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Tips on Finding the Right Caregiver

Caregivers, including professional nurses, are the members of the healthcare system that are closest to patients. Needs for caregivers are diverse, you may have recently had a surgical procedure and are recovering at home, have small children who need a babysitter, or you may have to care for an elderly relative.

The described situations have a common feature: you are in need of someone who can help you take care of a loved one, that is to say, you need a caregiver. Below you will find a list of tips on how to find the right caregiver!

  • Identify what activities will be performed by the caregiver

Do you require help to feed, bathe, take to the toilet and attend someone you love? Or, do you need someone who can provide therapy and prescribed medications? Do you need a babysitter or a companion? Do you want somebody to do housecleaning, shopping and/or pay the bills? Try to characterize the different activities required so that the need can be conveyed and communicated much more easily.

  • Describe the kind of help you require

Define the health care education or training you want the caregiver to have. That is to say, they should have instruction as health care assistants, home health care attendants, registered nurses, certified nurses or any other. Also, include any desirable strengths or skills; for instance, patients may require to be lifted from bed or moved to a wheelchair several times a day.

  • Find out what activities are most important for your loved one and assess what the caregiver can and cannot do

Tell the caregiver about all the responsibilities and tasks you will be expecting him/her to perform. Also, find out what activities may have to be refrained from if a given caregiver takes the job. Then, assess the relevance of the activity not to be performed vs. all requirements to decide on the best choice of caregiver.

  • Make sure a job contract is available

A job contract involves a detailed job description, working hours and salary. Explain in details when payments will be made, among other factors. List relevant duties and responsibilities, behavior expected during the caregiver’s shift and dress code on the job premises. You should also address whether smoking or the use of foul language is permitted on the property. Explain the possible reasons for job termination in detail to avoid unfortunate miscommunications.

  • Find your caregiver at a suitable posting pool

Since this a very important job that requires hiring, payment, training and sometimes firing, it may become a problem to engage family members. It is suggested to enhance efforts to hire a caregiver who is extremely professional and loves what they do.

  • Be ready to meet prospective caregivers

It is generally advised to prepare a set of questions to be asked in advance. At the interview, have an associate or a member of the family to join you to have an independent opinion. Watch out for possible compatibility and/or body language between the prospective caregiver and your relative.

  • Verify the prospective caregiver’s references and/or criminal records

It is important to talk to all given references (starting with qualifications) to have a look at the caregivers’ previous jobs and conduct regarding responsibility and reliability. Criminal records should be verified because you can find information about previous incidents, such as drunk driving, child molesting and drug abuse, among others.

  • Look for experience in the required areas

It is advisable to hire a caregiver who has previous experience in the particular health condition affecting your loved one.

  • Once you hire a caregiver, make sure you follow up on his work

It is important to monitor the caregiver’s activities. This can be done by directly talking to the caregiver and your loved one as well.

If the caregiver is not an in-home professional, you can set up a program of visits at the living community the elder resides in. It is also wise to plan ahead in case the caregiver is, eventually or permanently, not able to work.

  • Keep communication open as an important tool

Make sure the caregiver has all the necessary information about your loved one. Information such as prescribed medications, future appointments, things that he/she likes or dislikes are extremely critical in order for the caregiver and your loved to get along. The person you hire should have emergency phone numbers and always encourage them keep open lines of communication with everyone involved.

Make sure you follow these tips and take the best care of your loved one by taking the time to find the right caregiver!

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