According to the Administration on Aging, there will be more than 72 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States by the year 2030. The growing senior population has increased the need for senior caregivers; however many seniors and their families are unaware of what to look for in a caregiver.
Finding someone qualified to take care of our elderly loved ones should be an utmost priority. Often referred to as the hidden crime, abuse of the elderly is on the rise. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused by their caretaker, we urge you to contact our attorneys right away to begin exploring your legal options.
To contact our attorneys to schedule a free, initial consultation, simply complete the Free Case Review form to the right of this page.
Types of Caregivers
The right caregiver for your loved one depends entirely on the needs of the elder adult. Typically, there are two different types of caregivers you can hire; a Home Health Aide (HHA) or a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
- Home Health Aide (HHA): HHAs only assist with everyday activities, like bathing, cooking and clothing the elder adult. In other words, they provide in-home, non-skilled car to a person that is sick or elderly, allowing the individual to remain in their home instead of moving into a facility. If an HHA is employed by a Medicare-licensed Home Health Agency in Georgia, it means that they have met federal requirements, including the completion of 75 hours of training and passing of a competency evaluation.
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): CNAs provide more advanced care than an HHA, such as checking vital signs, caring for wounds and administering catheters. CNAs are required to have some medical training and must be certified by the state of Georgia.
The Difference Between an Agency and an Independent Caregiver
When choosing a caregiver, you may have the option to hire an independent contractor or to use an agency to meet your caregiver needs. Each option has its pros and cons.
- Independent Caregiver: These tend to be less expensive than hiring a caregiver from an agency. By hiring an independent caregiver, however, you may be held responsible for taxes and liability insurance. An attorney will be able to advise you on any legal and financial implications of hiring an independent caregiver.
- Agency: Even though hiring a caregiver from an agency tends to be more expensive, there are significantly fewer hassles. The agency will cover FICA taxes and liability insurance for the caregiver. When hiring from an agency, you might have the opportunity to try a few in order to find the perfect fit for the senior adult. Additionally, if the caregiver becomes sick or goes on vacation, the agency can provide a substitute.
Qualities to Look for in a Caregiver
When hiring a caregiver, it is important that you hire someone who possesses the following qualities:
- Patience: It is important that a caregiver is able to adjust to any changes in the behavior of an elderly person, including mood swings and personality issues.
- Good communication skills: Caregivers must be able to listen, retain, interpret and share information effectively.
- Respectful of a patient’s independence: The ability to do mundane tasks can help a patient’s self-esteem and not leave them feeling helpless. A caregiver must be able to determine which tasks the patient needs help with instead of just taking over all facets of their life.
- Detail-oriented: Especially if they are responsible for administering medication to a patient, it is critical that a caregiver pays attention to detail. Failing to be vigilant can put an elderly patient’s life at risk.
- Honest: Caregivers need to be able to report information accurately in emergency situations. Falsifying information can put a patient in danger.
- Compassionate: A good caregiver should be able to sympathize with their patients in order to determine what will make them comfortable.
- Emotionally stable: Being a caregiver is a demanding job. You don’t want an aide that will break down emotionally in front of patients.
- Physically fit: Caregivers will often be required to lift patients and move medical equipment. It is important that an aide is strong enough to push a patient around in a wheelchair if necessary. Also, it is not uncommon for caregivers to stand for long periods of time.
- Dependable: Especially if the elder adult has around-the-clock care, it is crucial that a caregiver is dependable and punctual.
Finding a qualified caregiver for your loved one can be a daunting task. It is important to find one who you and your loved one both trusts and feels comfortable with.
When evaluation home health agencies, we recommend using Medicare’s Home Health Compare Tool.
If you have any questions regarding home health services or if you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse at the hands of their caregiver, we urge you to contact our attorneys right away.
At The Eichholz Law Firm, we have the skills and resources necessary to successfully litigate an injury claim and, more importantly, to put an end to the abuse.
To begin exploring your legal options, contact our attorneys today by completing the Free Case Review form on this page.