Sunday, June 16, 2013

A NIGHT TO FORGET

I was given a new caregiver last week.  I also changed my schedule.  I asked that the new caregiver start an hour earlier to make it less stressful for me.  I went over the changes with the office staff and thought everything was fine.

My new caregiver comes from the home of another client.  They leave that client's house at the time they are supposed to be arriving at mine.  The first night .they arrived ten to fifteen minutes late.  That wouldn't have been bad, except for the fact that earlier in the day I called the office to confirm that the new caregiver was coming and was informed that the new caregiver was with another client and would not be coming.  The office told me they didn't have anyone else to send.  When I asked what I should do, the staff member said they didn't know, but I’d better call somebody.  They suggested I call one of my other caregivers. I didn’t think it was my job to find someone.  I was told a little while later that the new caregiver would be coming after all.  The office got the schedule mixed up. When the caregiver was a few minutes late, I was afraid they weren’t coming because of what the staff had told me earlier.

When the new caregiver's shift ended, the next morning, they assured me they would come on time that night.  I didn't think I had anything to worry about.  I was wrong.  They didn't come at the agreed upon time.  I called the office.  The office had not heard from the caregiver, they had no idea where the caregiver was. They were not answering their cell phone.  The office was trying to get someone to come for me, but having no luck.  I  was frantic and so were they.

The caregiver finally arrived two hours late.  Their explanation was that their car battery had died.  Their cell phone was also dead so they were unable to let anyone know what had happened.  Things turned out okay.  It was, however, a night to forget.

There are two things that bother me.  I have been told the new caregiver needs more hours.  Why schedule clients in such a way that their times overlap and as a result, a caregiver can't help but be late to a client's house?  The answer is a sad one.  Money is more important than a client's well being.

Caregivers always manage to keep their cell phones computers and other devices charged when they are working for me.  If a caregiver knows they are going to be traveling on the highway at night, it is their responsibility to make sure that their phone is charged and ready for use in an emergency.

I didn't write this to cause trouble for myself.  I hope I have no repercussions from writing this post.  The incident happened; it was frightening   I think there is too much focus on what is best for the caregiver.  They need more hours, so let's give them as many clients as we can.  While my caregiver is now coming on time, what affect does it have on clients when schedules overlap? Do agencies think about the stress it may cause a client when a caregiver is late and the client has not been notified as to why?

I have been with my current agony for almost six years.  Nothing like this has ever happened before.  I pray it never happens again.  I know home care is a business and businesses need to make money, but let clients know that their concerns and wishes matter.  Don't forget you’re dealing with people’s lives.  People just like you.