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Finding a Professional Caregiver: What Makes them Exceptional?

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Finding a Professional Caregiver: What Makes them Exceptional?

By Shannon Joyner, Human Resources

Finding the Right Caregiver

At first, you may notice: Not all the household chores are complete, food in the refrigerator is spoiled, or mom’s clothes do not look freshly laundered.  Your mom, however, has made it clear she wants to keep living in her own home. Finding a professional caregiver with the skills and abilities, as well as the ability to love and care for a client like it was his or her own family, can be challenging and stressful.   

People in general, but seniors particularly, can be very cautious about who they allow in their home.  A professional caregiver from a licensed home care agency is one of the best options to allow seniors to continue living independently in their home.  Aware Senior Care realizes that not all clients have the same skill needs, but more importantly, there is not a one-size fits all personality that characterizes the perfect caregiver. 
  
It is understandable to feel vulnerable when we have to ask for help and we need care.  Having the right personality, attitude, and compassion to accompany ability can make a person feel less like they are solely being taken care of and more like they have dignity and control in their own home.  

Finding a good caregiver starts with finding an agency that will listen to your wants and needs and respond professionally.  Engaged and Attentive Listeners: They should answer questions and start the work of understanding which caregiver would fit your care needs, personality, and time frame.   

Fine tuning your wants and needs can make an ordinary match magical.  Aware Senior Care has certain criteria that we look for in a professional caregiver.

Qualities of a Professional Caregiver:

Professional & Reliable Presence:  A caregiver should be on time, dressed neatly, and ready to assist according to the agreed upon duties.   All new relationships need time grow and blossom, but the caregiver should have an overall understanding of the client’s needs and expectations by reviewing the task and summary provided by the Agency.    

Part of being professional is keeping the focus on the client.  It is common for friendships and bonds to occurs between family members, clients, and the caregivers.  What is not okay is for the caregivers to share their personal problems or needs with the client.   

Comfortable with Hygiene and Other Personal Care Needs:  Often personal care needs, especially incontinence care, can be difficult for families to talk about, but it is a real need for clients trying to remain independent and at home.   Good caregivers will not only be competent in care, but will do so with respect and discretion, while always preserving the dignity of the client.

Training and Screening:  Aware Senior Care conducts complete background checks to screen caregivers suitable for employment.  References are checked to ensure only the highest quality caregivers are hired.  Upon hiring, caregivers go through an initial comprehensive training at orientation, followed by standard ongoing training, in addition to specific training that directly relates to the client’s individual needs.  It is common for a team member to accompany a caregiver to the first visit and complete a follow up with both the caregiver and clients.   Annual Training is provided and reviewed as part of our Aware Senior Care protocol, but we will we train and advise caregivers to the unique challenges of each client.   

Communication and Support:  Comprehensive care starts with great communication between the Caregiver, Care Coordinator, Care Manager, Scheduler, and the entire Administrative Team.   During our Aware Senior Care Client reviews, we discuss the changing needs of our clients as well as adjustments or enhancements to care that can empower our caregiver and the client relationship.   Because our staff provides after hours’ phone support to our caregivers on shift and the client’s families, it is important that the entire Aware Senior Care Team knows our clients and their families.  

Compassion and Connection: The "Aware Way"

Our caregivers have a wide range of experience and skills under their belt, but it will be common for them to ask clients “How would you like this done?”  The right way to complete the task is how the client would like it done.  Establishing a routine helps the client feel comfortable and calm.   This routine starts with good communication and a willingness to learn what works best for the client.  

No matter what stage the client is in, we expect our caregivers to interact with your loved ones.  Compassion and connection are part of the Aware Senior Care WHY, and they are also the number one quality of the caregivers we hire.  Providing personal / non-medical care is part of how we meet our clients’ needs but supporting them emotionally and taking part in daily activities are important aspects of care.   Baking cookies, completing crossword puzzles, reading the newspaper, and going out for lunch are what turns daily living needs into a loving connection between caregiver and client.  In this way, Aware Senior Care caregivers ensure that our clients have a safe, healthy, and enriching experience.  This provides peace of mind to families, knowing that their loved ones are being cared for as if they were our family, too.