Hiring a caregiver to care for a loved one can be one of the most difficult tasks you’ll face. Its hard knowing who to put your trust in; finding someone you can count on even in the most difficult of situations.
Caregivers come with all kinds of skill sets, many different personalities. What works well for one person may be a wrong choice for another. There are many factors to keep in mind as you move through the process.
Its important to keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to keep your loved one safe and secure. Different caregiving companies have different ways of choosing their caregivers, and have different monitoring methods. A big company isn’t necessarily better than a small company. In many cases it depends on your needs and desires.
When you find yourself in need of an extra set of hands, don’t rely on the biggest simply because they’re the biggest, or on a quick search through a guide book. Instead, spend the time evaluating your needs, and finding the right person that can come on and help your situation in the best way possible. Don’t rely on marketing materials and a canned presentation; dive in with your questions as well, and listen to make sure the answers meet your needs. Here are 5 top questions that should be on your list.
What is the hiring process for your caregivers?
Start with this question and dive deep to figure out where the company you are considering doing business with finds and hires caregivers from. How much work do they put into the process? How do they evaluate the caregivers? What type of background checks do they perform? Are they insured and bonded? You can quickly tell a company that cares about both their caregivers and their clients by the way they spend their time looking for the right people. If you have further questions, ask. A good company will be happy to provide you with the answers you need to move forward. This isn’t a quick hire; this is someone that may be a part of your life for a long time in the future.
What is the training process for all caregivers?
Some companies provide training not only when a caregiver comes on board, but also as long as they are associated with the company. Find out what type of training a caregiver receives, and how they stay current on changing health care needs. If you need someone with specific training, ask. A caregiver with expertise in Alzheimer’s for instance, may have a deep understanding of the problems you are facing, and be able to offer a greater depth to their services when matched to your loved one.
How is contact made between the company and the caregiver, the caregiver and the client, and the client and the company?
Will you have a caseworker handling your case? Can you reach someone at the company 24 hours of the day? What is the communication process between the different relationships? While a caregivers job is to take away stress, nothing can be more stressful when a caregiver doesn’t show up and you can’t reach the company for an explanation. Don’t just find out what happens in the best of times; talk about the worst of times as well. What if a caregiver is sick? How easy is it to reach the company at midnight? The more you learn up front, the less surprises you’ll face down the road.
What happens if the relationship doesn’t work?
Even with the best intentions, things can go wrong. What seemed like a great match on paper may turn out to bet anything but once the two are brought together. While everything can be done to try and eliminate the stress between caregiver and patient, sometimes it doesn’t work. Once this occurs, what is the process for finding a new one? While you hope to find a great caregiver the first time around, its also good to know the process in case it doesn’t.
What is the long term process for evaluation?
In some cases caregivers work with a patient years. Its easy to think of them as family as opposed to an employee. In this situation, its easy to develop patterns and fall into old routines. While the patient’s comfort and safety is of the utmost concern, its also important to have someone that can remain neutral and provide support as needed, giving guidance to the family along the way. What does a company do to maintain a strong and balanced relationship between the caregiver and the family? What reports or systems are in place to maintain a comfortable working relationship? How often does evaluation occur?
The key to finding a great caregiver is to spend the time getting to know the company first. When you’re comfortable with the answers, when you’re comfortable with the process, the rest will come easier. And give you the peace of mind you deserve.