Archive for the ‘Hiring a Private Caregiver’ Category

Hiring a Private Caregiver

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off

When choosing to hire a private caregiver, it is essential that you fully comprehend your specific duties and responsibilities. Without a home care agency to manage the hiring process, it is entirely up to you. You are required to:

1. Screen the private caregiver:

After you have thoroughly assessed you or your loved one’s situation and determined that a private caregiver is the right choice for you, you can begin looking for possible candidates for the job. You should begin by making a job description of what you are specifically looking for in a caregiver. This will help when you are reviewing resumes and eliminating those that are not pertinent to your situation.

Screening a private caregiver begins by looking carefully at his or her resume. Does the caregiver meet all of your needs depicted in your job description? Do you have a good feeling about the level of experience portrayed on the resume? Do they have appropriate health care training? After reviewing a multitude of resumes, choose the applicants that seem like they would be a perfect fit for you or your loved one.

The next part of the screening process is to call the numbers given on the applicants’ resumes. Speak with each applicant and agree upon an interview time that would be convenient for the both of you. If you do not feel that the applicant is a perfect fit for you based on the telephone conversation alone, simply tell them you will further review their resume and then move on to the next applicant. You are now ready to interview your potential private caregivers.

2. Interview the private caregiver:

To begin the interview process, you must develop an interview format that you will use for each applicant you will be interviewing. Using the same format for all of the applicants will make it much easier to compare and contrast their answers. First, you will need to ask basic questions about work expectations and requirements. Here are a few examples:

• What type of qualifications do you have?
• Do you have a driver’s license, registration, and car?
• What types of diagnoses are you familiar with?
• What types of medications have you administered?
• What hours are you available?
• Are you available to spend the night?
• How many patients have you cared for?
• What other commitments do you have at this moment?
• Are you a legal resident?
• Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
• Is anything on your criminal record that would affect my decision to hire you?
• Do I have your permission to conduct a background check on you?
• Do I have your permissions to contact your references?
• What do you charge per hour?

After asking basic questions, you will then need to develop questions that will give you a better understanding of the applicants’ character and work ethic. These questions should prompt the applicant to provide specific examples and explanations. Examples of these types of questions include:

• Tell me a time you had to deal with a stressful situation and explain how you dealt with it.
• What are your strengths and weaknesses in a work environment? Give me examples.
• What do you like most/least about caregiving? Why?
• Why should I hire you?
• Tell me a time when you had to make a judgment call that did not coincide with the rules. How did this make you feel?
• What would you do in case of an emergency?
• Tell me a time when your emotions got the best of you.
• Do you have any questions that will help clarify the specific job requirements?

You will want to make sure that your potential private caregiver is entirely clear on what the job requires. There should be no surprises later on. You may want to have a second opinion before hiring a private caregiver. If it makes you feel more comfortable, ask a family member or friend to be a part of the interview process with you.

3. Perform reference checks:

In order to ensure that private caregivers are not misrepresenting themselves, you must check their references carefully. Checking references is imperative to the hiring process. It will reaffirm that the caregiver you are hiring is reliable, dependable, honest, and most importantly, the perfect fit for you or your loved one. Speaking with others who know the applicant is a great way to determine whether or not they are entirely qualified for the job. Although it may take more time and energy to contact references, it will prove beneficial in the long run. You should check an applicant’s references only after you have completed an interview and determined that the applicant has hiring potential. This will make the reference checking process more efficient and less time consuming.

Once you have determined that a private caregiver may be a perfect match for you or your loved one, the first step is telling them that you are going to contact the references that they have provided. Ask each applicant to sign a release form stating that you are permitted to contact their references and gather information about their past qualifications and experiences. This release form will ensure that you are not held responsible for the information you obtain and will prevent an applicant from taking legal action against you or any previous employers. Without a release form, you may only be able to obtain surface level information. If you experience any problems gathering the detailed information you need, you will have the release form available. Employers will be more likely to give you the information you desire if they feel comfortable sharing it with you.

After you acquire both a verbal and written agreement from your potential caregiver, you can now develop a reference checking format. Using the same format to check all of your applicants’ references will make it much easier to compare information across applicants. The reference checking format should begin with surface level information. For example:

• The name of the applicant
• The name of the reference
• The company’s name, address, and telephone number
• The applicant’s employment dates, starting and ending rate of pay, and starting and ending position.

You should then develop questions that delve further into the applicant’s qualifications, experiences, and character. You should ask questions that require a specific and detailed answer. Examples of these types of questions include:

• Describe how the applicant handled stressful situations?
• Describe a time when the applicant showed dependability?
• What was the applicant’s attendance record?
• What are the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses?
• Describe the applicant’s attitude toward their work environment.
• Describe the relationship you have with the applicant.
• Would you recommend the applicant for this specific position? Why or why not?
• What were the applicant’s specific duties and responsibilities?
• Would you rehire the applicant? Why or why not?
• Why did the applicant leave?
• Describe your general evaluation of the applicant.

You may also ask the reference to give any alternative information they think will help represent the applicant. After checking all the references your applicants have provided, you will have acquired vital information to help you make the perfect decision.

4. Perform background checks:

A background check is entirely different from a reference check, but it is equally as important. A private caregiver’s record must be checked thoroughly because you must verify that the caregiver you are hiring is honest, dependable, responsible, and most importantly, safe. There are many different aspects of background checks to consider when determining whether or not you should hire a private caregiver. Before conducting a background check, you should make certain that it includes a variety of factors.

The background check you choose should match the applicant’s name to their social security number. You will need to make sure that the background check includes a criminal background check. This will ensure that you or your loved one’s safety will not be at risk. A criminal background check will reveal any convictions for offenses that may be a cause for concern, such as theft, drug offences, assault charges, and more. The criminal background check should verify the court records in every location the applicant has ever lived. Make sure that the applicant provides you with each and every one of their previous addresses. Also make sure that you ask the applicant if they have ever been convicted of a felony or anything that would affect your decision in hiring them.

You should also ensure that the background check includes both a sex offender check and a driving record check. A driving record check will determine whether or not the applicant has a Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license, vehicle registration, automobile insurance, and a driving record. Make sure that the background check includes financial information that will reveal credit records. Background checks may also include additional personal references, neighbor interviews, character references, and information regarding past employers.

Most background checks require a fee, so if you see an opportunity to conduct a free background check, take it. Background checks must follow the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA states that information may only be provided from the past seven years. When it comes to hiring a caregiver, it is important to check the laws within your state to determine whether you can obtain any information that goes further than seven years. After conducting a background check, you can compare the results to the information the applicant has already provided. This is a great way to ensure that your potential private caregiver is being entirely honest with you.

Day-to-Day Management of your Private Caregiver

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off

If you choose to hire a private caregiver, you will not have an agency to help with the management process. All of the day-to-day managing is up to you. Before a private caregiver begins working for you, you must establish guidelines. Write down your expectations and have a preliminary meeting with your caregiver to discuss them. Your expectations should include:

• Explanation of work requirements
• Beginning and ending times
• Dress code
• Things you must have
• Things you can not stand
• Payment

You should have a formal conversation with your caregiver every week to discuss what is going well and what needs improvement. Frequently communicating with your caregiver is a great way to ensure the success of your relationship. You and your caregiver will feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing any concerns to each other. If a problem does not get addressed, it will probably continue and could possibly get worse. Open communication with your private caregiver will prevent any unnecessary stress. If you feel that the line of communication you have with your caregiver is not effective, you should start looking for another caregiver.

To pay a private caregiver, you must ensure that they sign a conditional waiver and an unconditional waiver. A conditional waiver will prevent the private caregiver from claiming rights to your property. An unconditional waiver should be signed at every pay period and will prevent any disputes about payment in the future.

When it comes to withholding taxes and filing reports with the state and federal government, you must first complete Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. You should keep this file in your records after completion. Then, you must complete Form 1099-MISC. This form will report your financial information, payment and due taxes, to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Form 1099-MISC must be distributed to your private caregiver by January 31 of the year succeeding payment and to the IRS by February 28. Form 1099-MISC is only required if you expect to be paying your private caregiver more than $600 per year.

Hiring an Agency vs. Private Caregiver

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver, Hiring an Agency Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off

After assessing the patient’s situation, you must determine whether you want to hire a caregiver through an agency or hire a private caregiver. To make this decision, you must consider two things: management and payment.

• Management:

When hiring an agency caregiver, the agency bears responsibility for recruiting, screening, background checks, reference checks, credential checks, hiring, firing, salary negotiation, and day-to-day management of the caregiver. Without an agency, these responsibilities fall on you.

When it comes to paying the caregiver, an agency will pay wages, withhold taxes, and file required reports with the state and federal government. Without an agency, the care recipient or the family is held responsible for accomplishing these duties.

If an agency caregiver does not show up for his or her shift, the agency will provide a back-up caregiver. If a private caregiver does not show up for his or her shift, it may be difficult to find another caregiver on such short notice. Agencies will often provide training for caregivers, such as CPR and first aid training. This is not the case when hiring a private caregiver. If a caregiver has an accident or is injured on the job, an agency carries a policy covering the caregiver. Without the agency, the care recipient or the family must carry a policy covering the caregiver.

Private caregivers are often less expensive than an agency caregiver and you will have more freedom choosing the perfect caregiver for you or your loved one. If you choose to hire a private caregiver, however, you must consider all of the responsibilities you are accountable for. If you are not willing to take on these responsibilities, an agency caregiver may be a better option for you.

• Payment:

The cost of an agency caregiver ranges from $11-$30 per hour, while the cost of a private caregiver ranges from $8-$20 per hour.
Most agencies accept many forms of insurance for payment. If you wish to make payments with private insurance or Medicare for an acute condition, you must use an agency that accepts these types of insurance. If you wish to make payments with Medicaid or Long Term Care Insurance (LTC), you must also use an agency that accepts these types of insurance.

Private caregivers are often less expensive than agency caregivers, but they seldom accept insurance as a form of payment. The patient or the patient’s family will have to use their own money and assets to pay for care. To pay a private caregiver, you must ensure that they sign a conditional waiver and an unconditional waiver. A conditional waiver will prevent the private caregiver from claiming rights to your property. An unconditional waiver should be signed at every pay period and will prevent any disputes about payment in the future.

When it comes to withholding taxes and filing reports with the state and federal government, you must first complete Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. You should keep this file in your records after completion. Then, you must complete Form 1099-MISC. This form will report your financial information, payment and due taxes, to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Form 1099-MISC must be distributed to your private caregiver by January 31 of the year succeeding payment and to the IRS by February 28. Form 1099-MISC is only required if you expect to be paying your private caregiver more than $600 per year.

Assessing a Patient’s Situation

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver, Hiring an Agency Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | 12,072 Comments

When assessing a patient’s situation, the first factor to consider is whether medical care, in-home care, or both are needed.

Medical care: A patient’s condition can be considered either acute or chronic. When a patient is expected to make a full recovery from an injury or medical condition, they have an acute condition. This condition can include:

 heart attack
 broken bones
 knee or hip surgery
 heart surgery
 mild stroke
 chemotherapy

These patients will require a high level of medical care in a short period of time to help their bodies heal and restore their normal function and independence. Medical care includes taking vital sign measurements, caring for wounds, monitoring healing progress, physical therapy (if applicable) to restore the patient’s ability to walk and move normally, and occupational therapy (if applicable) to restore the patient’s speech or fine motor skills. This level of medical care is short-term and may be needed anywhere from two to six months.

In-home care: When a patient is not expected to make a full recovery or if they are expected to be incapacitated in some way for the long-term, they have a chronic condition. This condition can include:

 Complications from a prior surgery or disease
 On-going conditions such as diabetes, COPD/emphysema, or glaucoma/blindness
 Progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or ALS.

Their ability to ambulate (move by themselves) could be hindered. They may have difficulties remembering critical tasks for living. They may lose the physical capacity to keep house, prepare meals, bathe, clothe themselves, and pay bills. In these circumstances, the care focus shifts from medical care to in-home care. In-home care workers have less medical training and perform tasks that help compensate for the decreased independence brought on by chronic conditions. Because patients with chronic conditions are not expected to make a full recovery, in-home care will be needed for the long-term. When a patient has an acute condition that has developed complications and becomes chronic, in-home care will also be necessary.

Some patients do not have a specific medical condition but still need in-home care. If a patient experiences strain from daily tasks of living, are mildly forgetful, have difficulty moving, or experiences incontinence, in-home care is usually a great fit for allowing them to maintain independence for as long as possible.

After determining which type of care you or your loved one requires, you must decide whether part-time (1-4 times per week and 2-4 hours per day), full-time (5-8 hours per day, 5-7 days a week), or round-the-clock (24 hour) care is needed. The daily amount of care needed depends on the patient’s level of independence and if there are family members, friends, or others in the community who are available to help with care. The level of independence can be measured by the patient’s physical and mental capabilities.

Part-time: A patient will need part-time care if he or she is still able to walk and use the restroom independently, needs light assistance with bathing and dressing, needs help with vigorous tasks such as housekeeping or cooking, and is only occasionally forgetful. This type of patient is considered independent. If the patient has family members or close friends living with them, the level of independence is even stronger.

Full-time: A patient will need full-time care if he or she has some trouble walking and using the restroom independently, needs help with bathing and dressing, and forgets important things such as turning off appliances or electronics, location of house or car keys, and medication schedules. This type of patient is considered somewhat dependent. If the patient lives alone but has immediate family members and friends nearby, part-time to full-time care is suggested.

Round-the-clock: A patient will need round-the-clock care if he or she is physically incapacitated or bedridden, cannot use the restroom independently, cannot bathe or dress on his or her own, or is mentally incapacitated as in later stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. This type of patient is considered dependent. If a live-in family member can perform some of this care, the patient may only need full-time care. If there is no family member or close friend who can live with the person, round-the-clock care is required. It is recommended that 24 hours of care be broken into 2-3 shifts.

Background and Reference Checks for Private Caregivers

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver on Friday, November 13th, 2009 | 13,861 Comments

If you’ve decided to hire a private caregiver, you understand that the hiring responsibility falls on you. (For the pros and cons of hiring a private vs. agency caregiver, see our Comparison Chart). You will have to screen and interview potential private caregivers, as well as perform reference and background checks. Don’t worry – with a little guidance you can get through it and make sure you hire a great caregiver you can trust.

Here are some helpful tips:

In order to ensure that private caregivers are not misrepresenting themselves, you must diligently perform a reference check. A reference check ensures that the caregiver you are hiring is reliable, dependable, honest, and most importantly, the perfect fit for you or your loved one. Speaking with others who know the applicant is a great way to determine whether or not they are entirely qualified for the job. Although it may take more time and energy to contact references, it will prove beneficial in the long run.

You should check an applicant’s references only after you have completed an interview and determined that the applicant has hiring potential. This will make the reference checking process more efficient and less time consuming.

Once you have determined that a private caregiver may be a perfect match for you or your loved one, the first step is telling them that you are going to contact the references that they have provided. Ask each applicant to sign a release form stating that you are permitted to contact their references and gather information about their past qualifications and experiences. This release form will ensure that you are not held responsible for the information you obtain and will prevent an applicant from taking legal action against you or any previous employers.

Without a release form, you may only be able to obtain surface level information. If you experience any problems gathering the detailed information you need, you will have the release form available. Employers will be more likely to give you the information you desire if they feel comfortable sharing it with you.

After you acquire both a verbal and written agreement from your potential caregiver, you can now develop a reference checking format. Using the same format to check all of your applicants’ references will make it much easier to compare information across applicants. The reference checking format should begin with surface level information. For example:

  • The name of the applicant
  • The name of the reference
  • The company’s name, address, and telephone number
  • The applicant’s employment dates
  • Starting and ending rate of pay
  • Starting and ending position

You should then develop questions that delve further into the applicant’s qualifications, experiences, and character. You should ask questions that require a specific and detailed answer. Examples of these types of questions include:

  • Describe how the applicant handled stressful situations.
  • Describe a time when the applicant showed dependability.
  • What was the applicant’s attendance record?
  • What are the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe the applicant’s attitude toward their work environment.
  • Describe the relationship you have with the applicant.
  • Would you recommend the applicant for this specific position? Why or why not?
  • What were the applicant’s specific duties and responsibilities?
  • Would you rehire the applicant? Why or why not?
  • Why did the applicant leave?
  • Describe your general evaluation of the applicant

You may also ask the reference to give any alternative information they think will help represent the applicant. After checking all the references your applicants have provided, you will have acquired vital information to help you make the perfect decision.

A background check is entirely different from a reference check, but it is equally as important. A private caregiver’s record must be checked thoroughly because you must verify that the caregiver you are hiring is honest, dependable, responsible, and most importantly, safe. There are many different aspects of background checks to consider when determining whether or not you should hire a private caregiver. Before conducting a background check, you should make certain that it includes a variety of factors.

The background check you choose should match the applicant’s name to their social security number. You will need to make sure that the background check includes a criminal background check. This will ensure that you or your loved one’s safety will not be at risk.

A criminal background check will reveal any convictions for offenses that may be a cause for concern, such as theft, drug offences, assault charges, and more. The criminal background check should verify the court records in every location the applicant has ever lived.

Make sure that the applicant provides you with each and every one of their previous addresses. Also make sure that you ask the applicant if they have ever been convicted of a felony or anything that would affect your decision in hiring them.

You should also ensure that the background check includes both a sex offender check and a driving record check. A driving record check will determine whether or not the applicant has a Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s license, vehicle registration, automobile insurance, and a driving record. Make sure that the background check includes financial information that will reveal credit records. Background checks may also include additional personal references, neighbor interviews, character references, and information regarding past employers.

Most background checks require a fee, so if you see an opportunity to conduct a free background check, take it.

Background checks must follow the guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA states that information may only be provided from the past seven years. When it comes to hiring a caregiver, it is important to check the laws within your state to determine whether you can obtain any information that goes further than seven years. After conducting a background check, you can compare the results to the information the applicant has already provided. This is a great way to ensure that your potential private caregiver is being entirely honest with you.

Reference and background checks contribute to your choice in hiring a private caregiver. These checks provide additional information that you are unable to receive in the screening and interviewing process. You will be more confident with your hiring decision knowing that you have a variety of information from alternative sources. If you experience any difficulties conducting reference and background checks, let us know how we can help.

To the best care

~Gretchen