Home health care - dangers of poor training and minimal oversight

By Josh Silverman on January 08, 2015

"When Home Caregivers Kill the Elderly with Neglect"  is a thought provoking article from The Atlantic.  Few people look forward to being institutionalized in a nursing home so society has been looking for alternatives to help allow the elderly remain in their homes.  If done right it can be a win-win (for everyone outside the nursing home industry) as it can be less expensive, provide more personal care, and be more dignified.  In some states, family members can be paid by the state to care for a loved one.  The danger is that caring for the elderly requires more than TLC.  It requires training, skills, and definitely patience as dementia can lead to combative behavior that an adult child may not have ever seen in a parent.

The article from the Atlantic describes how things can go wrong.  It starts with failing to adequately train caregivers and continues to failing to provide adequate monitoring or other oversight.  The story describes an 85 year old woman who used to love to travel who died of complications from infected bedsores.  Her caregiver was her daughter who was paid $900 month to care for her mother. According to the police "[s]he essentially neglected her to death."

In my opinion these programs are a good idea but they require oversight.  There should be basic training provided to all caregivers and it needs to be specific to the elderly persons needs.  There should also be oversight to ensure that proper care is provided.  In most cases these programs can allow the elderly the autonomy to live in their own homes and to be cared for by a loved one.  

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