Background Checks: How to Perform Your Own Background Check to Protect Your Identity

Senior caregivers working for professional senior care companies must pass a criminal background check in order to be hired.  Individuals seeking to become professional caregivers or a certified nursing aide may enjoy a guarantee of employment as long as they can pass a criminal background check. This means proper identity information is crucial for a senior caregiver’s background check to return accurate information in order to obtain employment. Caregivers need to understand how to protect their identity and understand the information included on a criminal background check.   Senior care companies conducting criminal background checks on employees include:

  • Licensed Senior Home Care Agencies
  • Long-term Care Nursing Homes
  • Assisted Living Communities
  • Hospitals

How do you protect your identity as a professional caregiver?  Especially knowing you will change care companies multiple times throughout your career?  We live in a digital information age making it even more important to protect your personal identity information both offline and online. 5 Background Check Identity Protection Tips:

1) Purchase Your Own Background Check Annually:  once a year buy a background check on yourself to see the information that is on your criminal record and to confirm the names and addresses attached to your Social Security number.  Research to be sure you understand the right type of quality criminal background check to purchase.

2) Maintain and update online passwords: pick passwords that are unique. Be sure you have anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and a firewall on your computer. Use encryption software to safeguard your online transactions.  Never respond to an email requesting a password reset unless you asked for this yourself on the company’s website. Look for the “lock” on your browser’s status bar which you will see when you are using an online bank’s website.  

3) Review your mailbox, even the junk mail:  if you begin receiving mail in another name at your address, call the sender to investigate.  Be mindful if you stop receiving monthly bills or if your name should change in anyway on your usual subscriptions.

4) Monitor credit card statements:  even if a small amount appears that may not have the exact name of a company you are familiar with purchasing from, call to investigate the transaction.  Some credit card number thiefs will first do a small $10 transaction before making additional charges.

5) Limit credit cards used:  try to limit the number of credit cards you make purchases with to also limit the number of companies that have your information and who are running credit reports on you.  When the friendly department store clerk asks if you would like an additional discount on your purchase by opening up a charge card, just say “no”.

Act quickly if you do discover improper names and addresses associated with your name.  The background check companies do have formal dispute investigation systems in place (you will need to fill out a form to start the ball rolling) and the credit reporting bureaus also will work with you to clear up misinformation.  However, it is a time-consuming process.  The best way to insure a proper criminal background check is to make sure you do not engage in criminal behavior (don’t break the law).  Then be mindful of your spending behaviors to protect your identity.  Check your own background once a year in order to be able to immediately correct mistaken identity information. Review the by-state background check laws to see if employers can review your criminal history beyond just 7 years and purchase a quality background check. Then apply for a professional caregiving job or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job as more caregivers are needed to keep up with the care needs for America's growing senior population.

Finding a Caregiver: Why This Is So Often a Last-Minute Task

Finding a senior caregiver is often an "immediate" need.  People who have not experienced the need for senior care for a family member usually do not understand why senior care is so often very quickly needed.

Senior care, like many things in life, is something most people just hope they will never need.  And because of this, people do not plan ahead.  Even those families who save money to be able to pay for senior care during their retirement years, usually do not think about the type of care they would like and where they will have the care.

A fiend of mine was visiting Chicago from Texas this week and her story highlights why senior care is very often a challenge.  She and her husband live in another state and have two children under the age of 5.  Her father-in-law was a no-show for a Mother's Day brunch.  One of the brothers went to his house to find that he was in a diabetic coma which the doctor's think may have happened a couple days earlier.  The father-in-law had to have a leg amputated and they also discovered he has dementia.

He is recovering in a nursing home but Medicare will only pay for a nursing home for up to 100 days after a major medical incident and even during that time Medicare will usually not cover everything (personal items, etc.).

My friend and her husband must return to Texas for their jobs and their children's activities.  Decisions must be made quickly regarding the father-in-law's care once Medicare will not continue to pay for the nursing home.  He cannot live alone in his home.  Is it time for him to move to an assisted living community or will he stay in his home with caregiving services?  And how much does everything cost?

Research senior care options and costs in your area before you need them - then you will at least understand the options and the realities of what Medicare does and does not cover.  You will also have one less stressful item to deal with when a medical emergency happens to a senior loved one.  Review nursing home costs and ratings before you need a nursing home for rehabilitation.

Remember that senior home care agencies are licensed and regulated in most states and deliver the security of professionally managed care in the home.  Assisted Living communities vary in the services they provide - some specialize in care for memory loss and have more advanced care services, such as nursing home care.  Other Assisted Living communities focus on providing a home to active seniors only.

Senior caregivers are needed nationwide.  Anyone with a caring personality may apply to a part-time or full-time companion caregiving position in their area or refer-a-friend to work as a senior caregiver and be entered to win weekly and monthly prizes.

Caregiver Careers: More Primary Care Medical Doctors Needed

Senior caregivers assisting as family caregivers or working as professional caregivers know the challenges of senior care.  The work can be difficult and the while the pay is above minimum wage and there are some moments of down-time.....the real pay is in the fulfillment of the work, not the paycheck.

Caregivers who truly love the industry may now consider entering into senior care as a full-time profession as the opportunities are many.

A study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services announced this week that less than 25% of new doctors go into this field, instead preferring a specialty, even though there is currently a shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S.A.

Dr. Candice Chen, an assistant research professor and the lead study author also said that 4.8% of the new primary care physicians open an office in a rural area.

"If residency programs do not ramp up the training of these physicians the shortage in primary care, especially in remote areas, will get worse," Chen said in a statement. "The study's findings raise questions about whether federally funded graduate medical education institutions are meeting the nation's need for more primary care physicians."

As someone who did grow up in a rural area, I can both remember and appreciate the ability to just "walk-in" to the doctor's office to have him check an ailment and to even telephone on a weekend or evening.  Dr. Porter was the local doctor in my hometown of 19,000 people.  He specialized in assisting athletes and eventually the town named the high school stadium after him.

But Doc Porter was there when you needed him.  You could just walk in and talk to his office manager or give him a call and he would meet you there, even on weekends and evenings.  Now that we have instant contact services with all types of technology advances, it seems research universities could figure out a way to make rural medical practices more efficient.  

Maybe 50,000 people do not live in one town to provide enough clients for a doctor but maybe with technology such as email and text messaging and digital care plans a medical doctor could live in a rural area and enjoy the country living while still serving hundreds of clients efficiently.  Rural living can be cheaper and more enjoyable, too.

There is also technology being tested for virtual doctor's visits, an expansion upon Skype where the doctor can see you and you can see him and he can then diagnose your problem and even monitor the progress by checking body functions such as blood pressure.

Chen's concern is that taxpayer dollars are supporting the schools that are training the medical doctors, yet these institutions are not focusing on how to use the federal money to make sure we have enough of the right doctors.

  • Studied Career Paths of 8,977 Physicians
  • Physicians Graduated from 759 Medical Residency Sites
  • Timeline of Study:  2006-2008
  • 3 to 5 Years After Residency Ended:  25.2 percent of the physicians worked as primary care doctors (with some working as hospitalists which means this is actually an over-estimate of the number of primary care doctors)
  • 198 out of 759 institutions produced 0 rural physicians during the study period.

Currently, the United States is producing primary care physicians at rates that are "abysmally low," Chen said.

As medical care continues to evolve, it is important that we remember the human aspect that goes beyond a computer.  People who become medical doctors do so because they care and systems must be created for them to deliver the care in rural areas as well as big cities and to practice as a primary care physician.  

Caregivers for seniors should be aware that the senior care industry has been predicted to be the top industry for jobs in the coming decade which guarantees employment.  More caregivers are needed today and you may apply for a senior caregiving job in your area or refer-a-friend for a caregiving job and be entered for a chance to win weekly and monthly prizes.

More Than 1/3rd of Parkinson's Disease Patients Suffer From Dementia.

Parkinson's disease impacts many seniors in their later years, although some people are diagnosed with the disease when they are younger, such as actor Michael J. Fox.  This week, as 3,000 experts in neurology gathered for the annual European Neurological Society (ENS) meeting in Barcelona, Dr. Heinz Reichmann shared study results involving 1,331 German Parkinson's disease patients.

The Neurology Study Found:

  • 15% of Parkson's pateints suffer collaterally from dementia
  • 11% suffer from both dementia and depression
  • 9% suffer from dementia and psychosis
  • 40% to 50% suffer from depression

Nearly all Parkinson's sufferers are affected by dementia if they live long enough.  Research reveals that cognitive decline and depression often worsen the quality of life more than the movement disorder itself and may inhibit the positive results of other therapies.

Depression is mainly caused by the dismantling of those systems which release the monoamine neurotransmitters and the malfunctioning of the frontal lobe and the cerebral cortex.  

Motor impairments in Parkinson's are often associated with an incorrect concentration of dopamine in the blood plasma.

The neurology doctors are continuing to explore and research effective treatments which include psychosocial support, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, drug therapy as well as electroconvulsive therapy.

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Parkinson's disease may consider continued caregiver training to keep up with the age-related illnesses.  

The European Societies for Neurology also announced a merger this week during the Barcelona meeting. Going forward the European Neurological Society and the European Federation of Neurological Societies are merging to be called the European Academy of Neurology.





Criminal Background Checks Conducted by 92% of Employers and 100% of Senior Care Companies

Caregivers applying to job positions by senior care companies must pass a criminal background check.  Many individuals have concerns about what information may be on their background check but with technology advancing, it is easier than ever to both monitor the information on your background check and to purchase a background check on yourself.

The Society of Human Resource Management reports that 92% of employers use criminal-background checks for some or all job openings, according to their 2010 survey.

Learn more about criminal background checks which must follow the guidelines of the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and limit a review of information going back for only 7 years.  However, some states have passed legislation which does allow employers to review information for more than 7 years if the potential employee will be working with seniors or children.

Background check quality varies - be aware that it is important to purchase a quality background check that includes more than just a social security number to name match.

Quality background checks must include the criminal courthouse record check and verify the identity of the person.

Review the background check laws in your state and purchase a quality caregiver background check.  Senior caregivers are hired weekly by professional senior care companies accessing Caregiverlist's job applicant service - apply to a part-time or full-time caregiving position in your area or refer-a-friend.


Caregiver Job Interviews: Study Shows 81% of People Lie in Job Interviews

Interviewing job candidates for any position is never easy.  Job candidates perhaps don't mean to lie, but the fact is that most do embellish something about themselves to appear more qualified for the job.  In some cases the lies may be acceptable - saying you have 2 years of experience instead of 1 year but other lies can be dangerous, especially in senior care.

Have you used a gait belt before?  If you say you have when you have not (or if you do not even know what a gait belt is) then you could be putting both yourself and the senior in danger if you are trying to wing-it when using a gait belt for the first time. Same thing with assisting with toileting, bathing and feeding.

Have you had training in dealing with seniors who have memory loss?  Senior caregivers who have not had memory loss senior care training will not know some of the simple strategies to use to keep the day going smoothly and to respond correctly to the senior.

Finding the right caregivers for senior care takes talent and experience.  This is why senior home care agencies are vital as providers of senior care and this is also why senior care is nothing at all like babysitting. Proper training for senior caregiving is required in order for the caregiving to be both safe and effective to assist in healthy aging.

Those of us who hire people regularly already know that people lie a bit in job interviews.  But we have systems in place to flesh out the facts.

Senior caregiving agencies also have systems in place to properly qualify a caregiver's skill level and then provide training which the caregiver is tested on for retention.  Care Managers also introduce and train each caregiver for their new client assignments and provide ongoing management.  What does the caregiver do when Sue won't take her medications?  Call the office and a Care Manager will assist.  Very often a third-party person to help manage the care makes all the difference as the senior just wants and needs confirmation from a couple of people to keep their tasks moving throughout their day.

And just to confirm that the system used by licensed senior home care agencies is vital which includes an interview, a follow-up interview, reference checks, training and then a quiz to confirm the training was absorbed.......Brent Weiss and Robert S. Feldman of the University of Massachusetts are profiled in the Harvard Business Review, explaining their study which found 81% of people lied about themselves in a job interview.  When the job requirement is more technical, deception increased.  Participants in the study told an average of 2.19 lies per 15-minute interview.

Seniors deserve quality caregivers who can show they have been trained and can perform the necessary skills.  As more and more states pass new legislation (California currently has 2 bills pending which would both require mandatory training requirements for senior caregivers), the quality of care will only improve.  Caregivers should all have basic caregiver training which can be obtained online, meeting industry standards.

Caregivers may learn more about developing the right caregiver interview skills in Caregiverlist's Career Center.

End-of-Life Care Ethics: NYC Hospital Made Home for Heiress for Twenty Years

Posted By: Julie Northcutt

End-of-Life care sparks opinions and contemplation for everyone, especially for those of us working in the senior care industry who have witnessed a variety of scenarios.  Hospice care was established to help families navigate through the details and emotions of saying goodbye to a lifetime of friends and family and.....assets.  It seems that time after time it is the assets that can cause problems for everyone for many years after someone has deceased.

Following estates and how they are divided and contested makes for fascinating reading.  The dramas can be better than the best movies and even become the material for movies.  Even when everyone thinks the estate has been firmly settled and legally structured, the heirs can bust a move to contest an issue.  Remember Lady Astor?  Her son seemingly (and a court agreed) convinced her to sign a new will after her memory loss had begun.  

Huguette Clark is the most recent heiress who has some relatives wanting more money from her estate.  A reclusive copper heiress, she collected dolls and found solace in playing with dolls as an adult and lived her last 20 years at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.  She had no children, but her distant relatives did inherit some of her money and now they are digging for more dollars, filing documents in Manhattan Surrogate court that seem to show the hospital also begged Mrs. Clark for dollars.

In one e-mail, the CEO of Beth israel joked that a Manet painting Mrs. Clark donated the hospital did not bring as much as they would have liked at auction and joked that Mrs. Clark "didn't take the bait and offer a half dozen more."  Mrs. Clark gave the hospital more than $4 million dollars and stayed at the hospital until her death at age 104, in addition to the millions she privately paid to stay at the hospital.  She also donated another $1 million in her final, contested, will.

The fact that a hospital allowed someone who perhaps was depressed, but did not need acute medical care, to remain as a patient for 20 years raises ethical questions.  Might have there been a better environment for Mrs. Clarke to live in to address her emotional needs? The fact that the hospital did keep her for so many years and continued to ask her for donations is alarming.  The New York Times reports some of the more disturbing facts, such as the hospital sending staff out to research the Clarke family in order to better understand her wealth.  Mrs. Clarke paid the hospital $1,200 a day for her room.

Sometimes it seems, doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, should take precedence.  A grown woman who watches the Smurfs cartoon and plays with dolls all day probably is not in the state of mind to make donations in the millions to a hospital and to decide she should stay indefinitely in a hospital -  it does not take a degree in medicine to know that.  It takes everyone to be a watchdog for ethics, including senior caregivers.  The Inspector General's office can be one place to report senior abuse and instances of Medicare of Medicaid fraud.  It will be interesting to see how Mrs. Clark's heirs are able to gain some restitution from Beth Israel Hospital.

However, this scenario also begs the question:  where the heck were Mrs. Clarke's heirs during the 20 years she was staying at the hospital?

Research your senior care options ahead of time and plan for the costs of senior care and rehabilitation which often takes place in a nursing home.  This way, if you happen to have an uncle who was a copper baron from Montana, you may better be prepared for how to plan.  

Right at Home and Home Instead Senior Care Companies Hit Sales Milestones

Senior caregiving services continue to grow, as nearly 10,000 Americans turn age 65 every day and enjoy longer lives with the assistance of caregivers.  Two pioneers in senior home care services, Right at Home and Home Instead, are headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.  The Omaha World-Herald reports today that Home Instead surpassed $1 billion in franchise-level sales in 2012 and features Caregiverlist in the report.

Caregiverlist provides the senior care industry's first and only career center for professional senior caregivers created by industry professionals, in an effort to provide high quality senior caregivers.  Currently, there is a shortage of caregivers in some areas of the country and recruiting more caring individuals to work as professional caregivers continues to be an industry initiative.

Memorial Day Adds Emotions to Caregiving

Memorial Day, like so many American holidays, has evolved to become a 3-day weekend and a time to connect with family and friends.  Older Americans, however, very often do feel the true meaning of Memorial Day as they are reminded of all the friends and family members who have passed away.  Caregivers will experience the added challenges of caring for the emotional aspects of aging which includes dealing with the loss of loved ones.

The healing process of grieving takes time and even though professional therapists counsel that grieving a loved one takes 2 years, there will always be triggers that can spur more emotional memories.  In addition, some seniors are grieving the "long goodbye" of a loved one who may be living but no longer be emotionally available because of Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.

Losing loved ones when we know they are diagnosed as terminal is actually the healthiest way to say goodbye.  But how do we help someone who is recovering from the death of a friend, spouse or family member?  

Listen and let them talk about their memories and what they miss about the person.  Allow them to cry and to laugh and to share.  Encourage them to find a way to celebrate the memories.  The ritual of visiting the cemetery to place fresh flowers on the grave markers on Memorial Day is a healthy way to celebrate the memories of a loved one.  Asian cultures make a shrine to their loved one which they keep in their homes.  They will light candles and celebrate the birthdays and holidays while remembering and honoring their deceased loved ones.

Senior caregivers can also share their own memories of loved ones who have passed on.  One caregiver who recently won a scholarship from the California Association for Health Services at Home shared the story of how caring for her grandparents who both died while in hospice care, inspired her to become a professional senior caregiver and go on to nursing school.

Everyone has a story of a loved one they have lost and still hold the memories in their hearts.  Let Memorial Day be a day to share the memories. And if you meet anyone who may be considering a career as a senior caregiver or who would like to just assist others and work part-time, refer them to a senior caregiving job.




Caregiver Background Checks: Laws Vary in Each State - Minnesota "Bans the Box"

Caregiver background checks are the first step in the caregiver hiring process.  But there is much confusion about the types of background checks and the information that is actually included.  The federal government passed legislation to guide employers on background checks as it is important to give criminals a second chance. The legislatures decided 7 years is the amount of time that should pass to have a clean slate and this requirement is part of a law called the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

States, however, can pass their own laws governing background checks for employment.  These state background check laws will trump the federal law (over-ride it).  Some states allow looking back for more than 7 years if an employee will be working with a senior or a child.

Senior caregiver employers must follow the state background check requirements in their state and caregiver job applicants should also be aware of these requirements which you can find in Caregiverlist's Background Check Laws "By-State" section.  Caregivers may also want to purchase their own background check prior to applying to a professional senior care job to verify all of the information.  As a digital life is a reality now, identity theft and fraud have grown at a high rate and it is important to learn to check your information at least annually to be sure there is no inappropriate information attached to your name.  You should also be sure to only purchase a quality caregiver background check.

Minnesota senior caregiver employers now must follow a new law which Governor Mark Dayton just signed into law, nicknamed "Ban the Box".  This law prohibits employers from inquiring about a job applicant's criminal history or conducting a background check until the applicant has been granted an interview or job offer.  This new Minnesota law also requires removing the question of criminal convictions or arrests on initial job applications.  However, senior caregiver employers can still inform applicants that a criminal history could be a disqualifying factor for a particular job.

Minnesota first passed the "ban the box" law in 2009, applying only to public employers (state and local governments).  Minnesota Senate File 523 expands the law to include private employers and takes effect January 1, 2014.

Employers exempt from the law are those serving vulnerable populations and those employers who are not permitted to hire people with a criminal history.  The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is responsible for enforcing the law and employers will be assessed up to $500 per violation.

Caregivers for senior home care agencies, assisted living communities and nursing homes receive all benefits for employees, as required by law, including unemployment insurance, worker's compensation insurance and healthcare benefits. In order to offer these benefits, companies must hire caregivers who are legal to work and who pass criminal background checks.  Purchase a caregiver background check and apply to a senior caregiver job in your area.  You may also learn about caregiver job descriptions and requirements as more people are needed in the senior care field as the number of seniors in America continues to increase rapidly. 

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