Can anyone share their experiences with Private Duty Nurses?

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I am thinking of having a private duty nurse come to my home to help my Mom out (who lives with me) during the day. Currently I have to drive home from work at lunch time to get my Mom her lunch and help her in the bathroom. It's beginning to take its toll on me. There is a non-profit organization that provides Private Duty Nurses for $18.75 an hour. I am nervous about having a stranger in the home. Mom can afford the care -- I was planning on having them come for 4 hours in the afternoon a couple days a week. What sort of things should I be thinking about having a stranger in the home? Someone is coming to do an assessment and meet with me this week. What kinds of questions should I make sure I ask? Thanks in advance for any help!

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Since you are working with an agency, I'd check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints. Ask if they've done background checks (they should have), plus ask for some references. Ask about backup care in case the person assigned can't make it one day because of illness or some other factor.
There are many good CNAs and nurses working for agencies, and even working privately. You just need to do everything you can to make sure the person is a good match. A good caregiver isn't always the right personality, either, so you may want to ask if there are choices in case one caregiver doesn't "click" with your mom.
Keep checking here as you'll likely get more tips from readers.
Best,
Carol
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I think it is amazing that you found a private duty nurse for 18.75/hr! Our regular caregivers ask that much here.
Carol had some wonderful suggestions. I would add to that to remove all "temptations" from around your house and secure them in locked cabinets. (ie: important papers that have personal information on them, jewelry, valuables, collectibles, etc. Basically, anything that you would not want to lose.) Or put locks on door to bedrooms, etc. This recommendation came from the gentleman who was a director of an agency we used.
I have to say that everyone we have hired has been wonderful with my Mom. In addition to the normal screenings, insist that you meet the person before they are hired. You can tell a lot about a person during a conversation. I also have a list of duties that may come up during the course of caring for Mom. I ask if there is anything on the list that is either something the do not like to do or are not trained to do. That way, everyone is clear on expectations. A lot of these things will come up during the "assessment."
If you find that the "chemistry" is not there, ask for another nurse to be sent out. And, as Carol mentioned, ask about "back up" people and how quickly they can be sent out. When I hire caregivers, I usually hire two people who alternate (for one to two hours, twice a week), just in case one cannot make it.
If it would set your mind at ease you can also install a "granny cam" - a camera in your home that sends video to your work computer.
It is good to have someone else with whom your Mom can interact and it will give you a break too.
good luck.....Lilli
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IRWIN:

Unless you want to turn the new nurse off, refrain from bringing up past experiences with other caregivers. Clarifying expectations from the get go, therefore, is crucial. It's no use expecting that things will turn out for the best without having discussed what that would look like in practice. If someone has really annoying habits that they can't or won't moderate, it's good to find out beforehand.

To me, nurses are angels in disguise. So I'm usually more generous than I have to be. One Researcher suggested that the best way to live with a partner is to always be more generous than you have to be. If both parties do this, the way is paved for an open and respectful relationship devoid of resentment and pettiness. Just imagine she's family, not some interloper looking to profit from someone else's misery.

Everything we say can and will be used against us caregivers when we least expect it. Eventually it all comes out in the wash, the rinse, or the lint. Nurses Associations are very small ghettoes where they also share their personal experiences, so be careful not alienate them or burn any bridges. This new nurse might be getting paid to help with your Mom ... but she's also there to help you heal. Good luck my friend, and keep us posted.

-- ED
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IRWIN:

Sorry for writing "One Researcher suggested that the best way to live with a partner is to always be more generous than you have to be." I had just finished counseling a couple when I came across your post. Anyway, one way to look at it is that the new nurse is also a partner in caring for your mom. After all, we're talking about a labor of love here.

Cheerio.

-- ED
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