One the greatest challenges the home care industry as a whole faces happens to be a negative reputation among the general public. Much of these misconceptions that people have about home care aides and even agencies are derived from a few, isolated incidences that have a tendency to gain traction in the media. One such case occurred recently in Connecticut.
In New Windsor, Connecticut, a home health care aide was accused of stealing money from a client for whom she worked. After an interview with a police officer and detective, Brenda G. Doyle admitted to taking the money from her victim. She was arraigned in court and released pending a future court appearance.
As reported in the Record Online blog, Home health care aide accused of stealing $3,900, written by Michael Randall:
“A home health care aide was accused Wednesday of stealing money from a safe in a residence where she worked, town police said.
According to police, the homeowner reported money missing from the safe twice, in May, and again on Saturday. A total of $3900 was reported stolen.
On Wednesday, Officer Jason Ross and Detective Kevin Moore interviewed the suspect, Brenda G. Doyle, 64, of Middletown. Police said Doyle, who cared for a resident in the home, admitted to stealing money from the victim.”
There was no public notice about whether or not Ms. Doyle had been working for her client as an independent caregiver or for an agency. She faces felony charges, but adding to the personal damage and harm she caused her client, she has also played another role in hampering the home care industry in its efforts to build public trust and help elderly men and women and their families recognize the value these services provide.
A growing number of home care agencies across the country are taking active steps to improve the safety and integrity of not only their clients and their client-caregiver relationships, but also their reputation and the reputation of the home care sector as a whole among the general public. They do this often by conducting thorough background screening checks on all prospective caregivers, but if a person does not have a criminal history, it can be nearly impossible to determine whether or not a prospective aide is a risk.
Home care agencies, though they are not and can not be responsible for the reputation of independent caregivers, may need to reach out to their clients, seniors and disabled adults and their families more to help them understand the importance of being diligent in their efforts, hiring through those agencies, protecting personal information, and where they can turn if they have any concerns whatsoever.
Brenda G. Doyle will face her day in court, but the harm she allegedly has caused to her client, client’s family, and hundreds of thousands of home care providers across the country may never be fully realized by her or others.