Why Background checks are important when hiring a caregiver
In time, older adults and the people who care for them each day develop a relationship of trust. Unfortunately, some caregivers betray that trust and cause physical, emotional, and financial harm to older adults.
Maintaining the safety and security of older adults is one of the many reasons why licensed home care agencies and long-term care facilities conduct background checks on caregiver applicants.
At FCP Live-In, we recruit caregiver applicants on a national level and that means we conduct national and state background checks on our caregiver candidates.
In addition, our agency requires applicants to have certification as a certified nursing assistant, a home health aide, or a patient care assistant and at least two years of professional experience.
Caregivers with certification or a state-issued license are less likely to risk losing their credentials—and their livelihood—by abusing older adults. Many elder abuse cases involve unlicensed caregivers hired directly by seniors or their family members.
As an example, a 55-year-old unlicensed caregiver in Florida was charged in January 2020 with exploitation of the elderly. The caregiver was accused of stealing $1.1 million over a four-year period from a 94-year-old woman. The older adult, who hired the woman, died in June 2019.
The alleged theft was discovered by the attorney who was appointed trustee of the older woman’s estate. Police authorities said the caregiver had previous arrests for petit theft, grand theft, and violation of probation.
What is a Background Check?
An employment background check is a screening of a caregiver applicant’s background to make sure that the person would not pose a threat or cause harm to a company or the company’s clients. A national background check helps employers determine whether an applicant has committed the same or similar crimes in multiple states.
In the case of caregivers, a thorough background review helps an agency find the best people to care for older adults and reduces the company’s risk of hiring someone convicted of elder abuse.
Most background checks require employers to fingerprint caregiver applicants in order to verify their identity and to match them with any criminal records.
Besides checking criminal records, a background check can involve reviewing an applicant’s:
- Employment history
- Driver’s records
- Credit history (some states prohibit employers from checking an applicant’s credit for hiring purposes)
Each type of background check provides a piece of an applicant’s history. Generally, an employer collects different pieces in order to see the “whole picture” of an individual or at least as much of a picture as possible.
States Require Background Checks on Caregivers
With the growing number of reports on elder abuse, some states are requiring background checks on people applying for caregiver positions.
Wisconsin’s Caregiver Law, for instance, requires background and criminal history checks for applicants wanting to work in nursing homes, community-based residential facilities, hospice programs, home health care companies, and home care agencies.
A similar law passed in Georgia where a 35-year-old caregiver was sentenced in August 2019 to 10 years (five years in prison and five years on probation) for elder neglect. The caregiver worked at an assisted living facility in East Cobb where he was accused of injuring a 91-year-old resident in August 2017. The older adult later died.
It was also alleged that the worker was fired from other caregiving jobs for neglecting patients.
The Georgia Long-Term Care Background Check Program law, which took effect in October 2019, now requires caregivers who want to work directly with seniors to undergo national background checks. Prior to that, a state criminal history check was done based only on a caregiver’s name. A fingerprint requirement takes effect in January 2021.
At the time the legislation passed in 2018, investigations by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation of elder abuse and abuse of adults with disabilities had increased 145 percent over the past five years.
FCP Live-In Caregiver Screening
At FCP Live-In, we put our caregiver applicants through a rigorous process before they are hired and allowed to have direct access to our senior clients.
Besides undergoing a state and national background check, we require caregiver applicants to:
- Perform a multiple interviews to determine whether they will be a good fit as a live-in caregiver with our agency.
- Meet one-on-one with our recruiters for an extensive interview
- Attend our operation team’s full-day orientation designed to assess the applicant
- Take and pass our agency’s skills assessments
Our in-home caregivers work with older adults who need help with bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and other personal care activities. Our caregivers also provide light housekeeping services and provide companionship to seniors, many of whom live alone.
FCP Live-In benefits from a thorough screening process because it helps us to hire in-home caregivers that will uphold the agency’s high standards and provide quality care to our older adult clients. Background checks also benefit older adults who can develop a bond with caregivers who they know are qualified to provide the daily care that they need.
To protect you or your loved one, make sure a thorough background check of the caregiver being placed, is done.
To learn more about FCP Live-In’s caregivers, screening process, or our caregiver Dementia and Alzheimer’s training, contact the agency today at 866-559-9492.