Home care, Safety, Security

Four safety and security questions to ask before welcoming a home care professional into your home

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We’re continuing our “buyer beware” series to talk about another critical topic: safety and security. 

Any credible home care provider conducts a thorough background check on every service provider they hire, but there are other details to consider. The four questions below will cover those bases.

As always, look for concrete answers in addition to noting the tone and tenor of their response, because anyone who sounds defensive or offended by questions about safety and security is also waving that big red “buyer beware” flag. 

1.Are your home care workers contractors or employees?

This is one of the most important questions to ask, because it potentially affects clients in two ways.

The first is financial. Employers are required by law to deduct taxes, EI and CPP from their staff’s salary. But contractors are responsible for handling these details themselves. 

If the CRA audits a contract worker and finds they haven’t declared all their income, they could target the client to recoup any taxes owing.

The second is liability. Contract workers should carry their own malpractice and workplace insurance, but many don’t due to the cost. Employers on the other hand are mandated to carry this insurance.

If you’re using an online matching service to find home care workers at a lower cost, be sure to ask if their staff are contractors or employees. 

2.If the caregiver I’m assigned isn’t a good fit or I’m mistreated, how will you find a better match?

What online matching services may fail to mention is that when you hire one of their home care workers, you have technically become an employer. 

That means any issues that may arise, whether it’s just a bad fit personally, discovering their skills aren’t up to snuff, or if you’re outright abused, is a problem you’ll have to solve on your own. 

So the answer to this question reveals whether they hold themselves accountable for the staff on their roster.  If you find yourself left in the lurch you’ll have to do all the work to handle the problem as well as starting at square one to find someone new.

Licensed home care agencies that employ full-time staff are less likely to hire problem staff in the first place because they’re accountable if a problem arises and they have a management team in place to respond.

3.Does your company conduct criminal record and vulnerable sector background checks for all the staff on your roster? 

The biggest safety risk is of course knowing your worker is who they say they are and hasn’t committed a crime.

There are many kinds of background checks that find this information. Ask your provider if they conduct vulnerable sector background checks on all their staff. 

4.Are your caregivers vaccinated?

While the worst of the pandemic is over, contracting COVID or some other virus will always be a concern for those with a vulnerable health status. 

If you believe you’ll be at risk, you have every right to ask this question to ensure your safety. GEM requires three COVID vaccinations for all their staff.

In addition to these questions, starting with a care plan assessment conducted by a nurse or care coordinator is a preventative measure. 

There’s nothing less safe than missing a service that could prevent a fall, fire, or some other accident that makes it impossible to stay where you’re most comfortable: at home.

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