From the NYTimes blog “The New Old Age” comes this story about the fast growing and largely unregulated world of home health care agencies. Some of the more disturbing facts:
- Only 16.5 percent of agencies tested potential caregivers’ basic knowledge about the job and its requirements.
- No agencies assessed potential caregivers’ “health literacy” – their ability to understand medical terms and instructions.
- Only 32 percent of agencies performed drug tests on applicants for caregiver positions.
- No agencies performed criminal background checks on applicants in states other than the one in which they were operating.
- Only 15 percent of agencies provided some type of training before sending a caregiver into someone’s home.
- More than half relied on caregivers’ own assessment of their skills – their ability to administer medications, provide dementia care, or transfer someone from chair to bed, for instance – without independent verification.
- Only 23 percent of agencies supervised caregivers by sending someone to the home monthly to check up on them.