A recent news story from ‘The Oregonian’ described as “a cautionary tale for baby boomers needing help with their aging parents” shows why background checks are a good idea when hiring caregivers for the elderly. In the story – ‘Oregon couple finds caregiver they hired to take care of elderly mom had criminal record’ – a man suspicious of the woman he hired to care for his 92-year-old mother-in-law visited a County Courthouse and discovered the caregiver had been convicted of criminal mistreatment of an elderly person and had a record of felony theft convictions stretching back to 1976.

The Oregonian reports that the man and his wife hired a caregiver in 2009 to care for the wife’s mother. The caregiver came highly recommended by an old friend so they didn’t check if the woman had a criminal record. After the caregiver said she needed some time to care for a sick sister in San Diego, the couple was shocked to find out that the caregiver was not in San Diego but had spent 90 days in the Washington County jail as a result of a 2010 conviction. Though out on probation, she had been prohibited from working for any elderly or dependent person under a judge’s order.

According to state Department of Human Services, there were 2,350 abuse cases in 2010 involving elderly living at home in Oregon, with the most common form of elder abuse taking the form of vulnerable seniors and their families falling victim to fraud and theft. While state law in Oregon requires that caregivers paid through Medicaid or other public programs to undergo background checks, there are no such background check standards for caregivers working for private-pay clients, such as the woman in the Oregonian story.

The Oregonian reports that Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon has launched a website to help Oregonians connect with vetted and trained caregivers and other services. The Oregon Home Care Commission also offers connection to an online registry of caregivers who have cleared criminal background checks and operates a registry of roughly 17,000 home health care workers who have cleared a criminal background check. For more information, call toll-free: 1-877-867-0077.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a nationwide background check provider accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), offers the ESR Home Health Care Check and will soon launch ScreenedCargegiver.com, a new service specializing in background check services for Home Health workers and In-Home Caregivers to help protect vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with special needs against the hiring of dishonest, unqualified, or dangerous workers. For information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded in 1997 in the San Francisco area with a mission to help employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and provides industry leading technology, legal compliance, service, turnaround, and accuracy. ESR also wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by founder and President Lester Rosen. For more information, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.


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