Types of Private Caregiver Qualifications

When you are finally ready to hire a professional caregiver for an elderly parent, how do you go about finding the right person? Whether you source referrals from friends, go through a caregiving agency, or try to find a private caregiver on your own, the process of making sure that they are qualified to care for your loved one should be the same.  

Receiving care at home is ideal for many people, as 77 percent of people over the age of 50 would prefer to age in place. Inviting someone into your home, or your parent’s home, is a deeply personal thing, however. Not only do you want to make sure that your parent will be receiving the best possible care, you also want to find someone who will respect their home and personal preferences. Being an exceptional private caregiver calls for more than just being good with people, it also requires proper training and experience.  

Types of Care at Home & Caregiver Qualifications 

There are many different types of certifications that caregivers can hold, and some in-home caregivers may not hold certifications at all. Depending on the level of care that your loved one needs, a certification might be one of your top priorities. 

As you begin to interview professional caregivers, consider the following in order to make the right choice for your loved one: 

If You Need Companion Care: 

If your loved one needs help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), such as meal preparation, light housework, social interaction, and bathing or dressing, companion care is an excellent service that a private caregiver can provide.   

  • Companion Caregiver: There are a variety of training programs that provide guidance and hands-on experience for caregivers. Many of them include a CPR course, elder abuse training, and mobility training, among other lessons that are intended to give caregivers practical knowledge and safety training out in the field. Although they may not have an official certification, companion caregivers are well trained and well qualified to provide care for your loved one. 
  • Home Care Aide (HCA): A HCA is trained to help clients in the home with activities of daily living, preparing food, cleaning and running errands. HCA’s can drive their clients to appointments and help manage their care needs. HCA’s receive their certification from the California Department of Social Services and are LiveScan background checked. Home Care Aides receive annual training that covers topics such as infection control and elder abuse. 
  • Certified Home Health Aide (HHA): A Home Health Aide also helps with activities of daily living but has the ability to administer medications, changing bandages and checking vital signs, which requires them to undergo additional training. In California, HHA’s are required to complete 75 hours of training in order to become certified.  

If You Need More Specialized Care: 

When in home care begins to exceed the need for companion care, a professional in-home caregiver with more schooling can better serve your loved one and their healthcare needs. 

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): CNA’s complete 100 hours of supervised clinical training and 50 hours of classroom training. After students successfully complete a state-approved certified Nurse Assistant program, the training program arranges for the state approved exam. Applicants must maintain criminal record clearance in order to be certified. Every two years CNAs have to renew their certification by completing 48 hour of CEU's and work 1 day for pay providing nursing services under the supervision of a licensed medical professional. 
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN): LVN’s are healthcare practitioners who have graduated from an accredited school or vocational program. In order to receive their degree they must have hands-on practice under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or physician. LVN’s can take vital signs, administer medications, and collect samples, in addition to being able to perform all the duties of a CNA. 
  • Registered Nurse (RN): RN’s provide the most in-depth levels of in home care, with the ability to perform diagnostic tests, determine treatment plans, and help patients figure out how to manage their health. The state of California requires RN’s to have completed a professional nursing program in an accredited school. Typically, those who hire an RN to be a professional caregiver need a greater amount of care and attention due to chronic illness or failing health. 

Beyond Certifications: Experience & Referrals 

When you are interviewing caregivers, your initial questions may be focused on their prior experience. For instance, you might feel more comfortable hiring a seasoned certified caregiver when compared to an LPN who recently graduated from school. A professional caregiver with years of experience will have probably been exposed to a wider range of client needs, giving them the ability to think quickly on their feet.  

However, there are also benefits to hiring a private caregiver who recently completed their certification or schooling. They could be more knowledgeable about newer techniques and forms of technology that could be used to help treat their clients.  

A caregiver’s prior experience, which should be able to be backed up by at least three references, can help paint a better picture for you of who the person is and how they think on the job. References especially can fill in any blanks that may be missing from a resume. 

In addition to having the right training and experience, you want to make sure that whoever you hire to provide care at home for your loved one is a good match for them. Personality is a very important aspect of the caregiving experience; you can ask someone to take on additional duties, but you cannot really ask them to change their personality. 

Before making an ultimate hiring decision about your loved one’s in home care, have your loved one meet them for an interview so they can become more acquainted before committing to working together. Think of it almost as being able to test drive a car before buying it. 

Hire A Private Caregiver with Tandem 

At Tandem we go beyond simply matching up caregivers and care seekers. We aim to help your family through every step of the process--from our in-depth matching process to developing your individualized Care Plan. We recruit highly skilled and qualified Home Care Aides and run comprehensive background checks.

Call us at 1-800-370-3377 to learn more about Tandem and how we can help you find the perfect professional caregiver. And then check out our Caregiver Interview Guide to assist you during the interview process. 

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