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By Nina Pineda
Monday, September 01, 2014
NEW YORK (WABC) — 7 On Your Side has 7 tips for picking a home health aide to help you make sure you are getting the very best care for your loved ones. Registered nurse, Melissa Martic works as a home health care provider. Her patient, Sarah has MS and today Melissa’s concerned about her choice of footwear. “I don’t want you falling on me,” Martic told her patient. But not every caregiver is as caring. The home health aide abusing a Queens stroke victim last month is a horrifying example of what can happen to your loved ones.

“You can never be too careful,” said Roz Minicozzi, of Always There Home Care. The owner of Always There Home Care, in business for 27 years, says if you don’t know your caregiver personally, it’s important to #1 Use a Home Healthcare Agency. “Hiring someone that you don’t know or is not known by a family member can be very dangerous,” Minicozzi said. Agencies must meet strict state or federal requirements always check to see #2 if your agency is licensed by the state.

“We put them through a background check or credit check and find they’ve done something wrong we don’t use them,” Minicozzi said. You can check if a license is valid on your state’s Consumer Affairs website and also use the internet to #3 research how an agency is rated by professional organizations, which often surprises offices with unannounced surveys. “It says fully accredited with distinction. When they came in they found everything in perfect order,” Minicozzi said.

Next Minicozzi says if you hire privately, always check the individuals credentials. Any home health aide must be licensed by the Board of Nursing and have that license renewed every two years. “They have to have or present to us a license from the board of nursing if they don’t have that it tells us something, their background hasn’t been checked, they haven’t been fingerprinted,” Minicozzi said.

Before letting anyone into a client’s home, a licensed agency makes sure aides should present doctor signed physicals and vaccination records. #5 Ask to see health certificates to make sure the person caring for your loved one is healthy. “We’re testing them for TB, measles, mumps,” Minicozzi said.

Also ask for proof of liability insurance, employees of agencies, should be covered by worker’s compensation, be wary of uninsured aides. “They could fall in your home or they could injure the patient or themselves,” Minicozzi said.

Tip #7 is to check to see if your aide in under the supervision of a Registered Nurse. If not their license is invalid, and they’re performing medical procedures and making care plans not approved by an RN, which is very dangerous.

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