Fall River Jewish Home

Choosing The Right Caregiver

You may have visited your family member recently and saw that they were struggling with making meals, light housekeeping, bathing or other types of activities of daily living (ADLs). You mention this to them, and they agree that they need help. So, you need to hire a caregiver…now what? Hiring a caregiver can be a difficult decision, but can be the inevitable step to being more independent as one gets older. Your goal is to find a caregiver that you can trust and feel confident that your loved one is being taken care of properly.

Your next question is: How do you find a reliable caregiver that you can depend on to take care of your loved one? Here are some guidelines to follow before hiring someone:

  • Determine what type of help they need. Start by making a list of your loved one’s needs. This can help all of you, including the caregiving agency find the right person for the job. This also can help them determine how many hours and what type of care is needed.
  • Make a list of expectations. These expectations will not only come from you, as the adult child, but also from your family member or friend that is receiving the caregiving. Anytime someone is hired to do a job, there are expectations by the one doing the hiring. It is important to get these expectations down on paper, and then go over them with the caregiving agency during the initial interview. Knowing up front the expectations will help you find the right caregiver.
  • Make sure to hire a caregiver from an agency rather than an “independent.” While hiring an independent – someone who does not work for a caregiving agency – may be less expensive, there are certain protections that you receive when paying a little more per hour and hiring a caregiver that works for an agency.

These “protections” include:

  • Background checks to include finger printing, proof of residency and TB tests. Having these things done are vital for your loved ones protection.
  • Previous employment screening and verification of references. Agencies can verify previous employment and call references. These are important and necessary tasks that are needed prior to employing anyone that comes to your home.
  • Worker’s Compensation coverage. Many agencies provide this type of coverage for their caregivers, as you would normally be held liable if the caregiver is an independent and gets hurt while they are caregiving one in their home.
  • Are caregivers bonded? This is added protection for you that an agency can provide their caregivers.

When calling agencies to consider hiring their caregivers, make sure you ask the following questions:

  1. What type of background screening is done on your employees?
  2. How long has the candidate you’re suggesting worked for the service?
  3. What types of training does the employee have?
  4. Is the employee bonded?
  5. What are the fees for service and what do they cover?
  6. Is there a minimum and maximum limit to the hours of service?
  7. Are there limitations as to what the caregiver can and cannot do?
  8. Whom do you call if the worker does not show up at the scheduled time?
  9. If the worker cannot make it on a day he or she is needed, how is their shift covered?
  10. Can I get testimonials from other clients you have provided caregiving for?
  11. How are doctor’s appointments handled? Does the caregiver go in with them? And, are they allowed to take notes during the appointment to provide to the family members?
  12. When driving to and from appointments, shopping and other errands, does the caregiver use their own car? Are you required to pay for gas and mileage?
  13. How do you handle a request for a different caregiver?

Make sure to interview each candidate and include your loved one and other family members, if possible. If you and your family members follow these guidelines before hiring a caregiver, you can make sure that you make the right hire decision. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you have taken the right steps to finding the right caregiver for the job. This will also make all the difference in the world to all of you knowing that your loved one is in safe hands.

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