Navigation Links
Home Elder Care: Buyer, Beware
Date:7/13/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Many home aides who care for the elderly in the United States have no training and don't undergo stringent background checks or drug tests, a new study finds.

In some cases, the caregivers get no supervision from the agencies that hire and place them. Most agencies questioned said they recruit aides from advertisements, including Internet sites such as Craigslist, and some agencies appear to lie about their employees' screening or education, the researchers found.

"There are good caregivers and good agencies, but consumers need to understand that there are questions that you need to ask," said study lead author Dr. Lee Lindquist, an associate professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "You need to be discerning about whom you hire."

Her study looked at the qualifications of caregivers who visit the homes of the elderly to assist with daily activities such as dressing and meal preparation. "These are not nurses," Lindquist said. "These are caregivers, private duty attendants. They don't need any medical training."

They may be expected to help with nutrition assistance, housekeeping, and scheduling medical appointments. But legally, these often low-paid workers can't administer medicine, although they can remind their clients to take their pills, she said.

Without adequate quality control measures, the frail elderly may be vulnerable to abuse, fraud or neglect, experts say.

For the study, researchers posing as consumers hiring caregivers questioned 180 caregiver agencies in Illinois, California, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin and Indiana -- states with large populations of elderly residents.

The study is published in the July 13 issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

Slightly more than half -- 56 percent -- of the agencies said they performed federal background checks and about one-third tested workers for drugs. Training ranged from nothing to seven days; in some cases, there was no supervision by the agency.

Two-thirds of the agencies said caregivers could assist in financial transactions, such as bill-paying.

Some agencies appeared to lie about their screening system. One agency said it relied on an assessment called the "National Scantron Test for Inappropriate Behaviors," while another mentioned "Assessment of Certification of Christian Morality." Those don't seem to exist, the researchers said.

Although laws vary by state, the caregiver agencies don't tend to be regulated, Lindquist said, whereas nursing homes, whose services can be funded by Medicare, are regulated.

According to background information in the study, the typical aide is a recent female immigrant, earning $7.25 an hour on average or, for live-in help, $5.44 an hour.

Beth Kallmyer, vice president of constituent services at the Alzheimer's Association, agreed with Lindquist that consumers need to ask plenty of questions when seeking elder care.

It's also a good idea to pay surprise visits when the caregivers are working. "Drop in and see how it's going," she said. "These unannounced visits are a really good way to help people feel comfortable about what's going on."

The study authors also recommend asking caregiver agencies the following questions:

  • How do you recruit caregivers, and what are your hiring requirements?
  • What screenings are performed before you hire a caregiver? Criminal background check? Federal or state? Drugs?
  • Do the aides have CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification or any health-related training?
  • Are the caregivers insured and bonded through your agency?
  • What skills are expected of the caregiver you send to the home? Examples: lifting and transfers, homemaking skills, personal care skills (bathing, dressing, toileting), and training in behavioral management.
  • How do you assess the caregiver's capabilities?
  • What is your policy regarding substitute caregivers if a regular caregiver cannot provide the contracted services?
  • If you're dissatisfied with a particular caregiver, can he or she be replaced "without cause"?
  • Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis? How often?
  • Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports, or in person at the home of the older adult?

More information

For more about caregivers, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Lee A. Lindquist, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; Beth Kallmyer, M.S.W., vice president of Constituent Services, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; July 13, 2012, Journal of American Geriatrics Society


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Dangerous caregivers for elderly
2. The Affordable Care Act could have negative consequences for elderly recipients
3. High Rates of Untreated Kidney Failure Seen in Elderly
4. Tai Chi increases brain size, benefits cognition in randomized controlled trial of Chinese elderly
5. Identity Theft Expert Advises on Why Elders are Targets for Scams and Financial Abuse
6. Loneliness linked to serious health problems and death among elderly
7. Elderly prisoners need better medical care, according to report
8. Colonoscopy May Detect Curable Cancer in Elderly: Study
9. Type of viral infection of eye associated with disease causing blindness in the elderly
10. Tuberculosis increases the risk of lung cancer mortality in the elderly
11. Cancer in the elderly: Research fails to keep up with demographic change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Home Elder Care: Buyer, Beware
(Date:8/22/2017)... NASHVILLE, Tenn. (PRWEB) , ... August 22, 2017 ... ... Company, is pleased to announce the addition of Zack Tisch as the ... services for the KLAS-ranked healthcare IT consulting firm’s national accounts, from assisting clients ...
(Date:8/22/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... “To Walk Away”: ... a B17 bomber named Edward Koontz. “To Walk Away” is the creation of published ... has published over two hundred manuscripts in chemistry and religion, as well as four ...
(Date:8/22/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... John Stewart ... and Managing Member for t4 Leadership Development & Consulting. He has spent his ... of “success”: physician leadership development, servant leadership, data driven process improvement, and supportive ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... August 22, 2017 , ... ... without risk to health and safety. By learning and implementing best practices for ... , In this webinar, attendees will gain a better understanding of a method ...
(Date:8/21/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Five chefs from local senior assisted living homes will serve ... Guests will be able to vote for their favorite Chef among the following: , ... Salad, Feta Cheese Sauce & Garlic Pita Crisp, Greek Mountain Ice Tea , ITALY, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/10/2017)... LAKEWOOD, Colo. , Aug. 10, 2017  Physical Rehabilitation ... Therapy, located in Lakewood, Colorado . The ... Jeff Lipkin , PT, DPT with his staff of ... the University of Pittsburgh and brings over 10 years of ... Belmar PT marks the 10th PRN clinic ...
(Date:8/8/2017)...   Second-quarter 2017 ... loss per share from continuing operations ... 16 percent to $110 million ... to $161 million Second-quarter ... operations increased 8 percent to $0.93 ...
(Date:8/7/2017)... Ind. , Aug. 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet ... musculoskeletal healthcare, today announced that its Board of Directors has ... for the third quarter of 2017. ... be paid on or about October 27, 2017 to stockholders ... 22, 2017.  Future declarations of dividends are subject to approval ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: