Finding a Homecare Worker: Dos and Don’ts Checklist
Hiring a homecare worker may be one of the most challenging aspects of the aging process, both for the aging individual and his/her family member. Deciding who to let into your – or a loved one’s –home and life can be a leap of faith!
What You Should Do When Looking for a Home Caregiver
There are several steps that you can take to make this process easier. The dos of the hiring process are outlined below.
#1 Do Hire as Early as Possible
If there’s one thing we recommend, it’s starting the hiring process off as early as possible. Often people wait until it is an emergency to hire somebody or even start reviewing their options. In emergency situations, such as when a loved one is in the hospital preparing for discharge, you don’t want to be scrambling to hire someone.
Navigating the hiring process on short notice will only ratchet up the stress level for everyone involved. It may also mean that highly qualified home healthcare workers are not available. The most qualified people are often in high demand, particularly during the global Covid-19 pandemic.
If you notice that your loved one’s health is declining, or that they need a little more help handling daily tasks, it’s a good time to start researching your options.
#2 Do Seek Help
Family members with aging loved ones often prefer to find caregivers on their own. However, this can be extremely daunting for a variety of reasons.
For example, in some parts of the country, the market for home healthcare workers is exceptionally tight. Another challenge may be if your loved one has extremely special needs that not all home healthcare workers are equipped to deal with.
In these challenging situations, it is usually better to work with a qualified agency or geriatric care manager who can do much of the employee screening and vetting on your behalf. Recognize that this option may be slightly more costly. However, these short-term costs may be well worth long-term peace of mind.
#3 Do Have Some Interview Questions
There are definitely some questions that you should be prepared to ask when interviewing potential home healthcare workers for your loved one.
For example, you will likely want to know how long the person has worked in the home healthcare field, as well as reasons why they work in that area. You may also want to ask about relevant schooling or training that a person has had in home healthcare-related areas.
If you are not working directly with an agency, you will likely want to do an independent criminal background check looking for any flashing red lights. However, in some cases, you just have to put the questions aside and trust your instincts. You may know in your gut that one person is a better fit for your loved one than another.
What You Should NOT Do When Hiring a Healthcare Worker
Just like there are certain dos in the hiring process for trusted home healthcare workers, there are also potential do nots that you have to navigate. Avoiding these don’ts can help you steer clear of some of the most significant home healthcare pitfalls. A few of these don’ts are discussed in more detail below.
#1 Do Not Micromanage the Caregiver
One of the most important don’ts is not to micromanage the caregiver that you have selected for your loved one. It is absolutely okay to give instructions about the tasks that you want them to work on and give feedback on performance. After all, clarity and transparency are essential parts of the client-caregiver relationship.
However, some clients tend to micromanage their selected caregivers because they simply don’t know any better. Unfortunately, this can dramatically increase stress for everyone involved.
If your caregiver becomes stressed, they’ll be much more likely to quit, which isn’t the goal, especially if they’re actually a good fit. Rapid caregiver turnover is something that everyone wants to avoid.
#2 Don’t Just Give a Caregiver Access to Your Money
Many older adults, particularly those who need caregiver support, are vulnerable. This vulnerability takes many different forms. One of the most significant is financial vulnerability. Older adults are more likely to fall prey to telephone and Internet scams, as well as other types of fraud.
Another potential area of financial vulnerability happens if a client or his/her family members provides the caregiver with a credit card and/or banking information. In the wrong hands, this information could be used in countless ways. Even if you trust your caregiver, do not give them this information.
If you need to provide money for expenses, either get a separate credit card with a low limit or provide them with cash for these expenses.
#3 Don’t Hire Based on Cost
Prices for home healthcare workers can vary dramatically, based on a variety of different factors. Many families are cash-strapped, and home healthcare can take a significant chunk out of their monthly budget. Therefore, they are price-conscious.
There is nothing wrong with considering costs. However, and this is a significant caveat, you should never make hiring decisions solely based on cost. Instead, you should always consider a range of different factors.
Bringing It All Together
Hiring a home healthcare worker is a significant step for many families. The process can be logistically challenging, and it is often emotionally fraught. But it does not have to be this way. By incorporating the dos and don’ts mentioned above, people can make a better and more informed choice about the ideal home healthcare worker.