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棕榈滩县推进对当地护理人员的新背景调查要求


早在 8 月,南佛罗里达州的报纸《太阳哨兵报》就发表了一篇关于棕榈滩县一项未决计划的故事,该计划要求对当地护理人员进行背景调查。正如报告所述,棕榈滩县将成为佛罗里达州第一个“对家庭护理人员实施更严格规定”的县。拟议的规则将要求该地区的所有家庭护理人员通过棕榈滩县获得许可证。许可过程将包括指纹犯罪背景调查等。

快进到 10 月份,看起来拟议的监管规则正在向前推进。棕榈滩县委员会在 10 月初的会议上审查了该措施,并一致投票支持该规则。该提案将在定于 10 月 20 日举行的公开听证会上进行进一步审查,但届时县委员会有可能最终批准许可和背景调查规则。

拟议法规背后的目标是遏制棕榈滩地区的高级开发。通常情况下,会聘请护理人员来帮助老年人进行因年龄而变得困难的日常活动。这些活动可以包括准备膳食、洗澡、穿衣、剃须,甚至起床。居家护理对老年人有益,因为它可以让他们尽可能长时间地呆在熟悉的环境中。

但不幸的是,家庭护理人员的执照、监管或筛选方式与疗养院的员工不同,也不像在家中从事临终关怀护理的护士那样。棕榈滩县的拟议法规不仅会改变这一事实,而且还会将无照提供家庭护理服务定为二级轻罪。根据太阳哨兵报,该级别的轻罪最高可处以 60 天的监禁和 500 美元的罚款。

居家护理是一项医疗保健服务,就像任何其他医疗保健服务一样,绝对应该受到监管。虽然家庭护理人员不像医生或护士那样进行医疗程序或检查,但他们确实会花大量的时间与易受伤害的成年人进行一对一的交流。此外,许多护理人员帮助患者解决财务问题,从帮助他们支付账单到将支票存入银行。不出所料,一些看护人伪造支票并实施其他欺诈性犯罪。忽视和财产盗窃也并不少见。

许可政策将成为棕榈滩县家庭护理行业的有效守门人。背景调查将有助于标记以前的犯罪行为,例如盗窃、挪用公款、欺诈或伪造、虐待或疏忽,这些可能表明有意利用弱势患者。与此同时,罚款和监禁的前景有望阻止犯罪分子在没有适当许可的情况下尝试担任家庭护理人员。


Back in August, South Florida newspaper The Sun Sentinel published a story about a pending plan in Palm Beach County to require background checks for local caregivers. As the report stated, Palm Beach County would be the first county in Florida "to impose tougher regulations on in-home caregivers." The proposed rules would require all in-home caregivers in the area to obtain licenses through Palm Beach County. The licensing process would include, among other things, a fingerprint criminal background check.

Fast-forward to October and it looks like the proposed regulatory rules are moving forward. The Palm Beach County Commission reviewed the measure during their meeting in early October and voted unanimously to support the rules. The proposal will be reviewed further at a public hearing scheduled for October 20th, but there's a possibility that the County Commission could give final approval to the licensing and background check rules at that time.

The goal behind the proposed regulations is to curb senior exploitation in the Palm Beach area. Normally, caregivers are hired to help older adults with everyday activities that have become difficult due to age. These activities can include meal preparation, bathing, dressing, shaving, or even getting out of bed. In-home care is beneficial to seniors because it allows them to remain in familiar surroundings for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, though, in-home caregivers aren't licensed, regulated, or screened in the same way that employees at a nursing home would be, or as nurses working in-home hospice care would be. The proposed regulations in Palm Beach County would not only change that fact, but would also make it a second-degree misdemeanor to provide in-home care services without a license. Per The Sun Sentinel, a misdemeanor of that level is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

In-home care is a health care service and just like any other health care service, it should absolutely be regulated. While in-home caregivers don't perform the types of medical procedures or check-ups that doctors or nurses do, they do spend a substantial amount of one-on-one time with vulnerable adults. In addition, many caregivers help their patients with their finances, from helping them to pay their bills, to depositing checks at the bank. Unsurprisingly, some caregivers forge checks and commit other fraudulent crimes. Neglect and property theft also aren't uncommon.

A licensing policy would work as an effective sort of gatekeeper for the in-home care industry in Palm Beach County. The background checks would help to flag previous crimes, such as theft, embezzlement, fraud or forgery, abuse, or neglect, that might indicate an intention to take advantage of vulnerable patients. The prospect of a fine and jail time, meanwhile, would hopefully discourage criminals from trying to operate as in-home caregivers without the proper licensing.


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