When you hire a home health care aide to take care of an elderly parent or ailing family member, the phase, "Trust, but verify," certainly applies. While most professional caregivers are honest and hardworking, there are definitely bad apples in the bunch. Elder care aides have been accused of theft, forgery, sexual assault, physical abuse and other crimes. One way to protect your loved one and yourself is to get a background check before you hire.
If you hire an aide from a placement service, the service may have already done the background check, but it’s up to you to ask to see a copy. Make sure the check covers the adult lifetime of the individual, and not just recent years. You can’t assume someone is safe to leave with your parent with just because he or she has not been convicted of a crime in the last five to seven years.
If you are not working through a service or the service does not provide background checks, it’s up to you to commission one. Several security services offer background checks for health care professionals and you can search for one in your area at the web site of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. A good background check will let you know if the aide has a criminal record and any lawsuits filed against him or her. Don’t write off infractions you think are small or unrelated to the job at hand. Of course, you wouldn’t leave a convicted sex offender alone with your elderly mother, but you also shouldn’t make financial information vulnerable to someone accused of check fraud.
Typically, you can order different levels of background checks. The more information included in the report, the more expensive it is. While a criminal history is probably the biggest thing you want to look out for, a complete background check can yield even more useful information. A thorough background check can verify the identity, education and employment history of a potential employee. With that information, you can validate the qualifications and truthfulness of the aide. Additionally, if the aide will be responsible for transporting your parent, you might want to check out his or her driving record for safety. Finding a caregiver for your folks isn’t easy, but a background check will help give you peace of mind.
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