Finding the right caregiver for your loved one is a daunting, but crucial life decision. Here are some considerations to help you find the best possible.
At some point in life, especially during old age, you may find yourself in a situation that necessitates additional assistance or long-term care — and hopefully, you’re loved one(s) will be well-equipped to find you the support and environment you need. But that’s no simple feat.
Entrusting loved ones to a caregiver is a monumental decision and finding the right person to do the job can be a daunting, if essential task. While there is no way to assure proper (and prevent inappropriate) conduct by caregivers, it becomes even more difficult because some patients have conditions related to mental disorders that make them unable to be cognizant of their surroundings.
Due to the nature of the work, most caregivers are often undervalued while the demands of their job can be overwhelming.
Ideally, you will find someone to care for your loved one who projects and demonstrates both professionalism and compassion.
Here are 6 tips to avoid caregiver pitfalls:
1. Understand the client’s need
It is always important to understand the patient’s need before you start to look for an appropriate candidate for caregiving roles. Caregivers are specialized in different areas. Be sure to target someone trained in your area of need. “Some better understand how to work with the elderly while some are more knowledgeable in handling patients with a terminal disease such as cancer, diabetes or paralysis,” notes Amanda Simpson, Health and Human Services Content Writer at ConfidentWriters. Start with referrals from friends, close relatives, or a doctor. You can also explore online resources to obtain information about similar services.
2. Learn the cost and array of services the agency provides
When finding an agency caregiver, find out what specific services the agency provides and the relevant costs. You should be able to know how the care will be coordinated and those involved in the caregiving team. Ask for insurance and state compliance licenses, as well as what kind of training the staff is given or whether the agency is certified to receive Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.
3. Conduct a background check
Once the candidates have been identified, background checks should be conducted to reveal more information about the caregivers. This includes listings of prior workplaces, home address, social security number, driver’s license, and relevant certificates. Checking the authenticity of the records can help determine whether the candidate is truly specialized in caregiving. Untrained or inexperienced personnel might mishandle the patients.
4. Interview process
Shortlisted candidates should be interviewed by asking critical and revealing questions. For example, you may want to ask, “How would you deal with my loved one being combative?” You can also ask them if they are willing to undertake the list of duties outlined, and how they would go about doing so. Personality and disposition go a long way, but experience and professionalism come first.
5. Role Assignment
Once the right candidate has been recognized, proceed with role assignment. To ensure that the care goes according to the plan, constant supervision of the team needs to be overseen. The patient and the caregiver should be introduced so that they become familiar with one another. Always let the patient know that they are loved and that the caregiving program is in the best interest for both of you. In the words of Mother Teresa, “It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.”
A spirit of gratitude is essential — both for the caregiver and the care recipient.
Not only will the caregivers feel motivated and appreciated, but the patient will benefit immensely from the high-quality services provided by the home care team. Acknowledging the efforts of others is essential, especially in such demanding tasks. It also creates a dialogue for valuing and respecting each other as human beings. According to Nancy L. Kriseman, the author of the book titled Mindful Caregiver, “One goal of the mindful caregiver is to find ways to not feel ‘dis-eased’ in the caregiving process.”
6. Be mindful about selecting the right agency for the job
Caregiving is an intimate and difficult task. And not all agencies or facilities are created equal — in fact, far from it. Therefore, be mindful about selecting the right agency for the job. Do the research, study the reviews, conduct interviews — understand the specific needs of the patient and the skills of the caregiver and organization. With the proper skills and experience for your specific case, caregivers are better positioned to handle their patients professionally and successfully. Notwithstanding, they require the support of the patient’s family to ensure the needs of their loved ones are met.
- Family Caregiver Alliance website provides practical skills training for family caregivers and an overview of day-to-day, hands-on strategies and skills.
- Check out Association of Retired Persons (AARP) blog for guides and videos on how to work with health care professionals to give the best care for your patients.
- American Psychological Association (APA) also provides caregiving resources for best practices.
You may also enjoy reading End Game: How To Do It Your Way (Yes, Even Dying) by Susan Mercer