Finding and hiring a qualified and suitable home caregiver are important steps to take once a loved one or family member reaches a point in their lives when they need a certain level of personal care at home. For many people, hiring a home caregiver is a preferable alternative to nursing homes or other facilities. Taking someone out of their home environment and placing them in an unfamiliar one can cause a lot of emotional stress to them and family members. But the idea of hiring a stranger to be in your friend or relative’s home and taking care of their daily needs and health can be somewhat daunting.
It’s important to take certain precautionary steps to find the right individual for this job, and make sure that not only are they qualified but they’re the right fit for the person who needs at-home care. To simplify the task of finding the best candidate without overlooking any critical details, here are some steps to help you effectively navigate the process:
Before you begin searching for local caregivers, it’s helpful to come up with specific criteria of what sort of professional you’re looking for. Caregivers who specialize in live-in care come from varied backgrounds with different areas and levels of expertise. The nature of their jobs often requires them to have a current ACLS or PALS certification, especially if they’re responsible for delivering critical life support care. Consider what needs are priorities to determine what type of caregiver to seek or advertise for.
Specific areas of care may include:
- Personal care: hygiene, bathing, dressing, eating
- Household care: cleaning, cooking, running errands, chores
- Health care: physical therapy, medication management, getting to medical appointments
- Emotional care: companionship, social activities, conversation
A clear job description will help to attract the most suitable candidates and narrow down your choices. You can decide how you conduct your search, whether it’s through searching an online platform or advertising independently.
Search reliable sources
Doing research online can uncover a wealth of resources on caregivers, including websites where caregivers advertise their services independently or through a third party. Many websites and platforms will indicate which caregivers have certain certifications that are deemed essential or mandatory, such as ACLS & PALS certifications. Do some due diligence to verify that the websites you browse and use are reliable and trustworthy and that they screen candidates properly.
Quality of care and professionalism are essential, but you also should consider what personality characteristics would make the prospective caregiver an ideal fit for the client since live-in care entails them spending considerable time together at the client’s home. Compassion, tact, and courtesy are all qualities that should belong to a good candidate, but there are other traits to consider, such as a sense of humor, common interests, a calming presence, and a friendly demeanor. Conducting in-person interviews are helpful in revealing a caregiver’s true nature and personality as it relates to their line of work.
Ideally, the client who will be receiving care should also have the opportunity to meet the candidate, and this will help determine if they’re a mutually compatible fit. To make this process as manageable and efficient as possible, you could break it into a 3-step process of determination:
- Preliminary phone screening
- 1st in-person interview with you
- 2nd in-person interview and meeting with the client
A qualified and experienced caregiver should be able to provide references from other clients or employers. It’s important to be able to cross-check their work history and quality of service from other people and agencies. If you’re hiring independently, verification of their certifications and experience should be a priority on your checklist. You need to be able to trust the person who will be providing essential care in the private home of the client. Any discrepancies or lack of details in a background check are potentially a red flag that should be acknowledged and considered as possible grounds for disqualification.
Have a trial period
If you think you’ve found the right caregiver, it’s entirely acceptable to employ them on a trial basis to see how things go first before hiring them permanently. This also gives the client and the caregiver a chance to get acquainted and comfortable with one another, and make sure that the person you’ve hired is able to fulfill their duties and meet all your expectations.
Home caregivers are more than service providers and employees. They bear a great deal of responsibility for your loved one’s health and emotional well-being. The caregiver you ultimately choose to hire needs to earn and sustain your trust and that of the client in their care. While the process of finding and hiring a home caregiver may seem extensive, it’s worth investing time and effort to be extra selective and thorough when screening the right person to fill the position.