What makes a caregiver great?
New prospective clients often ask me and my team “how do you know the caregiver you send us is qualified?” This is the most fundamental and most important quality measure of a good home care agency. Qualification criteria such as verification of home health aide (HHA), certified nursing assistant (CNA) or RN’s licenses are relatively easy to verify, as are required health checkups and periodic certification renewals. Law enforcement background checks and reference checks are required, and those checks yield information about a person’s past, work experience and character, but those checks still don’t guarantee the caregiver will be the best fit for you or your loved one.
I think about the many clients we has served over these past 3 decades and review case files to continue learning from our experiences. Of course, the happiest clients are the ones who had “great” caregivers. We have received many letters and calls of thanks and commendation from clients, and the following are some of the most cited qualities our clients told us make for a ‘”great” caregiver.
- Ability to provide comfort – ‘…thank you for sending us an aide who made my mother so comfortable at her time of need”. Comfort is not only making sure the person has a clean bed and pillows, but also the calm assurance that the client is safe and her or his needs are fulfilled with kindness and warmth.
- Cleanliness – There is an old saying that cleanliness is next to Godliness. A great caregiver recognizes that a prime element in promoting the wellbeing and dignity of her client is to maintain cleanliness in their primary space. This is not the same as a housecleaning service. This cleanliness promotes hygiene in the bathroom, the bed, kitchen and floors. This is about making sure that the client is wearing clean clothes and has clean sheets and that stale food and dirty dishes aren’t piling up.
- Gentleness – Clients with progressive dementia or Alzheimer’s frequently forget to bathe and follow normal hygienic routines. A great caregiver patiently eases the client into a routine where bathing, brushing one’s hair, oral care and getting dressed is associated with soothing soft music or pleasant conversation. Alzheimer’s patients often are fearful or distrusting of someone touching or being close to them for personal tasks that are so private. Great caregivers instinctively know when and how to approach these delicate tasks and earn their client’s trust.
- Reliability – Reliability is a wide-ranging topic. This includes being on-time and dependable according to schedule. It also covers having an agency that is there to assist when schedules change and new or back-up caregivers are needed, or being sure to keep family members current and aware of changes in the client’s condition. Doing all the tasks without fail and meeting the needs of the client promotes peace of mind for the client and the client’s loved ones. Nothing is more important, especially for out of town family, than to have peace of mind that mom or dad in Florida is getting quality care with great caregivers.
We know that “qualified” does not always equate to “great” care. Contact us and let us refer a great caregiver for you or your loved one’s needs.