Caregivers are a fact of life for me. I couldn't do anything without them. They allow me to live in my own home and lead a productive life. Had it not been for caregivers my mom would not have been able to die at home. For me to say negative things about caregivers and home care agencies would not be productive. I appreciate all my caregivers and what they do for me and Lucie. That being said, I do think there are ways home care could be improved.
There are probably a myriad of reasons why people choose to work in home care. I have been told that the reason people work in home care is because of the flexibility of schedules. If a caregiver needs to take off, it is easy for them to do so. The agency will work around a caregivers schedule. Rarely,when I ask caregivers, do they say it's because they want to help people. It has been my experience, sometimes, that caregivers are more concerned with money than clients. I understand, especially in this economy, that everyone needs money, but as a client, I like to think that my caregivers care about me and I'm more than just a job to them. I know money is important, but so is compassion.
Caregivers should be given detailed background on their client. I cannot begin to count the number of times caregivers have come to work for me stating they have had no experience working with someone who uses a power chair and has Cerebral Palsy.Or they were told I used a wheelchair, but weren't told that I couldn't transfer myself. The more information given, the easier it is for the caregiver to do their job.
It would also be ideal if caregivers and clients could meet before a caregiver begins working for a client so that they could become acquainted with each other. If you have more than one caregiver, as I do, or if it's an emergency situation, that's not possible.
Agencies should allow clients to evaluate caregivers. This would let the agency know how the caregiver is doing and if the caregiver is a good match for the client they are working with. Also, agencies need to monitor a client and caregiver by sending someone out to a client's home from time to time so they can see conditions in a client's home and see if things are running smoothly to avoid any problems. I know this is done sometimes for clients on Medicaid, but to my knowledge, it is not done for private duty clients.
Caregivers are often overworked and underpaid. It's my responsibility as a client to let my caregivers know how much I appreciate what they do for me. It's the caregivers resposibility to help their client as much as they can. There should always be a mutual respect between clients and caregivers. if they have respect for one another, then both the client and caregiver will have a positive experience.