The job of an in-home caregiver comes with a massive amount of responsibility that often goes underappreciated. Whether caregivers are hired to care for children, the elderly, or pets, they are the acting guardians for the home for extended periods of time.
People hiring caregivers have obligations of their own, and one of the most important is the need to understand how to choose safe and qualified candidates that will care for their loved ones.
One reason that there has been an increase in in-home caregivers is because America has an aging population. Let’s face it, the baby boomers are getting older. As the proportion of elderly increases, there will be a need for professionals who can make home visits or even stay with these individuals in order to provide assistance.
The assistance provided by caregivers can range from helping them to complete daily living tasks to administering medications. If the caregiver is expected to provide healthcare, it is essential to do research and ensure that the hired individual is truly qualified to perform these tasks.
Caregivers play a very intimate role in the lives of their employers. They are granted access to private residences, they interact closely with others and they might be permitted to handle medications. Families cannot afford to give these responsibilities to people who cannot be trusted. This is why background checks are so essential.
Background checks can provide important and telling information about a potential caregiver. A background check can uncover if the person has been convicted of drug or alcohol-related offenses, violent crimes, theft, or any other charges that would affect hiring decisions. These records make it possible to quickly learn about the character of a person.
A background check for a caregiver should look into more than just whether or not the individual has criminal or traffic violations. Especially if the candidate will be responsible for providing healthcare, it is also important to take this time to verify any training or credentials that have been provided. Ensure that this person is qualified to perform the tasks that are needed, while also confirming that they were truthful when applying for the position.
It is very common today for a family to hire a caregiver through an agency, or even a website, trusting that the professionals have already been vetted thoroughly. While an agency is likely not going to knowingly recommend an unfit caregiver, important information could have easily slipped by them. It is not always easy to perform a background check that will catch everything because there is not one easy to access database that is going to provide everything. Some agencies might miss information simply because they did not know where to look.
Caregiver websites can be even more problematic because they process large volumes of potential candidates, posting thousands of profiles from which customers can choose. Last year, NBC Chicago’s Unit 5 Investigative Team conducted an experiment when using these sites that had very troubling results.
The investigators had applicants with criminal backgrounds create profiles on two popular caregiver sites. These sites allowed users to pay for background checks to be conducted, which NBC Chicago did for each of the planted applicants. Most of the applicants passed one or both of the sites’ background checks, even one applicant who had previously been charged with felony assault and convicted of reckless conduct.
The best way to avoid these risks when hiring caregivers is to hire a private investigator to conduct a background check. Choose an investigator who specializes in these types of services and who will provide a full report of the steps that were taken to protect you, your family and your home.