Good caregiver introductions arise from strength and depth in the wider care-management processes of a professional homecare services provider.
By Jane Teasdale
Looking after a close family member can be both mentally and physically tiring. This is especially the case for individuals who require more complex care that lies outside the family’s subject-matter expertise. Bringing in experienced professional caregivers can be of immense help to both the family member in need of care and the wider family unit. But bringing in a paid caregiver is not as easy as it sounds. I have often heard the refrain, “My mom/dad doesn’t want anyone helping them.” Understandably, many people are resistant to the changes that come with a greater reliance on others, especially when it comes to accepting strangers into their personal space—and even more so when the change also involves moving out of their community and into a retirement residence or long-term care facility.
Building a relationship
A good homecare company recognizes that the homecare service is first and foremost a relationship through which care, in its many facets, is delivered. A person is asked to open themselves up to a complete stranger, at a very personal level, in a very short space of time. How does the professional homecare service provider bridge this gap? Carefully, with respect for personal space; by laying down markers that show the service’s priority for the person, their needs and their personal preferences; and by a commitment to developing as wide a relationship around the delivery of care as is comfortable for the person at the centre of the relationship.
Types of processes
What types of processes should the family look for when selecting homecare services?
A comprehensive initial assessment of personal supports and medical needs, life and lifestyle, hobbies and preferences, and the history of the individual. This assessment will help drive the level of care provided and caregiver selection.
• The initial assessment helps develop a profile of the individual that the company will build on and use to: a) monitor care and the client relationship over time; and b) inform the initial introduction of a caregiver to the client.
A caregiving relationship that starts off with a personal introduction of the caregiver by an experienced client-service representative. The caregiver should be well informed of the information collected at the initial assessment, and the introduction should be a time for both the client and caregiver to ease into the respective spaces that will define their relationship.
• Caregivers need to be prepared, and this requires the company to be able to provide a detailed plan.
• Relationships matter: Agencies should look to provide the same caregiver for the duration of the care contract and to build up slowly, if need be. For example, the caregiver might start with three hours twice a week, until the individual feels more comfortable.
A care model that incorporates fun activities and a focus on social and lifestyle needs as well as personal care. This should be more than lip service, and should be demonstrated in the caregiver’s daily activities.
Getting more help
While a professional homecare company can do much to alleviate an individual’s concerns and help introduce a new care relationship into their personal space, there will be instances where the guidance offered by more specialized geriatric care managers and social workers is needed to help figure out the best care option for the family and, most importantly, for the individual.
To find a care manager, visit caremanagement.ca/find-a-care-manager. The caregiver introduction, for the individual in need of care, is a very important first step in developing the caregiver relationship. But it is only part of the wider process, and the very important culture and attitude that puts the individual first and foremost in the care relationship itself.
Jane Teasdale is the principal owner and director of business development for Mosaic Home Care Services & Community Resource Centres. mosaichomecare.com