If you or someone you know uses or needs home health care, please be very cautious when selecting your home health care provider. While there are some very good and caring people in this industry, there are also a large number of people who will take advantage of the individual in need of care and abuse their position. In earning my L.L.M. in Elder Law, I cannot tell you how many stories of abuse, neglect and theft I have heard. NEVER allow your home health care worker to have access to your check book, debit/credit cards or any other banking information. If you need assistance with paying bills or managing your accounts, there are other alternatives which you or someone you trust should look into and determine which is best for you. Giving access to your home health care worker to any of your banking information, checks, debit/credit cards is simply too risky. There are a voluminous amount of stories where an individual using home health care allowed the worker access to their checkbook to write the check for services rendered and later the individual discovers that a very large sum of money has been taken out. This can be devastating and it is very difficult to retrieve those funds once they are gone.
In addition to guarding access to banking information, please also guard closely your valuables. It is all too easy for expensive pieces of jewelry, art, etc to go missing. If you have a safe, I advise placing anything of value or importance that can be placed into the safe, actually be placed in the safe. Do not give access to the safe to anyone who you are not absolutely sure is trustworthy.
If you have a loved one or friend who is being taken care of by home health care workers, please check in on them from time to time. There have been many cases of physical abuse and neglect that go undetected for extended periods of time because no one is checking in on the individual who was being cared for by the home health care worker. If that individual is unable to access lines of communication without the help of the home health care worker, they have no way of letting anyone know what is going on. Also, many individuals who are being abused are afraid or ashamed to let anyone know what they are experiencing. By checking in at random intervals and keeping in close contact with your friend or loved one, abuse or neglect can often be prevented.
Always make sure that you get a referral from a trusted source. After receiving the referral, do some investigation into the individual who is coming into your home or the home of a loved one or friend. Ask for references of others who have worked with the home health care provider. Check for criminal records. As I stated above, there are some very good, kind and caring individuals in the home health care industry, but it is better to be cautious and prevent abuse, neglect and theft than to have to try to seek remediation.