Health and Safety Questions to Ask Elder Care Providers

Whether Mom’s regular caregiver is temporarily unavailable or Dad lives across the country and needs a full-time care provider, the search and interview process might seem daunting.

How will you find a caregiver you can trust, who will make your loved one’s health and safety a priority? Take a look at these seven questions to ask adult and elder care providers.

Can you authorize a background check and provide references?

A background check is critical — it’s important to find out about any criminal convictions, as well as other charges that might pose a safety risk, such as a DUI or possession of drugs. Talking with previous employers about a provider’s past work experience can help you gauge reliability, trustworthiness, and passion.

Can you provide your own immunization records?

In order to protect your loved one, it’s important to make sure that the care provider has gotten — or would be willing to get — an annual flu shot and other immunizations recommended by the CDC, such as Tdap and shingles.

Are you certified in first aid and CPR?

This is a big one. Make sure the potential provider holds these critical health and safety certifications, and keeps them up to date. You need to know that he or she will be able to act appropriately in an emergency and deliver potentially lifesaving treatment.

Have you ever cared for someone with [certain condition]?

Find a provider who’s familiar with your loved one’s condition or disease (mobility, hearing, or vision impairments, Alzheimer’s, etc.) to ensure the best care…and for your peace of mind.

Are you trained to lift or move someone?

Whether your loved one walks independently, uses a walker or cane, or spends most of the day in a wheelchair, falling will be more likely as he or she gets older. You need to know that the provider will be able to safely move or lift your loved one back to a safe position and location.

How will you deal with dietary restrictions?

If your loved one has a severe food allergy, make sure the provider is comfortable assisting with or administering an EpiPen and is willing to refrain from eating that food while on the job. If duties will include cooking meals, ask if he or she can accommodate a low-sodium, low-sugar, or any other type of diet that your loved one has to follow.

What would you do in case of an emergency? Have you ever been in that type of situation?

Ask about previous experiences and learn what the provider has dealt with in the past — this will help you find out how he or she might act under pressure in an emergency (and potentially life-threatening) situation.

Your loved one’s health and safety should be the care provider’s top priority. When you’re interviewing candidates, be sure to ask a range of questions, with a focus on health and safety, that will help you gauge each caregiver’s experience and find someone who will be a good fit for your loved one’s needs.

Written by: Bright Horizons Education Team

August 1, 2020

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