caregiver brings fulfillment beyond a paycheck.

Companion Caregiver positions are available along with certified positions for nursing aides and some states provide certification for home health aides.

View Caregiverlist's tutorial videos to learn about working as a senior caregiver and the job application process.

Senior Caregiver Employment

Caregiver jobs with professional senior care companies provide training, active management of care plans and ongoing fulfillment as part of a caregiving team.

What type of companies hire senior caregivers?

  • Senior Home Care Agencies
  • Assisted Living Communities
  • Nursing Homes
  • Hospitals
Care facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals must maintain a certain number of Certified Nursing Aides on staff according to the number of patients who are admitted.  Because of this, these senior care companies will hire a senior care agency to be a back-up staffing resource.

Part-time and full-time positions are available as some seniors need around-the-clock care.

Review caregiver resumes, create your own and apply for a senior caregiver position near you.  You may also learn about training and find Certified Nursing Aide schools near you.  At the recent National Association of Home Care and Hospice Private Duty Leadership Conference in Long Beach, California, president Val J. Halamandaris said that senior care would continue to be move to the home.  This means jobs in senior care will be a secure career path as the industry continues to grow.

Caregiver Jobs

Senior care jobs provide flexible schedules, fulfilling sense of accomplishment at the end of the day and opportunities for advancement.

No experience is required, other than personal experience and a caring personality, for many companion caregiving or activity coordination positions.  Certification for nursing aides can be obtained in as little time as 6 weeks.

Learn about caregiver training, caregiver job descriptions and apply for a part-time or full-time senior care job near you at Caregiverlist's Career Center.

Wall Street Journal Sues for Access to Medicare Payment Info

Medicare fraud has finally been grabbing some attention now that tax revenue has decreased and the federal and state governments are in need of more money to pay their bills.

Medicare has paid out fraudulent claims that amount to $6 billion.  Medicare, the health insurance for American seniors, pays for medical doctor visits, hospital stays, some medical treatment programs, some prescription drugs, nursing home care for up to 100 days and skilled home health care visits.  Some of the common systems that a private company would create to control abuses were not in place for many Medicare programs.  In addition, the good ol' lobbyists are in full force for all of the companies profiting from Medicare and Medicaid to make sure donations are made to the right politicians and letters are written to keep the laws regulating Medicare and Medicaid services and their payment systems flowing.  They oddly, aren't raising the flag for more accountability as any CEO of a private company would be doing as a normal part of operations if they saw a flaw in their systems. 

Technology can monitor every move we make and there are many effective ways to set up systems so that all Medicare services and payments are efficiently monitored and accounted for with digital tracking and accountability programs.  Private pay home care companies effectively provide services in the home that are monitored with telephone and computer technology programs.  These computer programs enable the caregiver to be paid for the exact amount of hours worked and for the senior to be billed for the exact amount of hours worked.  The caregiver just calls in from a telephone and the info goes into a live web based software tracking program - cell phone tracking is also available.

Private companies can't over bill and under serve because they are efficiently tracking the service and seniors and their families wouldn't over pay (it is easier to get money from a Wall Street bank than an extra $10 from a 90-year old lady who is paying out of her own pocket).

It would be really cool to also track the time a senior is with a medical doctor - super easy to have a credit card type system where the senior swipes the card upon arrival and when they leave.  This would be par for the course for a private company - seems to make sense to have accountability for programs funded by our tax dollars, just as we would for a private company.

Check out the costs of nursing homes in your area as well as their performance and perhaps one of the positive aspects of the changes to health care will be more accountability systems put in place.

Good luck to the Wall Street Journal in their Freedom for Information act pursuit of the Medicare payments to doctors.  This is year 2011 and technology allows for easy accountability and could make a positive difference in money for health care being paid for actual health care and not to doctors nor companies looking for a free pay day.

Farewell to Sargent Shriver, an Alzhiemer's Disease Awareness Advocate

Famous people sometimes take advantage of their status to do good and Sargent Shriver, who married into the Kennedy clan, did just this, along with his daughter, Maria Shriver.  After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2003, Sargent Shriver, the founder of the Peace Corps, shared his story and allowed his family to also talk about their experience.  He died on Tuesday at the age of 95.

Maria has produced a series of documentaries on Alzheimer's Disease, which aired on HBO.  She has also launched "The Shriver Report", a study on Alzheimer's with the Alzheimer's Association to help educate seniors and their families. 

Caregivers for seniors with memory loss can find resources and essays and understanding from others who are also impacted by this difficult disease.


Sample Caregiver Resume

Writing a resume as a senior caregiver presents unique challenges.  In addition to sharing your caregiving skills, you want to also allow your caring personality to come through in a resume format.

View an example of a caregiving resume and the build your own resume to make your caregiver job application stand out.  Caregiving positions are available part-time and full-time as well as for 24-hour live-in shifts and as many positions become available on short-notice, having a custom resume ready to go will increase your chances of being hired.  Apply for a caregiving job in your area and attach a caregiver resume to your job application.

You may also want to secure professional caregiver training to maintain your caregiving skills and promote to employers.

Senior Care Costs

Finding the costs of senior care can lead to a confusing, twisted road.  However, the basic fact to know is that seniors in the U.S.A. must privately pay for long-term senior care.

Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home, with the approval of a medical doctor and this usually qualifies after a hospital stay.

Because of this, many assume that Medicare pays for long-term care in a nursing home.

Medicaid, the health insurance for very low income seniors, does pay for long-term care in a nursing home.  A senior must qualify based on the state's Medicaid income and asset guidelines which usually are in the ball park of no more than $2,000 in assets and home ownership and car ownership can be exempt when there is a spouse as co-owner.

For effective senior planning, you will want to learn about the Medicaid financial qualifications in your state and also find the price for the daily rates of nursing homes in your area.  If you are able to stay in your own home, senior home care may be an option and you will also want to learn the costs and differences between hourly and live-in care.  Assisted Living communities offer services such as meals, housing upkeep and recreation but remember that one-on-one caregiving services are an additional cost.

Long-term care insurance does pay for nursing home care or senior home care but otherwise you must privately pay for senior care from your savings unless you have nearly no assets and little income and then you can qualify for Medicaid which pays for nursing home care.

Congress Considering Co-Pay for Medicare Skilled Care Visits for Seniors

Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing home care and also does not pay for caregiving services in the home.  However, Medicare does pay for skilled care visits in the home which are usually a temporary service to assist a senior in recovering from a stroke, hip replacement surgery or another medical condition which can improve with visits from a R.N., Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist and sometimes a Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A. visits contribute to only about 5% of Medicare skilled care visits - this is because seniors must privately pay for caregiving services).

A Congressional commission has suggested a new co-pay for Medicare home care visits, mostly as a way to combat abuses that have been taking place in the system.  What better way to keep home health agencies accountable than to ask seniors to chip in for the cost of the service, right?

It definitely is somewhat unfortunate that this is the only way the government can combat abuse and fraud but since Medicare fraud has been to the tune of $6 billion, it also definitely is a positive move that the government is trying to make some changes in the Medicare payment system for home health care.

The lobbying effort has begun and this is a battle the home health industry has fought and won before.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, known as MedPAC and established by Congress to advise members on Medicare payments and finances, voted 13-1 Wednesday to recommend the government health care program charge certain beneficiaries for 60-day “episodes” of home health treatment. The illustrated co-pay would total $150 per episode of care.

MedPAC analysis found Medicare spent $19 million in home health expenditures in 2009, paying for 6 million episodes of care among 3 million beneficiaries. The report highlighted growth in the industry, with over 3,800 new agencies established since 2000, and underscored unusually high usage in Texas, Florida's Miami-Dade County, and Louisiana.

The timing of the co-pay recommendation, which is expected to be a cost-saver, could lead to its inclusion in the president's budget, expected in February.

But lobbyists for the home health industry argue the government should not establish a co-payment for all beneficiaries, but instead focus an effort on specific counties and providers that are using home health services at two to three times the national average.

“A policy like this is akin to using a blunt instrument instead of a laser-like approach,” said one industry lobbyist. One industry suggestion would establish a moratorium on new home health agencies to target providers who defraud the system, as opposed to beneficiaries who may overuse the benefit. The healthcare overhaul law gives the federal government power to establish such a moratorium.

Home health associations also maintain that the co-pay will provide incentive for beneficiaries to go to the hospital, which is more costly for the Medicare program, instead of receiving cheaper home health care.

This is not the first time a potential co-pay for Medicare home health services has made its way through Capitol Hill: A cost-saving provision was on the negotiating table during the 2003 debate over the Medicare Part-D bill. Although the provision had a strong supporter in then-Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., in-party opposition from Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, stripped the provision from the final bill. With a new Republican majority in the House, history may bode well for those working to keep home health services free of co-pays.

However, this time around the Republicans have been campaigning for cost-savings for the budget, saying they want to reduce the deficit.  As this is an area where there seems to be some misuse of a benefit, along with the 13-1 commission recommendation, the co-pay provision could pass.

Caregiverlist provides the daily costs of nursing homes and the benefits provided for home care by Medicare.

 

Medicare Home Visit Benefit May Soon Require Senior Co-pay

Medicare pays for skilled home care visits currently, as long as a senior's medical doctor approves of the skilled home care which only includes visits by one of the following skilled professionals:  Registered Nurse (if there is an open wound or medical treatment that requires a R.N. to administer or monitor), Speech Therapists (S.T.), Occupational Therapist (O.T.), Physical Therapist (P.T.), and Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.).

These visits are approved for a short-time period to assist a senior in recovering from a medical condition such as a stroke or hip replacement.  The senior must be showing improvement for the visits to continue to be approved.

Yesterday, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommended that Congress implement a co-pay to discourage overuse of the free Medicare home health care "skilled" visits and  the fraud that it invites.

The current Medicare service for home health care visits have been plagued by fraudsters.  However, Congress must take responsibility for setting up a system where it was easy for fraud to take place.  For example, one of the reimbursements for home care provides a bonus $2,000 to Medicare home health agencies on the 10th visit.  The home health agency could then discontinue services - - - and oops, turns out most seniors have ended up needing exactly 10 visits.  However, we cannot entirely blame Medicare agencies for taking advantage of such a bonus, even if it does seem completely silly.  Typically, private companies set-up bonuses to be connected to performance.  Imagine if Microsoft or Wal-mart were tossing out an extra $2,000 bonus for the 10th day of service for one of their products.  Their shareholders would not allow this as bonuses are connected to going the extra mile to increase sales or deliver better quality.  Why the government would not do the same is confusing or maybe this is just the success of a profitable industry's lobbyists. 

This Wall Street Journal article profiles how one of the largest Medicare home care providers always tries to make sure seniors need a 10th home health visit in order to get the extra bonus.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission did not give an amount for the co-pay for the Medicare home health visits but has suggested the charge be $150 for a series of related visits.  The Congressional appointed commission voted 13-1 to recommend that lawmakers impose the new charge.

Medicare fraud has eaten up more than $60 billion (yes, billion with a "b").  Let your congressman know that you support changes in Medicare reimbursements so that your tax dollars can be spent on actual care for seniors (wouldn't an extra $2000 for a senior to pay for home care or for prescriptions be better than giving it to a Medicare agency who is gaming the system for 1 more visit?).

The Senate is investigating Amedisys , a home health care company which the Wall Street Journal provided an investigative report on profiling how they appear to be gaming the reimbursement system for home health visits.  The Senate also admits that the system does possibly have some flaws.

Reimbursement rates should be fair but not set-up to allow for $60 billion in fraud to take place and not set-up for a company to squeeze in one more visit for a bonus that is not connected to quality of care or achieving a performance milestone in delivering care.

The home health care industry does have a very strong lobby in Washington, D.C, funded partly by their association which has deep pockets from the healthy reimbursements the industry has been enjoying.

Seniors and caregivers should ask questions of home health agencies (the agencies providing the "skilled visits" - these are NOT the private duty home care agencies providing companion caregivers and nursing aides for home care).  Skilled care provided by the Medicare-reimbursed home health agencies is for brief visits for care provided by a  R.N., S.T., O.T., or P.T., along with a small portion of care by a Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.).  If you are a loved one or senior client are receiving home health care by a Medicare-reiumbursed skilled care agency, ask about their reimbursements and ask about their relationship with your medical doctor who approved the visits.  Find out if your doctor is on the home health care agency's Advisory Board - this is another practice where, under the table, the doctor is receiving a benefit for the referrals - it can all be legal on paper when done in the right way but is still not really ethical.  If a doctor receives recognition in any form (vacation trips, meals at restaurants), these are kick backs for referrals, even if it is identified as "advisory board" recognition.  As a senior's tax dollars are paying for Medicare, it is fair information to request in an effort to keep the system honest.  This also eliminates any need for an agency to be competitive in delivering quality care when they know all of their referrals are guaranteed from a certain doctor.

It is also fair to point out that some of these same lobbyists are against "Obama care"......as we have reported previously, the majority of senior caregivers do not have health insurance.  Many seniors in the U.S.A. have never had health insurance their entire life until they go onto Medicare/Medicaid when they retire.  Imagine how much money the government would save if these senior's had been having health care earlier and preventive health care.  It seems everyone in America should have access to affordable health insurance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Positive Emotional Experiences Helps Alzheimer's Patients

Caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease presents many challenges but interestingly, research results are showing that caregivers can make the biggest impact in keeping these seniors calm and satisfied with their daily routine.

The New York Times reports that one nursing home has found that giving chocolate and considering other preferences, such as time for eating, to these seniors, along with their favorite things, has resulted in successful therapy.  People's interactions are having more impact than any medication. 
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