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    FAQ: How to care for the elderly in India
    Everyone is very concerned about their loved ones specially elderly care. So can you give us a checklist of how to choose best nurses for one's elderly relatives?
When you hire a nurse for your family members, you must go through an authorized bureau, which is registered with the India Nursing Council. You cannot go hiring a nurse from anywhere or everywhere. She may be very competent but may not be a safe person to hire. You should go usually through the treating doctor or the treating physician who can interview the nurse for that competency skill before further communication. You need specialised skills required to take care of those family members, if they have a particular illness. The nurse should have had a basic training i.e. a Diploma in Nursing which is of 3 years. Further, a continuous experience in a multi specialty hospital atleast for a minimum 2 years, is also required.

Thus 'authorised' is the name of the game. That is how you could check the credentials of a nurse practicing in India, Which will reassure a lot of people.

Are there nurses in India who are trained to international standards? Is there any college or association from where one can hire nurses trained specially in geriatric care?
Nurses are trained in India. There are a lot of colleges and schools who train nurses. There is no specialized geriatric nursing in India. But nurses during their training and curriculum do study geriatric nursing, as a part of the course.

How does a person based in New York whether a bureau in India is authorised to international standards?
Like a trained nursing association in New York, we have a trained Nursing association in India which is based in Delhi. The trained nursing association actually has a huge database of nurses practising in hospitals, nursing homes or practicing in the bureaus. So one could probably contact the Nursing Association of India.

I am presently in India to fix up an assisted care situation for my diabetic father. I am looking for nursing care around the clock. I want to know whether nursing attendants work in shifts and how their services are charged?
Shift duties are available for home care. The usual shifts are 12 hours in the day in the night.I would not advise an attendance service for a patient who is a diabetic. The attendants have a two year training which is not adequate to take care of a specialized disease like diabetes which needs a lot of blood sugar monitoring, diet plinths and diet execution that an attendant would not understand. It has to be a registered nurse who has had a minimum training of 3 years and I would prefer if she has had a counseling from the dietician for the diet plan, the menu plan and the feeding of the patient and also to recognize the problems associated where inadequate feeding or over feeding. The nurse should also understand doses of the diabetic drug like insulin injections or the oral drugs.

I want to know what kinds of background checks are conducted by bureaus who send nurses to patients' homes i.e assisted care situations. How can one be assured that this person is confirmed to have had a background check?
There are two aspects to it. First, she has to be a registered nurse with the India Nursing Council. When a nurse passes here basic training, she has to apply for a registration with the council. She has to have that registration number. Only if she is registered, she is picked up by an authorized bureau and also the bureau has to be registered with India Nursing Council.

The council gets the permission to practice nursing. It checks the credentials of the nurse in terms of her competency, skills and nursing. Once that has been checked, when hiring a nurse, one should also check minimum two references with the previous patients whom they have been looking after. So they could interact with those families, with those patients and get an idea of the competency level, dedication, commitment and discipline aspects of the nurses while they have been working with those patients.

The bureaus are legally responsible for anything going wrong with the nurse. However, When employing a nurse for a long duration, maybe the local police station is to be kept informed for the verification of the nurse.

How much would it cost to get one of these full time, highly qualified, trained to international standards nurses?
The basic nurses who are having a generalized experience actually come as much as Rs 400 to Rs 500 per shift. That is for every 12 hours. They will cost about Rs 500. But if you are looking for specialized skills in any field you may have to pay slightly higher coming to about Rs 600 to Rs 750 for every 12 hours.