Home Health Aide Abuse
If sending your loved one to a care facility is not the right option for your family, you might decide to hire a caretaker for the home. There are many options when it comes to finding a home caretaker that you should consider and reevaluate as time goes on. However, just because you hire someone to come to your loved one’s home to help him or her does not mean that the possibility of neglect and abuse disappears. In your loved one’s home, or even your own home, neglect and abuse can occur, which is why you should constantly monitor any caretakers that you hire.
Home Health Care Options
When hiring a home caretaker for your loved one, you have several options. One of the first choices that you should make is if you want to hire an individual, private caretaker, or if you want to go through a home health care agency. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you might consider finding a private caretaker, interviewing him or her, and hiring this person on your own. However, if you would like guidance in this process, you can hire a home health care agency to place a caretaker in a home for you. This is oftentimes a more expensive option, but the agency will take care of the hiring process for you and evaluate the caretaker over time.
Once you decide if you want to use an agency or a private caretaker, you have to decide what kind of caretaker is best for your loved one’s situation. Consider the following options:
- Certified Home Health Aide: If your loved one needs help with some basic, everyday tasks, a home health aide might be a good option for you. Certified home health aides can help your loved one with task such as bathing, getting dressed, cooking, eating, etc. Some home health aides are certified to help with basic medical tasks, such as giving medication, caring for wounds, etc.
- Uncertified Home Health Aide: An uncertified home health aide can do everything that a certified home health aide can, but an uncertified aide will have less training and therefore charge less money for his or her services.
- Personal Care Aide: A personal care aide can help your loved one with very basic tasks, however, unlike a home health aide, a personal care aide cannot perform any medical tasks.
- Nurse: If your loved one needs medical attention, you might want to consider hiring a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse to take care of him or her. Hiring a nurse ensures that your loved one is getting as much attention that he or she can get at home.
Home Health Care Neglect and Abuse
Just as when you put a loved one in a care facility, you need to watch for warning signs of neglect and abuse when you hire a home caretaker. A few common home health care issues include:
- Bedsores: Just as in nursing homes, many elderly people with home health care have issues with bedsores. This is sometimes due to the fact that there is only one caretaker working with your loved one, making it more difficult to move your loved one. In other cases, a caretaker can forget to move your loved one, move him or her improperly, or leave him or her alone out of spite.
- Neglect: Caretakers might neglect your loved one because they can get away with it easily in a home health care situation. When a caretaker is working with a patient, they are oftentimes the only people home. There are no supervisors present, and many times other family members are not in the home either. This can make it easy for a caretaker to neglect his or her duties and make your loved one wait for attention.
- Medication Errors: Some types of home health caretakers are not certified to give medication to your loved one. If the caretaker tries to administer medication anyway, there could be issues with the dosage, medication type, etc.
- Improper grooming: A caretaker’s main duty is helping an elderly person with everyday tasks. This includes getting reading for the day. A caretaker should always help a patient with tasks such as brushing hair and washing his or her face. In some instances, a caretaker may be too rough while performing these tasks, and can hurt the patient. It is important to make sure that your loved one’s caretaker is performing grooming tasks properly.
- Improper bathing: Bathing is an important task that many elderly people need help with. A caretaker should be trained in how to properly bathe an elderly person to avoid burns from hot water, broken or sprained bones from slips in a bathtub, and making the patient feel uncomfortable during bathing.
Neglect and Abuse Prevention
You can prevent or identify neglect and abuse by following these tips:
- Hire the right aide: Taking the time to find the right home health aide can ensure that your loved one is treated with the respect that he or she deserves.
- Consider installing cameras in your loved one’s home: If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused, you could install hidden cameras in his or her home to document any issues. Putting up cameras can also deter poor behavior on the part of a caregiver.
- Communicate with your loved one: be consistent in talking with your loved one about he or she is being treated. Stopping by to visit while the caretaker is with your loved one is also a good idea.
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, please contact our office today.