• Hiring a caregiver service for a loved one can be daunting. Only 16.5 % test potential caregivers’ basic knowledge about the job and its requirements. Only 32% require drug tests of applicants and only 15% provide some type of training before sending a caregiver into someone’s home. These statistics are according to a Northwestern University School of Medicine study reported in the New York Times. The responsibility fo qualifying the caregiver is up to us. These questions will help.

    1. What is the process for screening your caregivers? Do you complete a background check (criminal, driving, work permit status and past references)?
    2. Do you have a minimum for years of caregiving experience for applicants?
    3. What is the ratio of the applicants you hire to the applicants you interview?
    4. What is the training procedure for newly hired caregivers? What types of topics are covered?
    5. Do you offer continuing education training for your caregivers?
    6. What Are Your Agency’s Staffing and Scheduling Procedures?
    7. How do you match caregivers to clients? Do you guarantee a personality match and offer caregiver interviews? What happens if a senior wants a different caregiver?
    8. Is it typical to expect the same caregiver each time or do you rotate caregivers?
    9. What steps do you take to ensure reliable staffing?
    10. What happens in the event that a caregiver is unavailable or calls in sick?
    11. What Is the Agency’s Legal Responsibility?
    12. Are your caregivers screened, bonded and insured? Do you employ your caregivers and take care of taxes, withholding and workers’ compensation?
    13. What protections are there against theft?
    14. What client services, caregiver services and confidentiality forms are used and can you describe the main points of each?
    15. What Makes Your Agency Stand Out?
    16. What unique programs/trainings/materials does your agency offer its caregivers, staff, and clients compared with other agencies?
    17. What types of payments do you accept and what are your billing procedures (is there a contact? cancellation fee?)
    18. Is the care manager available on-call 24/7?
    19. Does he/she perform regular quality assurance visits?                                                                                                                                                                        

    On June 29, 2012 Nina Hobbs, only 22, was selected out of 3,000 caregivers across 60 locations and presented with the Caregiver of the Year Award by leading senior care company, Home Care Assistance.

    Not only is she the most requested caregiver in the Charleston, but Nina plans to join the US Marine Corps as an officer candidate this coming October and is considering the possibility of becoming a registered nurse in the armed services. Nina is a graduate from the University of North Carolina and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology in addition to her CNA license.  This has helped her when working with clients to better tune into their needs, whether expressed outwardly or through context clues.  Nina also has intimate knowledge of the proper techniques utilized in caring for clients and is often an example of how our other caregivers are expected to care for our clients.


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    Article by: Lily Sarafan

    Lily Sarafan is President and Chief Operating Officer of Home Care Assistance, a global senior care company headquartered in Palo Alto. She is also co-author of four books in a healthy longevity series:
    Happy to 102: The Best Kept Secrets to a Long and Happy Life (June 2009)
    The Handbook of Live-in Care: A Guide for Caregivers (August 2011)
    From Hospital to Home Care: A Step by Step Guide to Providing Care to Patients Post Hospitalization (January 2012)
    The Five Senses: A Sensible Guide to Sensory Loss (August 2012)

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