Certified Nursing Assistant Rescues Infant

The shootings in Alabama this week brought the spotlight to a Certified Nursing Assistant who came to the rescue of a 3-month old baby who was the one survivor on the front porch of the shooter's uncle's home.  With the baby's mother shot and killed,  along with four others, Alina Knowles quietly crept onto the porch to avoid being seen by the shooter and brought the baby to safety at a neighbor's house.

Her training helped her to respond with calmness to an emergency situation.

Many caregivers for seniors become certified nursing aides after a personal experience of caregiving.  Caregiverlist's "Share Your Story" allows caregivers to share their experience of caregiving and also tell about what lead them to provide care as a professional caregiver.  Caregivers working as Certified Nursing Aides learn how to cope with the emotional challenges of caregiving, as well as how to provide physical care assistance as well.

 

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Caregiver Interview Questions

Senior Home Care Agencies have created systems to effectively hire quality caregivers.  Nursing homes and Assisted Living communities also have hiring systems for Certified Nursing Aides.

Beyond the usual questions about experience and previous jobs you have held, hiring companies need this information to more quickly process your application:

1) Copy of Certificates for any specialized training (Certified Nursing Aide, Home Health Aide)

2) Copy of your identification: Driver's License, State I.D., Social Security card or Passport

3) Names and phone numbers of at least 3 personal references and 3 business references (can be a manager or colleague)

4) Names and addresses of former employers along with valid phone numbers for each

Note:  you may obtain non-medical caregiver certification through an approved 10-hour online caregiver certification course.

Caregiverlist receives many questions about the hiring process and most of these questions are answered on our FAQ's.  And, what do we think is the most important question for both the hiring company and the caregiver?  Finding out the reason the caregiver was attracted to working as a caregiver.  There are many types of work which will pay more than caregiving and the best caregivers are doing senior care for many reasons beyond a paycheck.  By finding out what these reasons are, you will learn more about the caregiver applicant and gain insight about their personal values.

 

 

 

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Economic Stimulus Addresses Nursing Shortage

Reportedly, President Obama was shocked to learn that one of the barriers for delivering quality healthcare in the U.S.A. is the shortage of trained nurses.  Lawmakers agreed that meaningful healthcare reform must address ways to solve the nursing shortage.  The economic stimulus bill includes $500 million to address the shortages of health care workers.  About $100 million of this will be targeting the nursing shortage.  One of the issues is not just the shortage of nurses for jobs a hospitals and nursing homes, but the shortage of nursing faculty to teach at college programs.

If you are considering a career in nursing, considering obtaining more education as a Certified Nursing Aide, Licensed Practical Nurse or Registerd Nurse, contact nursing programs in your area to find out if scholarship or grant programs are available.  Many community colleges will assist you in obtaining reimbursement for your education through employment at local hospitals who will agree to pay for your tuition as long as you agree to work for them for a certain amount of time. 

If you are a senior caregiver, you may want to explore becoming a Certified Nursing Aide, especially if you are able to have a community program foot the bill for your tuition.  Your additional caregiver training will assist you to be at the top of the list for job applications and receive higher pay.

 

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Medicare Coverage for Caregivers?

Former first lady Barbara Bush just exited intensive care at the Texas hospital where she received a new aortic valve for her heart.  At age 83, she will be able to recover and continue to enjoy an active life as an American senior.

This is a perfect example of why there is a continued need for caregivers for seniors.  Medical technology, combined with the Medicare insurance benefit which most seniors qualify for at age 65 (you or your spouse will need to have paid into the program through your payroll tax deductions for at least 10 years to qualify, which is another reason Caregiverlist advocates hiring senior caregivers through a senior home care agency so that the caregiver will receive proper payroll tax benefits and be able to receive social security and Medicare benefits when they retire).

Medicare Part A insurance provides seniors with:
  • Inpatient hospital care, for up to 90 days per benefit period and 60 lifetime reserve days

  • Skilled nursing facility care, for 100 days following a hospital stay of at least 3 days

  • Skilled Home health care, for up to 100 visits following a hospital stay of at least 3 days (PT, OT, ST, RN)

  • Hospice care in the home

  • Inpatient psychiatric care, for up to 190 days during a beneficiary's lifetime

Medicare Part B insurance provides:

  • Physician services (including doctor office visits, surgeries, consultations)

  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs; lab, diagnostic, and screening tests

  • Outpatient hospital services

  • Physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy

  • Outpatient mental health services
Medicare does NOT pay for non-medical caregivers to assist the senior at their home or for long-term care in a nursing facility (non-medical caregiver means companion caregivers and Certified Nursing Aides - they are considered non-medical as they are not  medical doctors or nurses but  they are the people who provide the hands-on care in a nursing home and hospital and provide home care. About 39 million seniors are currently covered by Medicare.

Maybe it is time for Medicare to begin providing at least a few weeks of coverage for a caregiver?  Especially since Medicare is willing to pay companies many times the wholesale rate for a power wheelchair, for example.  I do hope that President Obama's health care team will take a good look at where the dollars are going for Medicare benefits and perhaps find a way to include caregiving services, which are often the most needed services after recovering from major surgery or while coping with age-related illnesses.





Senior Care Jobs

Even with the slowing economy and the highest rate of unemployment in decades, there remains a strong demand for senior caregivers to meet the staffing needs of senior care companies.  Caregiverlist's Career Center connects caregiving job applicants to hiring companies in their area for both part-time and full-time senior care jobs.

Senior Home Care Agencies are constantly hiring caregivers due to some of the unique aspects of the industry: 

-Hospital stays are shorter:  a senior may be discharged while still needing some assistance while recovering from a hip replacement or other types of surgery or from an illness (and I won't even mention the fact that sometimes seniors take home a new infection from the hospital which requires a caregiver to assist them while recovering).

-Medicare will pay for rehabilitation in the home now:  Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and RN's will provide care in the home for a senior as long as the medical doctor gives approval.  However, these skilled professionals just provide rehabilitation care within their specialties and do not provide daily care for Activities of Daily Living which means non-medical caregivers must be hired to assist (and this is usually superior to staying in a nursing facility which does not provide one-on-care by a Certified Nursing Aide).

-Hospice care:  many times seniors who have a terminal illness will choose to have hospice care in the home and will require a caregiver to assist with their personal care.

-Memory loss:  with advancements in medical technology and treatments, seniors are living longer and the longer we live, the more our chances of having some type of memory loss increase.  Many times part-time care is required to keep everything on track for a senior suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.

Senior care jobs include working as a non-medical companion caregiver or Certified Nursing Aide or as a scheduler or recruiter for a Senior Home Care Agency to keep things moving as new clients begin services and as current client's care needs change.  Most Senior Home Care Agencies provide training and there are also many community programs and associations that provide training seminars on senior care.  Caregiverlist's short job application connects your information with multiple hiring companies in your area to help meet the ongoing staffing needs for senior caregivers.

 Some positions will require experience and others will only require a caring disposition and dependability.  Reference and background checks are always required the pay is always well above minimum wage (you can also learn all about background check requirements in your state as well as minimum wage on Caregiverlist's "by state" pages)

 

 

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Nursing Home Wrestling Incident: the Challenges of Memory Loss

Families who have needed to find care services for a senior suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia know the challenges of finding the right nursing community.  Many nursing facilities do not accept patients who have Alzheimer's Disease or dementia because they do not have proper facilities or staff to provide for adequate care.

The Minnesota incident of a former wrestler who mistakenly wrestled another resident, with injuries resulting in the eventual death of the resident, have brought to the table a new discussion about how best to provide for care for those seniors with memory loss.  There are no easy answers.  Fortunately, the wife of the resident who died also does not feel Minnesota wrestling legend Verne Gagne understood what he was doing.

Ask Caregivers who assist seniors with memory loss about the behaviors a senior with memory loss will act out and you will understand that it is not at all uncommon for someone to go back to performing a task they did many years ago.  And often it will especially be something that they performed over and over again in their earlier years.  And when these tasks are done in the wrong environment or with others, many accidents can happen.

When I owned a Senior Home Care Agency, one client with memory loss had the habit of going to his basement to work on his water heater because he had previously been an electrician.  Another client who was a bank teller was drawn to sorting papers constantly throughout the day and another client got up and dressed for work to go to the office every day - even though they never went anywhere. 

The Minnesota situation is very sad. Although at the same time, it is understandable that Mr. Gagne would go back to his wrestling days - he was very active in the industry and even helped launch the careers of pro wrestling legends Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura.  What do you think the best care options are for those with memory loss?

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Recession Provides Assisted Living Discounts

Today's Chicago Tribune features an interview with Caregiverlist's Senior Living Expert, Lisa Sneddon, discussing how the current economic downturn has resulted in new pricing values at Assisted Living Communities.  Since many seniors cannot sell their homes, their retirement plans to downsize and relocate to an Assisted Living Community have been derailed. 

However, there are now new options available for relocating to a senior community, from bridge loans until the senior's house is sold to waived move-in fees from the senior community. 

Lisa's service is paid for by the Assisted Living Communities as she will provide unbiased information to seniors and their families to give them the scoop on services and amenities at communities beyond just the costs - you know, if you are going to move in to a new community, it is the same as buying a house, you want to know a little about the neighbors and the community activities.  And, it is important to consider the care services that will be available as you age - from dementia care to nursing care.  Lisa will take the senior on a tour and will answer all the questions you might have been afraid to ask if you were shopping on your own.  She helps make sure the move-in will be a success and permanent.

Check out the Chicago Tribune story here.

 

 

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Caregiver Taxes

With a few of President Obama's cabinet nominations running into some tax issues (issues such as sort of not paying them), questions about tax requirements for household help are being asked.

Basically, just as companies must provide for payroll taxes for employees (the company chips in for part of the taxes along with the employee) to pay for Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes and Unemployment insurance taxes, the same requirement holds true for household employees.  This is often referred to as the "nanny tax" but if you have hired a senior caregiver or even an ongoing gardener, you must provide for these taxes.

Keep in mind that this is also a benefit for the worker, as when they go to retire, they will be able to collect a Social Security check and if they are out of work, they will be able to collect an Unemployment benefit check.  All of these laws were set-up to protect employees.

Another advantage of hiring a Senior Home Care Agency is that the agency takes care of all of these taxes (and you have the added bonus of Worker's Compensation Insurance to cover any caregiver injuries - if you were hiring the caregiver directly and an injury occurred, the senior would be liable and the Caregiver could ask the senior to pay for all medical expenses and ongoing care needs - all of the senior's personal assets would be fair game to cover these costs - you know, yummy stuff for the ambulance chasing lawyers.  Worker's Compensation protects senior's assets if an injury occurs).

Failing to pay these taxes is considered tax fraud.  It is also important to make sure the Caregiver is legal to work and in instances where senior's may have memory loss, it is vital to make sure the Caregiver has passed a multi-state criminal background check and has active management in place. Senior Home Care Agencies go the extra mile to take care of all of these issues to provide a quality caregiver.

Not paying taxes for a caregiver will also cause the caregiver hardship, including being unable to build a credit history because they cannot verify their employment and pay.

The Supreme Court is also hearing a case regarding illegal workers who use fake identity's because they do not have a social security card of their own and this issue has spiraled into a case of identity theft.

What is the old saying:  penny-wise but pound-foolish?  Truly, the few dollars someone thinks they are saving by not providing for a Caregiver's taxes really are a huge loss - a loss in insurance protection, and social security, Medicare and unemployment insurance for the Caregiver.

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New Laser Treatment Assists with Stroke Recovery

An experimental stroke treatment that sends laser beams into the brain may help patients with milder strokes lessen their crippling effects, based on the results of a recent clinical trial.  Seniors who suffer strokes usually always require a senior caregiver to assist them during the first year of recovery as they participate in therapy to regain their abilities.

Patients with moderate to moderately severe strokes improved after receiving the laser treatment called the NeuroThera Laser System administered in Carlsbad, California.

Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of disability.  Usually seniors who suffer a stroke will have paralysis on either the right or left side of the body, depending on the type of stroke.  Movement can return if the senior participates in intense physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy the first year following the storke.

There is one effective treatment for stroke which involves a clot-busting drug and must be administered within 3 hours of the stroke.  "We need something for patients who come in later than that," says Dr. Justin Zivin of the University of California San Diego, who led the study funded by PhotoThera.

The results of the study were presented at the American Stroke Association meeting. 

Caregivers and seniors interested in learning more can contact the American Stroke Association.

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Medicare Senior Caregivers

This is a question which constantly comes up when a senior needs care services:  Does Medicare pay for a caregiver to provide senior care services in the home?

The reason there is much confusion around this is because Medicare will sometimes pay for what is called "skilled care", provided by a Registered Nurse (RN), Physical Therapist (PT), Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Therapist (ST).  And Medicare will provide these skilled care providers to visit a senior in their home.  A doctor must approve and prescribe the services and for the care to continue, the senior must show improvement (the idea is that this is short-term therapy to improve a condition, especially after a stroke or hip replacement, for example).

The services may be for as many as 3 visits per week but usually a R.N. is only approved if there is an open wound or medications such as shots must be managed and performed by a R.N.

Medicare's skilled home care does not provide for a Certified Nursing Aide or Companion Caregiver.  These services must be paid for privately or through long-term care insurance, unless a senior has started hospice care, which can provide for a Certified Nursing Aide to visit. , ,
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