The National Private Duty Association (NPDA), a non-profit organization comprised of home care agencies, recently announced that it has developed a unique caregiver testing program to measure the knowledge and preparedness of home care workers. The new testing program sets NPDA member agencies apart as the preferred provider of choice for consumers.
Developed by the NPDA’s Standard and Ethics Committee, the testing program will allow the association’s members to evaluate caregivers before they are placed with a client, giving supervisors an opportunity to assess skill level and possible need for additional training.
“We based this program off the Levels of Care guidelines we already have in place,” said Gloria Horton, executive director of Visiting Nurse Plus, Inc., and chairman of the NPDA’s Standards and Ethics Committee. “By administering the testing procedures, NPDA members will be able to determine if their caregivers are ready to be placed with clients.”
Testing is broken down into three areas, based on the three levels of care provided by most NPDA member companies. The Level One test is for homemaker companions, Level Two is for personal care assistants and Level Three is for home health aides. All three tests focus on core areas such as communication, observation, reporting/documentation, behavioral and physical changes, maintenance of the environment and nutrition.
“As the level of care changes, so does the structure of the test questions,” Horton said. “We patterned the tests after what caregivers should know.” For example, the level one test is based on the fact these caregivers will not be providing any hands on care. The level three test, on the other hand, focuses on skills such as reading and recording vital signs, personal care and safe transfer techniques.
“Families making home care choices face very important decisions,” Horton said. “They deserve the peace of mind that their caregivers have been trained and tested.”