How to Search for and Properly Screen for a Caregiver

Updated on February 26, 2021

When searching for a professional to help you care for an older adult, you’re most interested in finding someone who gets on with them. Of course, that’s easier said than done, particularly if this is your first time hiring a caregiver. To make sure everyone is comfortable with the care situation, you should take the time to run a background check on the caregivers you are considering. The care provider will not only be spending a lot of time with the senior in their home but will also be responsible for their daily care and safety. 

The Job Description

Your search obviously starts with the ad, which should describe the job clearly and in detail. This is essential to find someone who can and wants to do whatever it takes to care for your senior well. To write a clear description, consider the senior’s needs carefully, so you can include all the responsibilities you need taken care of. This is hard for some. To make it easier, think about how they spend their day, hour by hour, and go through a week of care this way. 

A specific and clear job description will also help you establish rates, see how much flexibility is required, and find out how many hours of service your older adult will need.

Fair and Flexible Payment Terms

This part applies to those looking to hire a caregiver without a mediator, whose rates are typically non-negotiable. It’s a good idea to stay flexible about payment terms so you have access to a large number of quality applicants. Ideally, your ad should state that payment is flexible based on the care provider’s experience. You’ll get responses from professionals with more experience, which is worth higher remuneration. 

Consider the rate typical of your area as well. To do this, just look at what other people nearby are offering for these services. It’s best to offer a slightly higher than average rate when in doubt. Don’t offer very low rates. You’ll still get candidates, but you’ll get what you paid for and you might become the subject of an ironic Reddit thread to boot. It’s happened to people. 

Schedule Interviews 

Don’t skip the interviews by any means and ask a lot of questions during them. You’re mostly likely to find a compassionate, trustworthy, and responsible person if you take the time to talk to them. Questions to ask include whether they dispose of the transport needed to come on time and how they prefer to receive payment. Give candidates based in the area priority to avoid any potential transport and delay issues. Look for people living far away as a last resort. 

Things to Ask 

Ask your candidates why they left their last job, what their standard rates are, and what they believe their strengths are as caregivers. You’d obviously need to broach the subject of availability and specify the work hours and days. You can also ask them what they like about home care most and what its biggest challenges are. 

Don’t be afraid to ask about problems they had in their work in the past. Maybe they had issues with a former care recipient or client. Talk to them about this to avoid history repeating itself. If your senior has specific problems, share these and ask what they would do to handle them. Such interview questions provide helpful insight into their skills and character. 

Check References 

To learn even more about a caregiver’s character, you could ask for references and contact them. You might get information that’s quite telling of their work ethic. Past experience is easiest to confirm by talking to previous employers. Don’t reject someone over slightly negative feedback; it might stem from personal issues, misunderstandings, or something else that was beyond the candidate’s control. 

If you get similar or the same negative feedback from different sources, don’t ignore it. It will probably affect the caregiver’s performance when hired. 

Screen the Candidate  

Making sure your candidate is trustworthy and responsible is of paramount importance, so screening a potential care provider can be essential. You need their name, address, and phone number and a detailed employment history covering their experience as a care provider. Ask for current documentation on health status, including vaccines and TB shots, coronavirus history, personal insurance documents, and their social security number. 

You need a photo ID and social security to screen them. Finally, you might ask for proof of certification or training if they have the specialized experience, such as caring for dementia patients or being trained in CPR.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.