Is a Fingerprint Check Enough to Ensure a Quality In-Home Caregiver?

A new wave of people needing in-home healthcare services is rapidly approaching. Tens of millions of retirees are already accessing later-in-life healthcare services, and that is projected to grow exponentially in coming decades. The Census Bureau reports that only about one percent of those aged 65 to 74 live in nursing homes.

Many older adults don’t want to move into facilities – nursing, assisted living or otherwise – because they prefer the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. As such, in-home healthcare caregivers are in huge demand. The quality of the background checks performed on these workers is iffy, though.

Mandating a Licensing Procedure

At least one city in Florida is trying to increase oversight into this industry. Palm Beach County is introducing a measure that will mandate a licensing procedure that includes a criminal background check and fingerprinting for anyone providing in-home care to seniors and other vulnerable adults.

The hope is that stricter entry requirements into the field will make it harder for criminals like this to slip through the cracks. Nearly 5,000 crimes were committed against seniors in the county during the 2013-2014 year, reports to the Palm Beach/Treasure Coast Area Agency for Aging. Burglary was the most common crime, followed by fraud or theft.

A state hotline set up for those who want to report the abuse, neglect or exploitation of a senior or other vulnerable adult in Palm Beach County receives 222 calls per month, says the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Adult Protective Services.

Current Guidelines

The new requirements are in addition to screening policies already in place at most in-home healthcare agencies. Most agencies require employees to undergo fingerprint background checks, but as we’ve already reported, FBI fingerprint checks are routinely sub-standard when compared with background checks performed by a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) like Active Screening.

Under the new guidelines, in-home workers must be photographed and get a physical license confirming they’ve met the new standards. This will cost about $20. The home-care agency, however, is the one required to prove that employees have undergone the new licensing requirement by providing an affidavit.

In-home workers not associated with, or contracted by, an agency must undergo the background check, fingerprinting and photographing at a cost of about $75. There is no word yet on who would oversee that process.

Agencies are worried

Oversight – or lack thereof for independent contractors – is partly why some home-care agencies are not happy with the new ordinance. They fear the new regulations will drive more quality workers to work for themselves, and not sign on with an agency where they know they’ll be required to undergo the extra steps and pay more money before being placed with a client.

We know how stressful finding a reputable, friendly, trustworthy, skilled and reliable home health-care worker can be, and we empathize with families who are going through this process. Here are 4 tips we think can help:

  1. Use a licensed placement agency. They have the most rigorous background checks and are also insured and bonded.
  2. Perform your own reference checks.
  3. Review your own financial statements every month.
  4. Find out if your agency sub-contracts with other agencies.

If you decide that hiring an independent caregiver suits your family’s needs best, it’s crucial that you partner with a trusted CRA like Active Screening who knows how to conduct thorough background checks, drug testing, access criminal reports and driving records. When you partner with Active Screening, you are getting a nationally-accredited screening agency who will take the guesswork out of the screening process.

We will help you:

  • Comply with federal regulations
  • Protect worker safety and privacy
  • Manage risks and minimize liabilities

What other tips do you have for our readers? Please share them below! And, click here to learn more about how Active Screening can help keep you safe in your home through our impressive background check process.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Clinical Services, Criminal Records, Driver’s Records, General, Human Resources, Identity & Credit, Industry Solutions, News, References & Credentialing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
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