As our loved ones age, it becomes increasingly more important to provide the help they need to maintain a good quality of life. As physical states deteriorate further and further, many families choose to hire in-home care to tend to their loved ones' needs.
Unfortunately, not every individual or company that offers in-home care is trustworthy, and in many cases, in-home care can result in elder abuse. Elder abuse is a very serious crime, and should not be overlooked, but preventing it starts before a care provider ever enters your loved one's home.
By following these guidelines, you may identify suspicious care providers before they have the opportunity to violate your trust and the rights of the one you love.
How does the care provider screen its employees?
South Carolina enacted the Licensure of In-Home Care Providers Act in 2011, which essentially requires any person or business that provides in-home medical care to meet a number of state regulations and maintain proper licenses. This is good in so far as it weeds out care providers who might simply claim they can do the job, but is still a relatively low barrier to entry for the field.
When considering a specific provider, you should ask about how they screen their employees, especially for any criminal records and especially any history of abuse, theft or drug convictions. You may also consider asking about their drug-screening policies.
You should also ask about the required health care qualifications and training carried by their employees, such as CPR. This may also include training to assist your loved one with various tasks and emotional support.
It is important to understand (and get in writing) the company's policies about replacing a caregiver. Can you simply request a different person, or do you have to specify a reason? Also, does the company have a system for evaluating the quality of caregivers' work, and how is this evaluation accomplished?
Finally, you should know what insurance the caregiver carries and if the company itself covers the policy or if the caregiver provides it independently.
Abuse may still occur
Like in a nursing home setting, no amount of vetting can completely negate the possibility of elder abuse. If you discover that your loved one suffers abuse from an in-home caregiver, you should not hesitate to speak with an attorney who understands how to properly pursue elder abuse claims in South Carolina.
Your loved one deserves the very best care and support, including aggressively pursuing legal action against anyone who harms them.