Hiring a caregiver for your special needs child

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It's officially summer! While the days are longer and the weather is warmer, summertime can present extra challenges for parents of special needs children, teens, and adults. Summer camps, daycare, and other support services may not always be an ideal fit, and for a parent who works year-round, it can be a struggle finding the right level of special needs care. Those who need around-the-clock supervision for their loved one may decide that hiring a caregiver experienced in working with special needs populations is the best solution for their family.

Hiring a caregiver is a task that shouldn't be taken lightly. This process involves screening individuals who are going to be in your home with your loved one each day, and so it's important to do your due diligence before making any hiring decisions. In an effort to help make your life a bit easier, we've put together a list of things to consider when looking for a caregiver.

Check the credentials

When looking for a quality person to care for your child it's important to ensure their credentials are in line with your needs. A resume showing experience working with special needs is important, as is educational background, and any certifications needed to successfully care for your family's needs. Some caregivers may be required to have medical certifications, or experience with administering medications, and various other skills unique to your own individual needs.

Check the personal background

Before you allow a stranger into your home with your family while you're away, it's important to run a background check. A thorough background check includes checking out a candidate's:

  • criminal record

  • credit history

  • work history

  • citizenship

  • Driving record

  • insurance verification (auto, etc.)

You will also want to look into any licenses your caregiver holds. Ensure licenses are up to date, and that all paperwork and credentials are on file. You may also want to check some medical history to ensure your potential caregiver has had all necessary vaccinations, a TB test, and CPR/first aid certifications.

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Ensure competency

You'll want to ensure that you're leaving your loved ones in the best care. In order to ensure this, it's a good idea to check references, and ask any questions needed to determine competency. Your caregiver should be updated on all of the latest news, research, and education surrounding his/her duties, special skills, and field of care. In the event that your chosen caregiver becomes ill or is unable to come to work, it's a good idea to have a list of screened caregivers who can fill in as needed.

Housekeeping tasks

When hiring a caregiver it's important to ensure you're following all of the necessary tax laws. Since you're paying an employee, it's essential to ensure you're withholding taxes, and that all necessary paperwork is filled out and filed. Insurance is another important factor to consider as it pertains to having an employee in the home. On-the-job accidents are common in the home care industry, and so it's important to check your homeowner's policy to ensure you have ample coverage and update it if needed. A professional caregiver should also have his/her own insurance coverage.

You may decide to hire a caregiver yourself, or you may choose to go through an agency. There are a variety of different reputable home care services that may be able to assist you in your area as well. Regardless of the route you choose, a caregiver can help assist with your life in numerous ways. Should you like some added support for the special needs loves in your life, we have a variety of special needs services designed to help form positive behaviors and strengthen family bonds. Feel free to contact us at Big Sky Therapeutic Services for more information or to be placed on our wait list!

Jayna Nickert