Northwestern University recently gathered some data to get a handle on the hiring practices of private agencies that provide people with in-home caregivers. The data gathered is very useful to those in the elder law community.
Clearly, elders who need assistance with their day-to-day needs have ongoing medical issues in most cases. An individual who is being sent out to help a senior with his or her daily routine would logically have some basic understanding of fundamental medical terminology.
The Northwestern researchers contacted 180 different private agencies and asked questions under the guise of being family members who are looking for caregivers for elder relatives. Not a single one of these agencies made a practice of questioning applicants regarding their understanding of medical terms.
If you are running a business that involves sending your employees into the homes of others for extended periods of time, would you see fit to run criminal background checks on these individuals? Virtually 100% of people would answer “yes” to this question.
However, researchers found that only about 55% of the private agencies that they called did in fact do background checks. Amazingly, none of the agencies did checks outside of the states within which they are located.
As we all know, many seniors have prescription drugs in their homes. Only one third of the agencies drug tested their potential employees.
This study has certainly raised some eyebrows within the elder law community. If you are looking for a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, take these statistics to heart and be very discerning when you are making your decisions.