When finding caregivers for in home, it’s important to consider five points of contact; availability, personality, geographic location, experience, and training. Especially as there is more demand for in home care than supply of quality caregivers, making a good match is critical. That doesn’t mean the first caregiver a client meets will be the perfect one, only that thought and care must be put into the matching process.
Caregivers help improve the quality of life of a client at home by assistance with activities of daily living, fall prevention, meal preparation and elderly nutrition, companionship and safety monitoring.
Matching the right caregiver for each client is a science and an art. A talkative caregiver is not a good match for someone who would rather have a quiet care provider. Also, a caregiver who lives 40 miles away from the client is not ideal for a short two hour shift.
Some caregivers have tremendous experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia care, Parkinson’s or other cognitive diseases that lead to certain behaviors. It’s not a good idea to place someone with an Alzheimer’s client if she/he has no experience in tactics such as ‘validate and re-direct’ to calm outbursts.
All in home caregivers should be thoroughly vetted, including running a post hire background check, physical fitness for duty evaluation and drug test. A reputable home health agency or quality home care agency will take these steps before placing a caregiver in the home of a client. A caregiver is never an independent contractor in California, so avoid the liability of misclassifying them to save on payroll taxes or worker’s compensation insurance.
Personality traits to look for include honesty, kindness, reliability, and superior experience and training. The criminal background check will include a check of the OIG exclusion website and sex offender registry. Caregivers are also screened by reputable agencies for their driving history, as many will take clients on incidental errands.
By law, caregivers are registered by the California Department of Social Services as home care aides if they work for an agency, and even if they are hired by a family. The registry contains their unique RHCA number which will show if they are in good standing with the state.
Licensed Home health agencies are not required to use the state registry, but then must run their own criminal background check post employment offer on each employee.
Caregivers receive between five and twelve hours of continuing education each year, depending on how they are registered or certified.