The California Association for Health Services at Home (“CAHSAH”), is a statewide home care association and the primary advocate of home care services for the western United States. Founded in 1966, CAHSAH has a long tradition of service to the home care industry and to the public. CAHSAH’s mission is to promote quality home care services and enhance the overall effectiveness of its members.
Home Care Aide Organizations are companies that provide a variety of supportive services to those in need of assistance either with home management and/or non-medical personal care. Some of the services offered may include homemaking, meal preparation, live-in attendants, supervision and assistance with feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting, respite/companion, childcare or pet care, shopping and escort or transportation services.
Currently the State of California does not provide any type of licensing or regulation over the home care industry. Additionally there are no certification standards that a Home Care Aide must meet in order to work in home care settings. CAHSAH and others have tried to have California adopt lightweight but meaningful licensing laws on several occasions, but surprisingly there is strong political opposition to any such state-mandated protection for home care consumers and workers in California. Oddly enough for such a highly regulated state, you have to have a license to have a car wash, but not a home care company.
CAHSAH has stepped in to fill this void by implementing an industry wide certification program for the benefit of all older adults and their families. All home care organizations are encouraged to participate in this new certification program.
The CAHSAH Home Care Aide Organization Certification Program
The CAHSAH Certification Program is a voluntary program open to all CAHSAH members and non-members alike. Home Care Aide Organizations that wish to apply to become CAHSAH certified must submit proof of that the applicant company does all of the following:
- Have General and Professional Liability Insurance coverage
- Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage
- Have Crime / Employee Dishonesty Bond coverage
- Perform Pre-employment Background Clearance on all Home Care Aides
- Perform Pre-employment Tuberculosis Screening of all Home Care Aides
- Provide signed Service Agreement including a specification of fees before service begins
Once these standards have been met and verified, the CAHSAH Home Care Aide Organization certificate is issued to the applicant company indicating that the company has met CAHSAH’s certification standards. The certification is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
Benefits of the Certification Program
CAHSAH’s certification standards have been established as a means to protect the organizations themselves as well as the older individuals that they serve. The intent of the program is to help standardize the industry as a whole by providing consumer and worker protections for the benefit of all involved.
Whenever anyone is brought into your home, it is important that the individual be thoroughly and properly screened. Unfortunately, these days it is not enough to simply “trust” in the home care aide or manager. A higher standard must be met in order to provide security and peace of mind. That is why it is so important when screening any organizations to make sure that they meet CAHSAH’s certification standards before you entrust them with the care of your loved one.
By implementing and advocating certification, CAHSAH hopes to promote and ensure quality standards, guide ethical conduct and promote best practices for home care providers.
Are Minimum Standards Good Enough When Selecting Home Care Companies?
Those minimum standards are necessary but not sufficient when families are deciding which company to select to provide trustworthy care for their older loved ones living at home, and families should use additional criteria and standards besides those minimum standards when selecting in-home care companies for their parents.
Starting from the list of certified companies allows you to simplify your work because it saves you the time of checking on the concerns that are addressed by the certification criteria, but you should still ask about concerns not addressed by the certification criteria. We have written about this topic and you can read more about it at Are Home Care “Minimum Standards” Good Enough for My Parents?
In addition to meeting CAHSAH’s certification standards, we also have implemented a rigorous caregiver screening and selection process of our own. We require that all our potential caregivers or home care aides complete extensive application, testing and interview processes in our office and we test their knowledge and ability to provide caregiver services. After they are interviewed by at least two members of our field supervision and staffing team, we check all their prior work references as well as conducting thorough background checks and TB tests before employment is offered to the candidates.
Once hired by A Servant’s Heart, our home care aides are provided with continuing education classes to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the latest procedures. We also provide frequent and close supervision (and support!) of our caregivers.
Among The First to Become CAHSAH Certified
A Servant’s Heart Care Solutions was one of the first Home Care Aide Organizations to be certified by CAHSAH and we have continued to maintain our certification through the annual renewal process since then. We participated in the creation of the certification standards themselves and we encourage all providers to meet the certification standards set forth in the CAHSAH certification process in an ongoing effort to support and strengthen the industry as a whole.