Now that you’ve made the tough decision that your aging loved one needs help at home, here comes the even harder part: finding the right person to invite into your home — and life — every day. While it can seem like a daunting task, take heart. Read on for the four key questions you should ask of any caregiver candidate to determine if he or she is a match for your family.
1. Do you have insurance and references?
Hiring a caregiver should be like any other job application process, though know if you decide to hire privately, the onus will be on you. Because VNAs are certified Medicare/Medicaid providers, “they are required to use licensed personnel (CNA, HHA) get background checks, train their employees, and see that training is current, have insurance and bonding for all their employees, and the same ones work both the insured-care and the private-pay sides of the house,” says Howland.
2. Are you allowed to administer medication?
This is important because only a licensed RN or LPN can do this. “’Administer’ means put the medicine in the person’s mouth. Supervising, reminding, and preparation are different,” Greenberg explains.
3. What would you consider an emergency, and how have you dealt with emergencies in the past?
Again, it is you and your family who must define for the caregiver what constitutes an emergency, as well as when you or a member of the family wishes to be contacted, and who is going to make decisions about taking someone to the ER, Greenberg says. Still, it is important to know how any candidate would react in an emergency situation.
4. Do you have experience caring for someone with a disability?
If your loved one has cognitive deficits, then it is even more important that the expectations and goals be clarified. “I usually broaden this question to ask about the person’s experiences with those with disability,” Greenberg explains. “It helps to understand how the aide may frame the disability question and being young without direct experience doesn’t preclude a having a sensitive, caring demeanor.”