sad elderly womanPersonality dynamics, pet peeves, temperament…these are all factors that play into making a good caregiver match along with the skills and competence involved.  A good home health company creates processes and works with a clients and families to help make good caregiver matches on a variety of factors.

For example, at EasyLiving we use a daily routines and life history questionnaire designed to gain better insight in to the client and what they might want out of the caregiver.  We gather information from the family and client that might help us as we try to determine who might be a good match.  However, we will never get it right 100% of the time.

We recently had a case in which the caregiver did not work out for the particular client.  We handled it by reassessing the client’s need, determining what factors may not have been working and sending out a caregiver with a quieter, calmer demeanor.  The previous caregiver was a competent caregiver, who was providing all the right service, but just did not fit with this client in her home environment.  Providing such a personal service, these types of issues will inevitably arise from time to time.

Here are some ideas that might help you as you try to ensure a good match with a home caregiver for your elderly loved one:

  1. Before you begin working with a home health company, ask about their process for matching home caregivers with clients.  Get a feeling for how much they want to know about the client and what personal information they try to ascertain to not only match caregivers, but better prepare the caregivers for the helping the client.
  2. Remember that one of the benefits to working with a home health company versus hiring individual caregivers on your own is the opportunity to get assistance finding a new match and making a switch  if something does not work.  Many times what you think will be a good match does not turn out to be.
  3. Be open minded when it comes to the match, but don’t hesitate to speak up if it is not working.  Often, what your aging parent tells you or what you assume about the type of personality that would work will turn out to be different from what actually works (i.e. you think they’d prefer someone very quiet and the chatty caregiver becomes Mom’s favorite).  However, if someone is not a fit, know that the company will (or should) understand and this will not affect the caregiver’s job or evaluation (as long as he/she was doing the job correctly and it was just a personality mismatch).

Another aspect of this is that clients’ needs change over time which may also create a need to change caregivers.  A client with dementia may need a different personality as the disease progresses or another caregiver may have specialized skills to fit your loved one’s advanced stage conditions.  Often, our clients get along quite well a particular caregiver who provides companionship, errands and minor personal care, but may not be well-suited to their physical needs when heavy lifting and constant assistance is needed.

EasyLiving takes two approaches to help with these types of changing needs.  First, by taking a good history of the client through our daily routines and life history questionnaire we have the information at hand to smoothly switch out caregivers and provide the new caregiver good information to ease the transition.  We also practice a team approach to home health care, which means that most clients are familiar with more than one caregiver (the number depends on the client’s needs/number of work hours).  This allows for more consistency and comfort when, for example, one caregiver becomes ill or otherwise cannot perform the duties anymore.  If you’d like to learn more about our home caregiver services or ask us any questions, we welcome your calls at 727-448-0900 or contact us online for help.

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