When an agency wants to hire home care aides who will be most successful, what should it look for in its applicants? In-home care providers play a unique role in their clients’ lives. They have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, but don’t typically have a part in health care decisions. The work environment is unusual. Home care aides do not see colleagues every day. They spend most of their time in the client’s home, working with him or her on a one-on-one basis.
What kind of people are best suited for this career? And how can an agency that wants to hire home care aides determine the best candidates? Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the ideal applicant for a home caregiver position.
Hire Home Care Aides Who Aren’t Squeamish
Home care aides are subject to a surprising number of occupational hazards. One study found that almost 10% of clients smoked indoors while the caregiver was present. Another 16.2% of personal care aides reported contact with feces, while 5% came into contact with blood. The vast majority were expected to clean bathrooms and/or kitchens, often with bleach or other strong chemicals.
Home care agencies should make sure that applicants know and understand the job expectations prior to hiring. Setting expectations up front will reduce turnover.
Hire Home Care Aides Who Are Capable
Home care is physically demanding. In the aforementioned study, 11.2% of home care aides reported a work-related injury resulting in medical care or lost work time during the past year. About 34% reported back pain. Home care aides may need to physically move their clients, and should be able to lift at least one hundred pounds.
Prior to hiring a home care aide, home care agencies must ensure that this person is physically capable of meeting the demands of this job.
Hire Home Care Aides Who Are Easygoing
A home caregiver must be vigilant when it comes to a client’s health and safety. But the best home care aide doesn’t take things personally or erupt with anger when a client lashes out. In an occupational hazard study, almost 20% of home care aides were victims of verbal violence in the past year. About 6.6% were on the receiving end of some kind of physical violence, including aggressive physical contact, pinches, scratches, slaps, or punches. Aides report that this type of behavior typically came from patients with dementia.
Agencies need to hire home care aides who understand the illnesses or limitations of their clients. A good home care aide needs to control his or her temper and respond appropriately, even when a client is unreasonable or abusive.
Hire Home Care Aides Who Are Eager to Learn
As the need for in-home caregivers increases, the role these workers play in their clients’ lives will begin to expand. These attendants are perfectly suited to act as positive influences on the elderly population. With the influx of senior citizens, home care aides are expected to take on greater responsibilities such as providing physical activity programs.
Agencies should hire home care aides who wish to improve the care they offer by taking advantage of learning opportunities. In turn, home care agencies should ensure that these opportunities are plentiful for their aides.
Hire Home Care Aides With Varied Interests
Burnout is high for home caregivers. This is a demanding career; it’s not for everyone. A meta-analysis of research on nursing home health care aides found that a rich personal life is the only mitigating factor that significantly alleviates emotional exhaustion.
Home care agencies should discuss a candidate’s other interests, hobbies, and social support structures during the interview or application process. This will give the agency a better sense of a candidate’s susceptibility to burnout.
Hire Home Care Aides With Long-Term Plans
It takes time for a caregiver to establish a relationship with a client. Continuity of care is essential for the health and wellbeing of those seeking to hire home care aides. Studies show that a health care aide needs to work consistently with a client for optimum satisfaction of both client and caregiver. Over time, the aide learns strategies to handle the client, as well as client preferences and medication schedules.
Home care agencies should pass on candidates looking for a short-term, temporary job in favor of those who have chosen this field as a career. This is a difficult job, and it takes dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to learn. An applicant tracking system can help agencies determine which candidates are best suited to their clients’ needs. Home care hiring doesn’t need to be a time-consuming process. With the right tools, home care agencies can find the best care aides quickly and easily.