Protecting Your Elderly Loved Ones from Unlicensed Caregivers
Do you have an unlicensed caregiver in your home watching your loved one?An unlicensed caregiver can put you and your loved one in danger of abuse, theft and even death. As we get older, daily life can become more and more difficult. Simply standing for long periods of time and walking long distances can prove to be a challenge. All of these inconveniences can make bathing, dressing even grocery shopping difficult. Our fatigued bodies can have balance issues adding hazards to everyday life. Many people might look for a caregiver who can assist with everyday activities.
Unfortunately, we have heard too many horror stories of elderly, powerless people who allow a friend to give them a name of an unlicensed caregiver. What do you really know of this person who goes to “the same church with Maggie?” Or that man “whose mother used to work for George?” Just because you “know” someone, does not mean that they are capable of being a competent caregiver. Meanwhile, unlicensed caregivers have been taking advantage of elderly people more times than we would like to think. Some even to the point of abuse, physically, mentally and financially.
Palm Beach County Home Caregiver Ordinance
This is why Palm Beach County started the Palm Beach Home Caregiver Ordinance in 2015. This ordinance requires that every individual who receives compensation, directly or indirectly for assisting any adult with daily living, is to be licensed AND registered within the county. Once registered, they will obtain a PB county identification badge. All RN’s, LPN’s, Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Nurse Specialists or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners who are certified in the field, do not need this ID card.
All caregivers and Home Health Aides (HHA’s) or any person that is working independently (not through an agency or nurse registry) must have a Palm Beach County Caregiver ID card. They will need to fill out an application and show a valid driver’s license or passport. Then each caregiver is photographed and fingerprinted. Their fingerprints go through a state and national Level 2 background check. The fingerprint database checks for arrests, warrants and any other information pertaining to that individual. The database will also checks for any criminal offense. In the end, it ensures that the unlicensed caregiver in your home has no criminal record. As a result, you now have valuable information that you would never have had, if a friend had recommended a caregiver to you.
Protecting our Seniors
The Palm Beach County Caregiver Ordinance states all individuals MUST register for a Home Care ID. If they are to care for a “vulnerable adult, they must be registered. A vulnerable person is defined as one “that is capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, or open to attack or damage.” Abuse can take many forms including physical, psychological, sexual, or financial abuse, discrimination, or neglect.
According to the National Council on Aging (2016), 1 in 10 Americans age 60+, have experienced some form of elder abuse. Every year, five million Senior Citizens are estimated to be abused. Only 7% of them ever report their abuse to authorities. The Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University & NYC Department for the Aging reports that for every 1 case of elder abuse known to programs and agencies there are 24 unknown cases.
The Increase in Elder Abuse
The risk of death by elder abuse increases 300% when you have a unlicensed caregiver in your home. Subsequently, it is estimated that medical costs that are directly related to injuries of the elderly add $5.3 billion to our nation’s annual health cost.
Even if physical abuse is not occuring, your loved ones is still at risk of being a victim of theft. Elder financial exploitation is another form of elder abuse. According to the Administration on Aging: National Center on Elder Abuse (2016), the financial loss by elder victims was estimated to be $2.9 billion in 2009. This is a 12% increase in just one year.
Platinum Select Nursing is Passionate in Preserving the Safety of the Senior Population
Platinum Select Nursing is passionate about protecting the safety, health and wellbeing of Seniors in South Florida. Therefore, all of our Home Health Aides and CNA caregivers are thoroughly vetted and screened. We make sure they have the appropriate certifications and education. Before we match our Platinum Select Nursing clients with a Caregiver, we put them through an extensive interview. All of our Home Health Aides are registered by the PBC Home Caregiver Ordinance. Every month, we send an affidavit for all the new Home Care Aides we hire. We provide the county their credentials to ensure compliance with the ordinance.
Furthermore, we offer a placement service if someone wants to hire a PRIVATE caregiver directly. We vet all our caregivers thoroughly, so we can meet and exceed your needs.
Helping to Raise Awareness
It is so important to raise awareness of this Ordinance so we can educate the public. Above all, if you hire a private caregiver, you must ask them to provide their PB county ID. If they do not have one, they will pay a $500 fine. Meanwhile if you hire a caregiver without a registered ID, you also may be subject to pay a fine.
In conclusion, the risk to your loved one is the most important thing we want to avoid. Why would you leave your elderly loved one, in the hands of a complete stranger? Someone who you truthfully know nothing about. Even if they did come highly recommended, a person’s situations can change at the drop of the hat. If this should happen, your loved one is now at risk.
Be safe and be smart! ANYONE who comes in to your home to care for an loved one, must be qualified, credible and capable!
For more information about Platinum Select Nursing, the Palm Beach Caregiver Ordinance or our PRIVATE CAREGIVER PLACEMENT PROGRAM, please feel free to contact us. (561) 998-3211.