In the State of Arizona, a law was issued to ensure that nonmedical in-home care agencies report annually what their practices are, and what services they provide, and while it appeared to be a step in the right direction to ensure quality care among senior citizens, it’s proved to be anything but.
The law issued was meant to force in home care agencies to release information about how they conduct their business, i.e. what training their employees undergo, if they perform background checks or semi-regular drug tests, the cost of their services, and what their policies are for hiring/firing workers. While this is all well and good, the problem is with what should be happening, but what is happening; the law acts as mere words lacking any action.
Few in-home care agencies present this information unless they are issued a complaint—that appears to be the only time the state follows up. In fact, some argue that this law has created a slippery slope within the in-home care agencies of Arizona, as now many people assume a home care agency follows the law, when there’s been no enforcement thus far. As Judy Clinco states, “All you need is a business license… no qualifications necessary. Even felons can do it” (Arizona Daily Star).
Here in Washington
The law passed resembles the Home Care Aide Certification voted on in Washington in 2011 and the Elder and Vulnerable Adult Placement Referrals Bill that our Care Advisors helped pass that same year (HB 1494). These bills require background checks & best practices training even among nonmedical home care aides.
For the most part, these standards are vigorously maintained, but it is possible for in-home care agencies to avoid detection and pass themselves off as agencies of the same caliber. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to work with our Care Advisors as we personally vet and investigate each senior care company we refer families too.
Even if you’re not currently working with us, if you come across a home-care agency whose “prices” appear to be too good to be true, contact our Care Advisors and we will find out.
If you want to take a more active approach yourself, contact in-home care agencies and request to see their disclosure agreement as well as their list of services, practices, and if their employees have received background checks. Get the details. You’re not burdening them, if they’re legitimate, they’ll be happy to know you care about your elder’s living conditions; meanwhile, if they’re not who they pledged to be, then you just saved yourself some heartache.
Remember that Home Health Services are NOT the same as In-Home Care Services despite the similarity in name. Both of these agencies come to your elder’s home, but home health services provide medical care whereas in-home services provide nonmedical care (grooming, bathing, cooking, companionship, etc.). Home health agencies are always licensed (even in Arizona).