Stop Recruiting Criminals and Novices as Caregivers for the Elderly

Target: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Goal: Require job applicant screening to avoid criminality and incompetence in senior care.

Every five seconds, an elderly American is abused. Senior citizens are a highly vulnerable demographic in need of trustworthy care, but few caregiving agencies properly screen their employees. Hiring practices must be federally regulated to ensure quality care for our elderly citizens.

Agencies that provide caregivers for the elderly represent a swiftly growing industry that is largely unregulated. A nationwide study recently revealed that only half of these agencies do criminal background checks on caregivers. Worse still, only one-third of the agencies do drug tests and competency evaluations for new hires. Instead, many agencies rely on self-reporting, and lucrative salaries and easy access to drugs give dishonest applicants reason enough to lie.

In addition to loose hiring protocol, most caregiving agencies don’t properly monitor the activities of employees. Only one-third of these companies routinely visit homes to check on progress. Many simply ask the caregiver how things are going, providing no feedback platform for the elderly patient. As a result, helpless seniors are suffering quietly at the hands of criminals, drug addicts, and unqualified professionals.

Demand that our senior citizens be given proper protection from abuse. By signing the petition below, you can ask U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to establish federal requirements mandating that caregiving agencies perform background checks, drug testing, and competency evaluations for all elderly care workers.


Dear Secretary Sebelius,

Currently, there are no federal regulations that govern hiring practices for caregivers of the elderly. Of the U.S. agencies that hire these caregivers, only half administer criminal background checks, and only one-third give drug and competency tests. As a result, desirable salaries and access to drugs are attracting dishonest individuals into the field of elder care, and our senior citizens are suffering for it.

By requiring the use of appropriate screening techniques, agencies could avoid many poor hiring decisions. One-fourth of all senior abuse cases, for example, involve individuals with a criminal history – a simple background check could have prevented each of these cases. Please protect our senior citizens by federally requiring background checks, drug tests, and competency evaluations for the hire of all elder care workers.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: chilombiano via morgueFile.

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