Caregiver standards critiqued
A new study furnishes compelling evidence of the need for the national Caring Across Generations campaign that’s just getting up steam.
Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine interviewed personnel at 180 agencies that provide caregivers to persons who need help to live independently at home. The results, as summarized in The New York Times, are troubling, to say the least.
Only one in six agencies tested potential caregivers’ basic knowledge about the requirements of the job. Only one third required drug testing of applicants for caregiving work. Only 15 percent provided some type of training before sending a caregiver into someone’s home.
And none of the 180 agencies tested potential caregivers’ “health literacy” – their ability to understand medical terms and instructions.
“There are many good agencies out there, and caregivers who do a fantastic job,” said Dr. Lee Ann Lindquist, the study’s lead author. “But there are other agencies just interested in making money.
and caregivers you wouldn’t want taking care of anyone you know.”
At the heart of the Caring Across Generations program are measures to transform the quality of caregiving as a profession by providing a living wage, health coverage and other benefits, as well as well-designed training programs and a career path.
If such standards become law, profit-motivated agencies will have to reform, or go into some other line of business. Caregivers will be prepared to meet the challenges they will surely face. And the nation’s millions of infirm elderly will have their basic needs met with skill and compassion during their final years.