I want to start by saying I'm writing this not only as an Aging Life Care Professional™, but also as a daughter of someone that has in home care. Once help is needed in the home the situation is usually pretty stressful. Your loved one may be against the thought of "hired help", or even in denial of the fact that they need it. Hiring a caregiver for your loved one can be scary. The questions go on and on: Can you trust them? Do they have enough experience? Should I use a company or hire them privately?
To protect yourself from liability issues, you should always hire a caregiver that is licensed and bonded, and is covered for workman's compensation insurance.
You also have the right to interview the caregiver before you hire them. I didn't know this when I first sought caregiver services for my dad. I just took whoever the scheduler sent me, and a few bad experiences led to my dad never wanting to have help again. When he got to the point where he didn't have a choice, we were blessed with a company that insisted on us meeting the caregiver prior to providing services. It is always a good idea to meet and interview the caregivers prior to hiring them to make sure they are going to be a good fit. Here are some questions to use during caregiver interviews:
- Start by asking them to tell about themselves. This is a great icebreaker and a way to find out about their personality.
- Why did you choose this line of work? There are people that do this job because they want to not because they have to. These are the ones you want! It may not be the first one that walks in the door, but I promise they are out there. Be patient, they will be worth the wait.
- What kind of clients have you worked with in the past? Make sure they have some kind of experience working with the illness/disability/medical diagnosis your loved one has, (Dementia, diabetes, paralysis, parkinsons, etc…)--Ask them to give you specific examples of how they interacted with them client or what kind of special needs they required. Ask them to explain what a day at work was like with this client.
- Make sure that they are comfortable assisting with activities of daily living that involve personal care such as: showering/toileting.
- Do they have a clean driving record, insurance, and reliable transportation?
- Do they like animals? Outdoors? Does smoke bother them? Anything that specifically pertains to them being able to work in your home, this is a good time to get those questions out of the way.
- Come up with a list of expected caregiver duties to present to them. Have them look over it and see if there is anything they wouldn't be able to carry out. It's all about the specific person’s needs.
- Give them examples of scenarios to see how quick/fluently they can come up with solutions. Ask what they would do if your senior fell and hit her head, or if the senior were to wake up cranky and uncooperative tomorrow morning and doesn't want to take a shower, but he has a doctor's appointment to go to.
- Ask them why you should hire them as a caregiver? What sets them apart? How do you think you would get along with my mom/spouse/loved one? Look for people that are compassionate, adaptable, and able to handle stressful situations.
The eldercare world in general can overwheliming, and there are many questions when figuring out an appropriate care plan for your senior. If you need assistance finding appropriate care contact us for a free half hour consultation at 865-978-6168.
By Casey Rausin - RN, CCM, Aging Life Care Professional™