When PWP, and sufferers of other dibilitating conditions get to a point where family or friends can not handle their needs, but they plan to stay at home, it may be necessary to hire people to help. When you need to do that, our family learned some lessons that may benefit others. The most important factor, is communication with the helper. No matter how good they may be at what they do, you need to have an understanding of their duties and capabilities. I suggest a trial period of a few days, before making a long term commitment to employ them.
Try to find someone who lives as near as possible, and who has a working telephone, a reliable vehicle, and at least one other way to contact them, if they do not show up on time. Make sure they are willing and to be prompt, and if they are habitually early, that is even better. Make sure they can DO the job, If lifting the patient is needed, do a dry run. We have had helpers who were built small, but were strong and able to lift Dad whenever needed, and others who looked like they could pick up a car, but had "a bad back" or some other condition..that won't work!
Make a written agreement as far as wages, per hour, or per week, and whether it will be cash, or check, and who pays the taxes, or benefits. If you don't have liability insurance on your home, check it out. You don't need to be sued to pay medical bills if they slip or trip in your home while working. Make sure they can handle all aspects such as special treatments. You may need a profesional nurse for certain procedures. Agree ahead of time about other work to be done, if the patient is sleeping or needs no care for extended periods. If the shower needs to be cleaned, will the helper do it, or just sit and watch TV while the family does it? It is best to discuss this ahead of time. If the helper is needed for a short time, will you have to pay a minimum amount? Why pay for two hours, if they will be there for 30 minutes and leave? This happened many times, then my mother had to take over, if something happened after the helper was gone. It took a lot out of her! Make the helpers understand what they can take for granted, for example, if they can take any food they want, or if they can make long distance calls, while you are away. My mother got stuck for many calls that the helper did not realize was costing long distance rates. The best advice I can give, is discuss every item BEFORE it occurs, and you have a chance of getting what you need at a fair price. The last item is how much to pay. Try to find out comparable pay in your area, and don't expect much if you plan to pay less, you get what you pay for! I hope this is helpful.
Sorry to sound so negative. We eventually found three wonderful women who rotated the "duty" but when I say we kissed a lot of frogs first I mean it was a long rocky road for a while. I'm only writing this so you can protect yourselves from this kind of thing. After all, we did eventually find three women who were "gold."
One woman from an agency (the agencies claim they are all bonded, insured, background-checked etc. DON'T BELIEVE IT) would climb out of the bedroom window at night to see her boyfriend and would climb back in in the morning. She also drank gin but you couldn't smell it on her breath.
Return to Index
Return to Alphabetical Contents
Return to CareGiver Issues