caregivers

Background Checks for Home Caregivers

Background screening home care professionals is critical. From making sure that caregivers are qualified to provide ongoing care for patients to looking for red flags that might indicate risk, employee background screening is an essential part of hiring an in-home care provider.

Elder abuse is a major problem in the United States. According to a recent article published by HomeCare Magazine, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has suffered some form of elder abuse.

That number could be significantly higher, given how often elder abuse is overlooked. A study in New York found that for every elder financial exploitation case that law enforcement dealt with, another 44 went unreported.

One of the challenges to solving the elder abuse problem is how varied a problem it is. Elder abuse is any abuse in which the victim is an older adult—typically a senior citizen over the age of 60. Physical abuse, verbal or psychological abuse, theft or financial exploitation, sexual abuse: all these different types of abuse can fall under the umbrella of elder abuse, which means that there is not a unified list of warning signs to watch for to detect abuse.

In nursing homes and assisted living communities, there are more potential opportunities for spotting elder abuse and putting a stop to it. Between caregivers, doctors and nurses, and other residents, older adults living in these settings interact with a variety of people every day.

While there are big benefits to seniors staying in their homes for as long as possible (“aging in place”), one of the cons is that older adults living at home tend to be more isolated from friends, family, and other people who might be able to see signs of abuse.

Caregivers have an immense responsibility to care for seniors still living in their homes and to do so safely, respectfully, and ethically. Background screening home care professionals is an essential component of making sure that caregivers are worthy of this level of responsibility.

There have been legislative efforts to prevent elder abuse through the increased use of criminal background checks in the senior care industry. The HomeCare Magazine article discusses a federal pilot program that provided funding to long-term care facilities for the purpose of paying for criminal background checks for prospective employees. Despite promising results from the pilot, very few states implemented the program permanently due to a matching requirement to obtain the funds.

One of the best ways for employee background screening to become standard in the home care industry is for customers to demand it. Many families hire in-home caregivers for their elderly loved ones by working with existing in-home care agencies. Rather than assuming that these agencies are required by the state to conduct criminal background checks or resume verification checks on their caregivers, families should ask agencies about their background screening policies—and choose to work with the ones that are taking appropriate steps to protect the patients they serve.

Elder abuse can have detrimental effects on the health, cognitive function, quality of life, and survival of older adults. Background screening home care professionals is a vital step for preventing elder abuse and improving outcomes for patients. At backgroundchecks.com, we are proud to offer background screening services for hospitals and other healthcare providers. Contact us today to learn more.

Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is Chief Marketing Technologist at EY-VODW.com and has over two decades of experience in digital consulting, online product management, and technology innovation. He is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments.

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