Vkitty60 Asked February 2011

What questions should I ask someone who wants to be my mother's caregiver?

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snuggles Dec 2014
Great information and very helpful . thank you all
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195Austin Sep 2013
If you hire privately and the caregiver gets hurt there could be a problem-I would get the advice of a lawyer before hiring someone who does not come from an agency-you will save money upfront but maybe not in the long run.
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sunflo2 Sep 2013
Lots of good advice here! One other thing to add, is who will provide care if caregiver is sick or has to be out; is there a backup plan or someone else who comes in for relief. Can't stress the importance of drawing up a legal document or contract which outlines all care responsibilities and expectations, vacation, compensation including wages, bonus, overtime, etc.

Also make sure you keep clear and accurate records of payment for services. This could be helpful if there are any disputes. We never dream there will be and then this website is full of nightmares where the person takes over the house, property, whatever as the caregiver.

Check references and a background check.
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As a private geriatric caregiver, there is another side to it. If you hire a private caregiver (plus a respite if needed) you are guaranteed to have the same people in your home all the time (if you all like each other). With the agencies there is usually no such guarantee. Also, the agencies charge more as they take a percentage of what the caregiver earns. From my experience you are more likely to have less turnover if you go private. I do agree with asking for references. I provided them even if I wasn't asked.
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Eyerishlass Sep 2013
As a home healthcare nurse there are professional boundaries and when we work in someone's home with that person one on one it can foster a close relationship with the client and/or the family. It's the nature of the business. But a balance must be struck and it takes at least several visits to strike such a balance (I'd say once the caregiver becomes familiar with and a part of the routine). The way to maintain a professional distance yet still be emotionally available to the patient is autonomy. Don't let the patient pay for anything like lunch. The caregiver should pay for herself. No accepting tips and yes, people do try to tip. Don't accept any gifts from the patient or family. "Thank you so much for thinking of me, I'm very flattered, but I (or the company) have a policy that prohibits me from accepting gifts." If you have to give them your cell phone number, like if you're doing their shopping and they want to call you to tell you to pick up something else, do not keep in touch with them outside of your shift. If they try to contact you, ignore it. You're allowed to have your time off.

As for hiring a caregiver, if she is independent find out who replaces her if she gets sick. Does she work holidays? I agree about hiding valuables but I'd like to add to hide pain medications as well. If your loved one needs to take pain medication put individual pills in a pill box for that day only.

And like everyone said check references and do a background search although I don't know how thorough of a background check you can do on your own.

The first few days your new hire is there I would also stick close to home, get a feel for how she cares for your loved one. Start leaving in small intervals and come back unannounced.

The thing about hiring a private caregiver is that you don't really know who you're going to get. Agencies vigorously screen their applicants and do random drug testing (at least my agency does). The agency is the go-between between you and the employee. The agency is the bad guy if need be. Hiring your own caregiver puts you in the position of employer. If your gal can't come one day it's on you to find someone else. If she has a scheduling conflict or has to leave early one day again, the responsibility is on you to find someone. And if something gets broken or there's a problem it's up to you to fix it.

Good luck!
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195Austin Sep 2013
I agree be friendly but do not become friends at least at the beginning -they are there to do a job-I made a big mistake by being overly friendly and making sure they were comfortable and it blew up in my face.
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I was a self-employed geriatric caregiver for 26 years. I insisted that all duties be put in writing and I also insisted that I be paid by cheque or money order as I had one client who's daughter was the one who paid me say that she left me cash when she in fact left me nothing, but there was no way to prove it and seeing as I don't work for free.. I quit. There is a difference between being friendly and being friends, I would suggest that you be friendly if you want your caregiver to continue working for you. There has to be respect both ways. Good Luck!
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LME Feb 2011
In addition, try to get references for the person.
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LME Feb 2011
If you are hiring yourself, do a background check on the person. An agency or nursing home does this. Ask how they want to be paid. If they want to be paid in cash or want paid in advance, do not hire them. Also, you should be paying taxes for the person and Worker's Compensation. If you go thru an agency, they will do this. If the prospective caregiver/caregiver is making demands on you that you do not feel comfortable with, but are afraid to lose that person for fear of not finding someone else, that is not the right person.
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ladee1 Feb 2011
In defense of paid caregivers, I would like to say that sometimes, at least in my case, I have maintained my professionalism, and it is the family who has done the "taking advantage", and I know more about this family than is relevant to my job. This job is hard enough without having to constantly reaffirm what my job description is, and turning a deaf ear to family matters. I could care less what Ruth's finances are, what the family does or does not do. Just wanted to put this out there and yes there are some caregivers who will take advantage. It hurts my head and heart to think what some of you must go thru to get someone you trust, who will follow directions, mind their own business, and just do what you expect and what needs to be done to insure quality care for a loved one. It is a sad situation for families having to go thru the worry of making the right choice for a caregiver. So Vkitty60, follow your gut, if it doesn't feel right, then chances are this is not the right person.
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