As the name suggests, a caregiver is simply someone who takes care of someone in their charge. In most cases, they are hired for the purpose of tending to an elderly person, a person with disabilities, or an infant (though in this case, they are often referred to as nannies). A caregiver's job is a full-time one and they actually need to live with the person they are taking care of all the time, in order to take care of them effectively.
The health industry is in dire need of reliable and effective caregivers today, and this is an industry that will never see a dearth of demand. There are always going to be plenty of people around who need someone to take care of them on a full-time basis, and reliable people who have a good background and a pleasing personality will always be at the top of their wish list. Hiring them is not an easy task because you need someone who is patient, healthy, trustworthy, reliable, pleasant and qualified as well. Many people make the mistake of hiring an inappropriate person and this can lead to several mishaps, so it is best to take one's time and pick the best one possible.
Standard Procedure to Hire a Caregiver
The first thing that you need to consider is the exact nature of requirements of the person who is being taken care of. For instance, a two year old baby will have very different needs as compared to a seventy five year old person, even though the nature of their job will be the same. Hence it is very important to find a caregiver whose personality does not clash with the patient, or the infant. The three different kinds of caregivers are certified nursing attendants (who are licensed to use medical equipment and prescribe medications as well), personal care attendants (someone who helps out in daily chores and tasks) and home health aides (who aids the individual in performing basic activities of living like walking, bathing, using the toilet etc.), but in most cases all these three types are simply referred to as caregivers.
You can also make a decision about whether you want to hire an independent one on your own, or go through an agency. If you go through an agency, they will handle various expenses like taxes and insurance, but they will charge you a higher price since they will offer features like medical training and replacement as well. Hiring an independent caregiver through advertisements or referrals will be cheaper, but there could be many unseen expenses that will crop up from time to time. Ultimately, both methods will cost around the same amount so it is all a matter of trust.
People who are keen to avoid such agencies can place an ad in their local newspaper and through other mediums like the Internet as well. Word of mouth is an excellent tool in such matters, and they can find someone through a friend or family member easily. Hiring through a referral is always better because the caregiver turns out to be more reliable. This is far better than hiring a stranger through some advertisement over the Internet. Whatever path you choose, you need to scrutinize them carefully, because after all they will have unabashed access to the home of the person being taken care of.
Tips for Hiring a Caregiver
- Someone going through an agency should check the credentials of the agency. Verify all pertinent details involving the licensing, the payment, the taxes, the insurance and every other matter. Also ask them about their procedure of hiring caregivers and what all qualities they look at. You are perfectly entitled to ask for such information.
- Independent caregivers may come with certain experience and qualifications. Question them incessantly and ask them all sorts of questions. It is absolutely essential to trust them completely, and they need to be completely open for this to happen. If there are any unpleasant incidents that have occurred in their past, ask them to be honest about it and not hide it.
- Consult your attorney or lawyer to find out more about legal obligations and other issues. There are certain tax benefits associated with this process so you should know all the details about this.
- Carefully create a detailed schedule and tell them what all you need exactly. They should not say that they were not aware of the duties expected from them, at a later date.
- Set clear rules for the caregiver. If there are certain things that you do not want them doing in the home, let them know from the very beginning. After all, they are going to be spending a lot of time in the home so you need to grant them certain liberties and some freedom too.
- The amount of money that they need to be paid obviously needs to be negotiated as well. Agency caregivers may be getting salaries from the agencies, so this process will differ from case to case.
- Lastly, introduce them to the person to whom they are going to be tending. Observe how they interact and how the individual reacts. It is very important for both these parties to get along well in order for this relationship to succeed.
The difficult part is actually picking an appropriate caregiver who gets along with the individual and is reliable and trustworthy at the same time. If this can be done successfully, the caregiver and your family can enjoy a fruitful relationship for many years to come.