The Need for Healthcare Worker's Background Checks

The quantity of abuses found in healthcare are legion. It's really kind of nuts when you allow for abuses against the elderly and children, theft, be it stealing for patients or stealing drugs. There is physical abuse and mental abuse. In some cases, patients enter healthcare facilities and emerge perhaps in worst shape than when they first came in.

Mot healthcare workers are conscientious and got into the industry because of their desire to help people. They are patient souls for the most part, because many of them are also subject to abuse from their patients. It's a two way street working here. Patients who are frustrated with the facility, healthcare, or maybe their lives lash out at the staff that is trying to help them. Most healthcare workers, according to recent reports, may not like the abuse but accept it as part of the job. Must be something going to work everyday knowing some frustrated patient will want to take it out on you. As a matter of fact, the Tacoma New Tribune recently reported the most violent job in Washington State isn't a cop or fireman. It is a nurse's aide.

A couple of years ago, Media Watchdog, Pro Publica, and the Los Angeles Times conducted a joint study of abuses in the healthcare industry. The LA Times published a series of reports regarding abuses in the healthcare industry and it and Pro Public were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. One key element they pointed out is that abuse healthcare workers skirt disciplinary action by moving from state to state. Staffing agencies looking for the commission to get their healthcare workers hired, give short shrift to even the most elementary background checks. Many staffing agencies, according to the report, don't bother with healthcare sanctions background checks. Then even the more conscientious staffing agencies may search the employment candidate's current state of residence and not necessarily a more comprehensive national search.

What is interesting to me is that Oregon State, usually a socially conscious state, is not utilizing its all of its financial allocations to vet healthcare workers by conducting background checks. So there is money to run background checks only no one is really doing it. According to an article in the Register-Guard.com, Oregon State mandates background checks for caregivers who are paid through Medicaid or other public programs. These background checks are not required for those healthcare attendants who are paid privately. There are state and local agencies that can provide training and background checks. They will help with caring for aging spouses or relatives. But officials say that most people aren’t aware of those government resources. Instead of seeking these services, when seeking caregivers they refer o online classifieds such as craigslist.com

The article mentioned one person who hired a caregiver for his mother through one of the online services. He later discovered the caregiver was charging off jewelry and whatever on his mother's charge cards.

The fact is most people hire caregivers when they are under stress. It is no fun seeking someone reliable who will take care of your aging and ailing parent, spouse, even a child who needs attention. There are a million things on one's mind. There is the fear of losing a loved one, of affording the care. What will you do? How will you do it? And while most healthcare workers do their best at their job, there are the few who realize the family is under stress and vulnerable in many areas. Faster than it happens in a science fiction movie, that smiling healthcare worker can turn into a miserable parasite.

So do your work upfront. If you are staffing healthcare workers, conduct background checks and other elements of employment screening. If you are family member seeking someone who will look after an ailing relative or spouse, then take advantage of the online training sessions. The few hours you may spend getting educated may save your years of grief.

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