With the growing epidemic of prescription medication abuse in our country, drug screening has become an essential part of the hiring process for Adult Residential Care Facilities. It is important to make sure that the people who work at these facilities have no history of criminal behavior or current substance abuse problems that can put the residents at risk. Therefore, pre-employment background checks and drug testing of employees are considered best practice. However, many employers stop there.
Personal Care Home employers will benefit from implementing a written substance abuse policy that clearly defines their stance on substance abuse that includes random drug and alcohol testing. Employers will need to make sure that the policy meets state and federal requirements and should consult legal advice before putting the policy in place. However, this workplace policy can really impact the care and safety of your residents.
While an employee may have been able to pass the pre-employment screening, their continued sobriety while working with your residents is crucial. Caregivers with substance abuse concerns may come to work while under the influence. These employees are more prone to make mistakes because they are not thinking clearly. A random drug testing policy discourages employees from coming to work while under the influence of substances as they may be required to submit for screening at any time.
Another issue to consider is that employees with addiction issues with access to controlled substances, may take the pills themselves instead of giving them to the resident that is prescribed the medication. This causes a duel concern since it not only means a caregiver is under the influence but also that a resident is not getting the medication they require. Again, a random drug testing policy is a deterrent to this type of behavior.
Finally, employees with substance abuse issues are more prone to resident abuse or neglect. Drugs or alcohol can affect the caregiver’s memory causing them to miss checking on a resident or giving necessary care. Being under the influence often impacts people’s reasoning and stress management skills, as well. This can cause employees to react irrationally or angrily with residents. This is often how abuse begins. A random drug and alcohol testing policy allows the employer to make sure that those people who are supposed to be caring for the residents are doing so properly.
With a written substance abuse policy in place that includes random drug and alcohol screening, employers can feel confident that they are monitoring those employees in a way that deters them from substance abuse and subsequently makes them better caregivers for their residents.