When it comes to the safety of your loved ones in hiring someone to care for them in their home, you want to ensure that your loved one will get the best care and ensure your caregiver won’t commit crimes while in your home.
In Oregon, caregivers themselves do not have to be licensed or certified. Anyone can provide caregiving services including a friend, family member, or a neighbor from down the street. According the Oregon Department of Health Services there is a high reported incidence of elder abuse; 18 percent of all reported cases of abuse are from caregivers.
To help protect seniors, the state requires businesses that provide caregivers to be licensed. The State of Oregon licenses companies that provide caregivers under two different kinds of licenses, “Caregiver Registries” and “In-home Care Agencies”. Although the in-home services all have different names, they are all non-medical providers (as opposed to in-home medical providers which are licensed as “Home Health” companies).
By selecting caregivers through either a registry or an in-home care agency you will have some protection as the state requires a criminal background check, an interview, and basic skills. Getting a couple of references is also a great idea and personally interviewing the caregiver prior to start of service will also let you know what you are getting.
Stability for your loved one is important. When interviewing caregiving companies, ask if the company switches caregivers from day to day, a common issue with large in-home care agencies. The best situation is to have the same caregiver day after day so they can watch for needs and health issues. The ability of the caregiving firm to work together with the home health provider is important, as there is a need for a team approach.
There can be a strong correlation between the quality of care the caregiver gives and the pay they received. Ask the caregiving company how much they pay their caregivers. In-home care agencies are required by state regulations to be employers and most pay minimum wage or just above. Registries partner with care professionals who are independent contractors and make a living wage. The registry caregivers have a greater interest in top performance since they are partners, not employees. Given the overall rates are about the same with both types of companies; it appears that the better paid caregiver would be the wise choice.
Using established state licensed companies for obtaining your needed caregiver services will provide some protection from elder abuse, but there is no substitute for meeting the company’s managers and the caregiver they are proposing.