What's in a Background Check?
This is something all of us should consider before assuming a background check is a stamp of approval that someone is "A-OK" for employment as a Caregiver.
Does the background check include a Social Security number match to the person? Does the criminal history include more than one county? Beware of any service that offers an "instant" check. There are still counties that may not have instant updates to their information and good background check companies know this and take the necessary time to fact check (I always imagine Barney Fife from "The Andy Griffith Show" - it might take him a couple days to walk the arrest info over to the courthouse).
Keep in mind, too, that there are people who may have been arrested for shoplifting or theft who had the charges dropped in exchange for community service and the arrest will not show up on the information presented to an employer in a background check.
This is why even though a background check is nice, it is just as important to check other information, such as a regular employment history and both personal and professional references.
Background checks are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which allows convictions to be reviewed for the last 7 years. However, some states have passed laws which do allow for reviews beyond 7 years if the individual will be working with children or seniors.
Caregiverlist provides you with background check laws by state.
The unfortunate reality is that people who are looking to take advantage of someone often look to work privately for a senior as they are betting that a thorough multi-state background check will not be done. Some of these individuals are wonderful actors and can really make you believe their stories. Senior Home Care Agencies offer an added layer of protection through their insurance coverage and active management of the Caregivers.