“She has full blown HIV? But that is not possible. All her medical results showed her tests were negative before she started working with us”.
“Just 3 months after starting work with us, my nanny had to leave because she was pregnant. Instead she was lying that she was just getting fatter”.
Health and your Nanny
The above are just some of the conversations that people have had about the true health status of their domestic staff. The reality is that If you are going to hire someone to work in your home; Then you owe it to yourself and your family to know their health status.
Knowing their status doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you; but you should know what you are getting into.
Proper Medical Care
Knowing their health status also gives you the ability to get them medical care as required. In addition this might be an opportunity for them to know their health status.
Depending on the role there are different types of health checks required. For example a staff who will be caring for a baby needs a very different type of health checks.
Some of the health checks that domestic staff should be screened for before they are hired include –
- Hepatitis – experts feel that the hepatitis virus can be rather dangerous. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through body fluids like saliva and blood (source: doctor.dtv)
Use of Agencies
There are some agencies that do these tests. They manage the process and send the staff to you with a clean bill of slate. However based on personal experience, I would recommend that you run your own checks. I had one situation where a nanny I hired through an agency showed up with Medical results. The results said negative to all the things you would screen a nanny for. I carried out my own tests a few weeks after she started with me; only to find out that she had full blown HIV.
Once again this is not to discriminate; but this is someone who is taking care of children and who did not know she was HIV positive nor on any drugs.
Ongoing Health Management
It is advisable to carry out basic blood work and health checks at least every six months. Medically it is possible for some coniditions not to show up for a couple of months though the initial test was negative.
Should you carry out any Health checks after they start working with you? Remember that they go off and you are not able to control where they go or what they do. I know there is the real concern of Human Rights and not discriminating. I say nannies are hired to be around your baby or your child, touching and preparing food, giving baths, doing laundry and playing quite closely with your child. You would not willing expose your most prized possession, your child, to known danger.
It is advisable for employers to consider Health Insurance for domestic staff. Many times these are not that expensive when compared with the amount you spend on salaries and upkeep of your domestic staff. The insurance takes care of the costs of health care and as such your staff is more likely to go to a proper hospital or clinic when they are ill.
There are several times examples of a staff who consulted a cheaper quack doctor only to still be treating malaria 2 months from the first symptom.
In general it is a good idea to get your domestic staff screened prior to hiring them and regularly after they start work with you. There are several clinics and centers that carry out Domestic Staff screening and tests.
Some of these centers are for Crestview Radiology which has a Drivers Screening package.
If you can, get a Doctor to carry out a general assessment of your Nanny and other Domestic Staff.
This is based on my personal experience. I once hired a nanny who was actually on Anti-Depressants and we didn’t know. We only found out because she was behaving very strangely; this was when it all came tumbling out.
Following this we had to ask her to leave. This was when the other nanny decide to tell me that she always thought something was weird. She explained that she would just see her standing in one position, holding a knife and staring into space! Scary!
We need to keep praying, be vigilant and trust our instincts as we hire and keep domestic staff in our homes.
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