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Why are Background Checks Important for Nursing Home Staff?

Why are Background Checks Important for Nursing Home Staff?

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Nursing homes use background checks to avoid hiring staff members who have histories of crime or abuse. 

Although most nursing homes indicate that they perform background checks as part of their hiring process, studies show that more than 90 percent of homes still have at least one employee who has been convicted of a crime. Though federal and state laws exist, there are many ways to make the background check process more effective in nursing homes. 

Federal and State Laws Surrounding Background Checks 

According to Nursing Home Abuse Guide, federal law states that elder care facilities must not hire people who have committed violence against a patient or been neglectful of a patient for direct access positions. Direct access refers to employees whose jobs involve interacting directly with residents. Although the law prohibits these types of people from being hired, there is no specified type of background check that is required across all states. 

Most states require some sort of background check, but not all of them. Currently, ten states require FBI background checks, 33 states require state background checks, and ten states have no requirement. 

Benefits of Employee Background Checks 

Background checks can be beneficial to nursing home facilities in many ways. For example, screening applicants can eliminate people that may participate in abuse. This could include emotional, financial, or physical abuse. Taking care of elderly individuals involves meeting a certain level of care, so background checks can reveal information about an applicant that could be an alarming red flag. 

Shortcomings of Background Checks 

In many cases of abuse or neglect against elders, the abuser has no history of abuse that would pop up on a background check. Even if there is a history of abuse, background check procedures allow for flaws to potentially occur. Facilities might not want to pay for background checks if they don’t have the amount of time required to properly review the information. 

Aspects of High-Quality Background Checks 

Properly reviewing background checks involves the following: 

  • SSN Validation – Ensure that the applicant is using a valid social security number. 
  • Name and Address Verification – Check the applicant’s name and address against the background report. 
  • Comprehensive Seven Year Criminal Search – This should include sexual offenses, domestic violence, theft, fraud, drugs, conspiracy and weapons, homicide, and assault.
  • Sex Offender Registry – Check the sex offender registry to see if your applicant has a history of felony and misdemeanor convictions of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and/or kidnapping. 
  • Employment Verification – Make sure that the person you hire actually has the job experience they claim on their application. 
  • Education Confirmation – Ensure that the education information listed on the application is correct.

 If Your Loved One Has Suffered Nursing Home Abuse, Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Can Help 

If background checks fail to protect your loved one in their nursing home, Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is here to fight for the care they deserve. We understand how critical it is to hold negligent nursing home staff accountable for any degree of abuse or neglect their staff has inflicted upon their residents. 

Our offices are located in Orem, Provo, Saratoga Springs, and West Jordan, Utah. Schedule your free case evaluation today.