Most adults have their first encounter with home care as they are helping their parents (or a parent) in their search for a caregiver. After months or years of balancing their work and children’s activities with taking a parent shopping or to doctors appointments and helping with household chores, many turn to outside help. If you’ve experienced this personally, it might be easier for you to answer the question of whether or not the care your agency provides is the level of care you’d want for your parents. If you’re in the industry, but haven’t had a personal experience with home care before, here are some important caregiver traits to consider as you work to improve the level of care your caregivers provide.
As a caregiver, you’re often coming into a situation where frustration is prevalent. An elderly person facing the reality they cannot perform the same simple tasks they used to might bring agitation and impatience to the surface. Being understanding and striving to continually instill confidence in the client requires a high level of patience.
… the ultimate source of patience. Real compassion for the elderly and other clients being cared for is a strength in caregivers that is difficult to train. When hiring caregivers, this is a trait you should seek out in applicants.
“My good caregiver is a gem in a sea of nincompoops…” – from a real client interview
Are your caregivers able to meet the unique needs of the clients they’ve been assigned to care for? Nothing makes a family or the client more uncomfortable with their caregiver situation than doubting whether or not they are able to actually provide the needed care. Re-assigning caregivers or providing additional training in order to meet these needs can set clients and their families at ease and increase their satisfaction with the care.
“It’s not rocket science to put a pair of pants on a client.” – from a real client interview
It can be frustrating to a client and their family when it seems the caregiver can’t be depended on to complete the simplest of tasks. A client may not need complete care, rather intermittent care for various everyday needs made difficult by health or effects of age. Knowing a caregiver will show up when needed and be diligent in fulfilling the areas of need makes a significant difference in the life of a client.
On a daily or regular basis, caregivers are in the home of someone who starts off as a stranger. They can have access to belongings and sensitive documents in these homes they are entering. It’s beyond crucial for the family and the client to know their caregiver is trustworthy. If you’re not conducting background checks or looking into prior client experiences with caregivers you are considering to hire, you should be.
“My caregiver is fortunate to be an attractive individual.” – from a real client interview
The purpose of a caregiver is to provide a certain level of relief to those clients they are caring for. Being attentive goes beyond just showing up. Recognizing potential needs and concerns of clients and being able to address them is a real added strength.