Senior home agency provides good helpers, but administrative staff is horrible to deal with. Managing them is driving me crazy!

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About a year ago I was having problems with the home senior care service I was using for my mom, age 89. Not communicating changes, sending a supervisor out without letting me know, things like that. Overall, the helpers are great, but the constant management issues have me wondering if I should switch services. Or maybe I am just expecting too much. The latest happened today when I found out through the daytime caregiver that a supervisor had been out to reevaluate my mom's mobility because the overnight caregivers - one in particular I think - had been saying that she is up more at night. If the caregiver hadn't told me, I wouldn't have known anything. I immediately called my contact person who said, yes, she knew the supervisor was going out to reassess my mom, but didn't realize she had to let me know every time she visited - or apparently that there was a concern about her status! So...I am left in the dark that there is a concern with a change in mobility and that a supervisor has gone out to evaluate. After grilling my contact I found out that the supervisor found everything status quo. Bottom line: no one tells me. I have tried every way I can to emphasize communication, and I put up with a lot for the sake of my mom, who reasonably likes her caregivers. Do I continue to just suck it up, no matter what, or do I consider that there may be an agency out there that is more responsive? On paper, the current agency continues to look the best and I really don't relish the prospect of interviewing and bringing in a whole nother agency. I am just tired of apologies and excuses - almost passive aggressive - from the current one. What do I do?


For me, great care that my mother liked would be the number one priority. I think I'd put up with a lot of annoyances to keep that. Not that I believe it should be either/or. You should expect great care and few annoyances, but that may not be so easy to find.

Your Mom is 89 and your profile says she suffers depression. Does she have other impairments? Does she come across as a pretty competent adult? Would the agency consider her their client and communicate directly with her?

I really can't understand why they would be leaving you out of the loop, especially if you have made it clear that communication is important to you. Of course, if it was a year ago the last time you went through discussions about communication there could be turnover in staff and/or short memories.

Do you have regular quarterly meetings to discuss the care plan, as you would in a care center?

The fact that you want to be informed and they don't inform you is concerning. But as a practical matter, what is the consequence? If they had called and said "Supervisor will be out Wednesday or Thursday for a routine evaluation of your Mom's mobility status" what would you have done differently? Said no, don't come? Stayed home from work so you could be there? Worried a little until you heard the results?

My mom is in a nursing home. I'm their chief contact. I'm sure they do periodic evaluations and examinations that I don't hear about at all, unless they find something reportable. I've been called and told, "I don't know if you've noticed your mother's dark fingernails lately, but when the doctor made rounds today we had her examine them. We are now doing a daily soaking routine and using a prescription cream on them." So I find out and tell my sisters when something changes, but I'll bet there are a lot of things that are checked that we never hear about because there is no change to the care plan. I'm not sure how that compares to in-home care, but maybe it is something to think about.
Hi, Jeanne.Thanks for the detailed response. I am in touch with my contact routinely two or three times a week regarding a schedule change, as well - lately - with the client services coordinator. They are well aware that I am hands on - without being a total control freak - and that I am well aware of any changes in my mom's physical, mental, or emotional state. My main concern is that I need to know who is in my mom's house - it is her home, not a residential care facility. Also, if my mom says someone else was there, and I don't know about it, how likely am I to think she just hallucinated the whole visit? Lastly, if there is a potential change in her condition, yes, I would like to know about it. If I hadn't called, I wouldn't have known anything about the visit or assessment! The caregivers are grateful for the support/info I pass on as they seem to get little info and support from the office. I have no issues with any assessments, reports, etc. that they need to do - I get it. What I don't get is that we seem to cover the same ground/issues with resolution for a little while, then back to the old routine. It is a dysfunctional pattern that I do not like being part of, but have for the sake of my mom and her best interests. I see my mom at a minimum 2.5 hours every day, so I am well aware of what goes on with her and what the caregivers deal with. Maybe I am just looking for people to say the agencies are all the same, so just accept it and move on.
tornadojan, same issue with the Agency I am using for my Dad. The caregivers all have been super, but there are drops in communications with the Agency.

Like one day one caregiver went to my Dad's apartment at the senior living and my Dad wasn't there, the caregiver was in tears thinking something had happened to him..... and here I had left word with the Agency to tell the two main caregivers that Dad was in the hospital with a UTI..... [sigh]. So now I made sure I have the caregivers cellphone number so I can call her directly if there is a change in my Dad's location.

I just think the schedulers at the Agency are so overwhelmed with client changes and caregivers calling out sick and trying to find fill ins, future clients in a panic needing help like right now, etc. I know I wouldn't want to do that job.
Thanks freqflyer. It helps to hear that. I do have some caregivers' numbers, but I know it is against the rules to have that kind of contact, so I try not to put them in an awkward position. I totally understand they are overwhelmed, which is why I try to serve as a bridge. The QA could have possibly avoided having to make a visit altogether if she had just called me. Unfortunately, it seems like every time I try and be sympathetic and back off, the service slips, and I have to go into my b**ch mode again.

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