Partnering With Your Loved One's In-Home Caregiver
If you have made the decision to hire an in-home caregiver for your loved one, you may be somewhat confused as to what your role will be and how you will interact and support your home health caregiver. Firstly, decide what care you will be needing. Caregivers may be hired to perform different tasks, depending on the needs of you and your loved one.
The Role of an In-Home Caregiver
You can choose how much or how little help you need. If your loved one is not ambulatory, you may need someone who can move or transport them. If your loved one needs help with grooming, feeding, or bathroom assistance, your home health caregiver is trained to handle these functions as well.
Other roles of home healthcare aides might include:
- Light housekeeping
- Meal prep
In addition to the role of the in-home caregiver, you may require round-the-clock monitoring, or need assistance for a shorter period of time when you are away.
What Is Your Role?
Again, this will differ as to the amount of help you decide you need. If your loved one resides with you, you may only need help for the hours you are away from home. You may only need help with mobility issues or for therapy. In the case where you reside elsewhere, you may want to include laundry or light housekeeping since you may not be able to perform those functions. Be realistic about the time that you or other family members can allot to your loved one's care.
You will want to take an active role in managing doctor appointments, medications, and insurance claims. You will want to assist your loved one in financial decisions and money management. Further, you will need to make sure that the house or apartment is well-maintained and poses no health or safety risks.
You will also want to discuss with other family members the plan that you have outlined, in case they are unaware. If your loved one is capable, let them be part of the decision-making as well.
How to Work Together
Being clear about your expectations is the best place to start when working with a caregiver. Your in-home caregiver cannot comply with your wishes if they don't have a clear understanding of what they are. For example, if you would like him/her to prepare meals, be specific about how many, what time of day, and any nutritional or dietary special needs.
Be open to suggestions, questions, and remarks. This helps your in-home caregiver to speak freely to you about issues or offer suggestions. The caregiver is a professional at what they do so they may be able to streamline a procedure or avert a problem.
Be respectful. Respect the caregiver's knowledge and time and ask if there is anything that they need help with. If you are running late, respect the caregiver's time by giving them a heads-up with a phone call.
Be available. Of course, you are not going to be physically there at all times. Maybe you will not be there at all. But make sure the home health caregiver knows how to reach you, or who to call in case you are unavailable.
Work as a Team With Your In-Home Caregiver
Being clear on your role as well as the role of your home healthcare aide is essential to making this teamwork successful. After all, you both have the same goal in mind: the health, safety, and care of your loved one. Communication is the key to making this a successful partnership.