As we’ve discussed several times recently, the problem with training nursing home caregivers and keeping up with proper staffing requirements has been one of the most prominent topics in the ongoing debate about the care and services your loved ones receive in nursing homes. These topics come to mind when reading a recentpress release from a company that focuses on background screening of home healthcare professionals.

At its most basic level, home health care options — where, for instance, a Registered Nurse or similar professional provides personal care in a patient’s home — are on the opposite end of the spectrum from nursing homes, although they do provide the same basic service, namely, providing health care services for those unable to care for themselves.

What’s cause for discussion, however, is the detailed and thorough criteria that the article suggests as a means to vet a potential health care professional. To quote from the article:

“Those home health care agencies that stay committed to thoroughly and extensively screening all of their staff will be in the best position to succeed. A recent issue of Caring magazine points out the growing use of technology as a means of increasing services to the home health care client. PDAs, smart phones and other technology will provide the home health care provider with the right tools to give patients the care they need and at the same time provide the agencies with methods of effectively supervising their staff in the field. Utilizing these technologies requires finding the right people for the job, people committed to their work and to the training required.”

These concerns don’t even come up when evaluating the same sorts of individuals in the context of a nursing home care setting. Many facilities can barely find enough individuals with the proper training to follow a patient’s plan of care — certainly more than a few steps behind integrating smart phones and other technology to keep integrated with patient care and keep a facility posted. What really stood out, though, was the following laundry list of questions to ask a potential home healthcare professional:

  • Are your hiring practices standardized for all levels of employees and do you have a written screening policy?
  • Do you understand how Federal EEOC and FCRA laws and rules, and your local state rules affect your organization?
  • Are you current with new laws and changes?
  • Right now, could you explain what changes will take place in 2013 affecting your industry?
  • When is the last time you looked at your insurance policies?
  • Are all of your employees compliant?
  • Do you survey your clients to understand why they use you instead of the competition?
  • If you lose a client do you conduct an interview to find out why?
  • Do you seek a testimonial from your clients?
  • Do you have a crisis management program in place?
  • If you receive a complaint about a caregiver, is there a written policy in place that lays out the immediate steps to take and the follow up that is needed?
  • These questions might also serve as good indicators when shopping for a potential nursing home, possibly using the answers as something of a “tell” as a subtle means to coax out broader problems that plague nursing homes these days.

Again, the two industries are in competition, and it’s not entirely congruous to compare the two. But at the same time, it is still an interesting — and somewhat eye-opening — contrast to see just how far behind many nursing home standards and practices currently lag.

You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have anyquestions and to learn how we may be able to help you or your loved one who has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect – in particular, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.

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