Across the United States, there are more than two million people employed as in-home caregivers. This group includes caregivers looking after young children, those with special needs, and senior citizens who can no longer fully care for themselves. A vital part of the healthcare sector, these workers allow many elderly individuals to maintain some independence while living in a more private and comfortable environment. With rising numbers of senior citizens nationwide, caregiver roles are growing in importance.
However, there is a complicating factor: the need to keep seniors safe when they are at their most vulnerable. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of news stories about caregivers defrauding or harming those in their care.
The Importance of Background Checks for Senior Caregivers
The role of an in-home caregiver, especially for senior citizens, is unique. These are individuals granted access to someone's whole life, often assisting with everything from basic daily hygiene activities to, in some cases, helping to manage the individual's affairs. With little to no supervision, there are many opportunities for a caregiver to cause harm or steal from their charges. While background checks can't predict future behavior, they can serve as a critical initial barrier to unsuitable candidates.
Check the Policies of Home Healthcare Agencies
Many families hire care providers from large agencies that handle the primary hiring process and the placement of workers into positions that are suitable for their training. However, every state has different requirements for how these agencies conduct their hiring.
Before signing paperwork or providing payment, ask your chosen agency how they vet new hires. Which background checks do they use? Do your best to determine whether these agencies’ background check procedures follow state law.
Beware of Different Requirements When Making Direct Hires
Some families choose to hire licensed caregivers who operate independently from care agencies. While you could potentially save money and develop a more personal rapport this way, the risks are even larger. Do not hire a third-party caregiver without first fully understanding their background and whether they could pose a risk to your loved one. There are many tools, such as those provided by backgroundchecks.com, that will make this process quick and easy.
Take Steps to Protect Your Loved Ones
If you or someone you know will be hiring an in-home caregiver for a close family member, it is vital to devote your time and energy to understanding the role of background checks in the process. Beware of leaving the entire effort up to a care agency without doing your due diligence on the vetting that they use, how restrictive their hiring requirements are, and the status of their reputation.
When making individual hires, using tools such as the US OneSEARCH by backgroundchecks.com can provide information that is essential to safeguarding your loved ones from harm. With an expanding aging population and more families facing a need for care assistance, safe and secure vetting is more critical than ever.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments