Quality In-Home Senior Care: 5 Tips to Make Sure You Get It
In January 2014, domestic workers bill AB 241 went into effect in California. Families of seniors and senior caregivers know that California AB 241 puts at-home caregivers of the disabled and senior populations in the same category as “domestic workers.” While it does even things a bit for domestic workers by ensuring overtime pay for long hours, the bill doesn’t do much to protect seniors from receiving sub-standard care.
In The San Jose Mercury News’ article, In-Home Caregivers: They need training as well as better pay, writer Rosanna Fay criticizes AB 241 for overlooking the significant differences between untrained domestic workers and senior caregivers who need a higher level of expertise. As an adult daughter of aging parents, she writes,
“Despite using professional agencies, our yearlong experience was one disaster after the next. One caregiver forced our mother to stay in her room for 36 hours without food during her final days. Another totaled my father’s car while he was in the passenger seat. It turned out she didn’t have a license. Others stole clothing and food. The most disturbing discovery was that a caregiver who appeared to be exceptionally conscientious had been taking our father’s morphine.”
Unfortunately, we hear stories like Fay’s in the news far too often. California’s AB 241 will not help matters. If you’re looking to find trained and competent in-home, non-medical senior care, follow the steps below.
- Use an agency that is a member of the California Association for Health Services at Home and/or The American Board of Home Care. To achieve certification, home care agencies must submit evidence that they meet strict standards. For instance, CAHSAH requires current evidence of workers’ compensation insurance, liability insurance and an employee dishonesty bond. Every agency seeking CAHSAH certification must perform background checks and tuberculosis screens on all employees. Finally, both certification organizations maintain a strict code of ethics by which members must abide or face expulsion.
- Use an agency rather than a “registry,” which is just independent people with little to no background screening, supervision or training. Caregivers from an agency typically have access to training programs that the agency encourages or requires them to complete. These caregivers can also call the agency for support and guidance should an emergency arise. Finally, the agency can act as a resource or a guide to the senior’s family, connecting them with other senior service organizations as their loved one’s care needs expand.
- Ask the agency if it has workers’ compensation and liability insurance. Professional caregivers with high standards want both and will seek out an agency that has these protections in place.
- Ask the agency if it conducts background checks and TB screens for all employees.
- When you call an agency, make sure to be ready with a list of services you or your loved one will require. A good agency will be flexible and work with you to establish a care plan and schedule that best fits your loved one’s needs.
Legislation in the Senior Space Will Get More Heated
With seven baby boomers turning 65 each minute in the United States, it’s not hard to see how the number of in-home caregivers will need to reach 5 million by 2020.* Here at Love 2 Live Care Services, we are closely watching the Homecare Aide Workforce Initiative, a three million dollar project dedicated to setting a national standard for paid home caregivers. If you have any questions about how to advocate for higher quality in-home caregivers or about how to find a caregiver, do not hesitate to call us at 619-291-4663 or send an email here. We will keep you posted on California legislation regarding senior issues through our Facebook page as well.