A person hired to help care for an elderly family member at home can be a blessing or a curse says Boca nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne.
Most older Floridians would prefer to stay at home rather than live in a nursing home. If family members can’t care for a loved one often caregivers are hired through home care agencies. Given the increasing demand for these workers and the low wages they earn agencies can’t find enough people to fill openings so their standards may be too low warns Boca nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne.
There were 35 million Americans 65 and older in 2000. It’s been estimated that population will more than double, to 80 million, by 2030. With the increased number of elderly the need for caregivers will bloom, reports Boca Raton nursing home neglect lawyer Osborne. There has been massive growth in caregiver placement agencies and home care aide positions are among the fasting growing jobs in America. In 2000 there were 13 caregiver placement franchises and that number is up to 55 today, according to Jefferson Public Radio reports Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Osborne.
A study of 180 for profit in home care agencies in the seven states with the most older adults (including Florida) by researchers from Northwestern University found that:
- 45% did not do any kind of criminal background check for new hires.
- 32% performed drug testing before hiring caregivers.
- No agency screened workers on their health knowledge, even if duties included accompanying elderly patients to doctors’ appointments and administering medication.
- No agency checked to see if employees had a criminal background in another state.
The children of 79 year old Joe Guarino of Massachusetts hired a home health aide to help care for him when they couldn’t be there. They later found plumbing supplies, money, jewelry and military medals missing, which they assumed was due to his forgetfulness but that changed.
One day his daughter-in-law, a registered nurse, dropped by his house unexpectedly and noticed Guarino’s eyes looked glassy. She described his pupils as pinpoints and it appeared he was seeing right through her. The family believes the home health aide gave Guarino extra pain medication, including morphine, so he would be too medicated to notice the thefts going on.
The family also believes the aide ran personal errands with Joe in the car, left him alone for hours and sometimes didn’t show up for work, though the franchise billed the Guarinos for her hours. The family was paying about $3000 a month for her services.
The family reported the aide to her agency. They learned she later had plead guilty to stealing and pawning more than $30,000 in silver and other valuables over a three month period from an elderly couple. Her agency didn’t fire her after their complaints, it just sent her to help care for another family.
If you believe a family member has suffered neglect or abuse by a home health aide in the South Florida area, contact Boca nursing home abuse attorney Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.