Monday's Wall Street Journal featured a story on elder abuse and reported that in many states there are no laws regulating Background Checks for senior home care. While it is true that there may not be formal laws in place, any professional Senior Home Care Agency which carries professional liability insurance and covers Caregivers through Worker's Compensation insurance (this is a law - Worker's Comp Insurance must be provided for employees), will require all their employees to go through Background Checks. These checks will verify the individual's name matches the Social Security number they provided and matches the addresses associated with that number. They will also check the criminal records in the counties which the Caregiver applicant has lived.
These agencies also will require that money does not exchange hands between the Caregiver and the Client, unless a special "petty cash" fund has been set-up and is strictly monitored, with proof of receipts, for tracking purposes. At the same time, the petty cash is usually funded through the Senior Home Care Agency and then billed to the family to make sure accountability is in place.
Professional Senior Home Care Agencies are experienced in managing Caregivers and all the aspects of the care and will incorporate a Senior Care Manager to assist with the case when required. This prevents financial and emotional abuse from happening.
Caregiverlist.com has created standards for the Senior Home Care Agencies we refer to, since there are no nationwide laws.
Caregiverlist.com also provides information on Background Checks. It is important to make sure background checks not only match Social Security numbers and past addresses for an individual, but also check criminal court records in each county the Caregiver has lived in. Even some websites that connect caregivers and nannies with families for direct-hire, do not provide complete Background Checks but only a Social Security number and name match. There is always a risk with a hire-direct situation because the extra insurance liability of Worker's Compensation Insurance and Professional Liability Insurance are not in place to protect the senior and the senior's family.
Elder abuse is easy to avoid when there is active management of a Caregiver. While Caregiving can be exhausting, a professional caregiver will know how to react to all types of clients and their Supervisor or Care Manager will be there to coach and support them. In addition, professional caregivers are providing care as a career - they will be the first to report any unsavory activity by family members or friends.
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