Families that have hired HHAs, and designated representatives who have chosen family caregivers under CDPAP, often tackle the same question: what is the best way to monitor caregiver performance?
Here are some tips to ensure your HHA/caregiver is performing their duties as wells as keeping your loved one safe, comfortable and happy.
1. Start with a detailed list of duties and activities the caregiver is expected to perform. This should include a daily schedule for medications, meals, bathing, and other routine activities. Ask the caregiver to keep a diary and record the times of each activity, as well as any observations, concerns or issues that may arise. Having clear cut goals and expectations will avoid any misunderstandings and support optimum patient-caregiver communications. Details about the patient's reactions (such as loss of appetite) can also alert you to new health issues.
2. Make unannounced visits. If you can't physically make the visit, ask a family friend or neighbor to do it. Not only will it delight your family member/patient, but it shows the caregiver that your family member has a support network that's watching out for them. Unfortunately today 10% of seniors are subjects of elder abuse, so ad hoc visits can prevent such abuse.
3. Ask the caregiver to send a photo of your family member eating, exercising or participating in other activities you deem important. A caregiver who is actively engaged will certainly embrace the opportunity to share minor milestones that contribute to their well-being.
4. Talk to your patient/family member in private, or tell the caregiver you will be speaking with the patient on the phone each day. Call at different times of the day. Often a patient who is unhappy with their caregiver's performance will be reluctant to complain if the caregiver is present. Keep in mind that dementia or cognitive decline may color their perceptions. In some cases, patients may think that if the caregiver leaves, you or another family member will be the replacement.
5. Schedule regular nurse checks for your parents to check for bruises, etc.
6. Install a security camera if you can afford one.
7. Make arrangements with their pharmacy to check on the times that each prescription should be refilled. (Too soon or too late is not good.)
8. Hire a caregiver through a reputable agency and get references, then follow up on them.