Managing the Caregiving Staff

Never give or lend money to a caregiver. It is inappropriate for an employee to ask for your financial help, no matter what the reason.

Limit the value of gifts given on birthdays and holidays.

Make unexpected visits to the home, varying the times and days that you, other relatives and friends, come to the home.

Do not allow the caregiver to schedule visitation times for nursing services; the nursing service should make unexpected visits. By allowing the caregiver to schedule visitation times, he/she can prepare both herself and the patient to make the best presentation.

Do not allow a caregiver to re-arrange the home for his or her convenience. It may be a sign that this person is attempting to take over control of the situation.

Be cautious about allowing a caregiver to bring household and other supplies to the home. The home belongs to the patient(s) and supplies should be provided by you. Constantly bringing supplies, making herself/himself seem indispensable, may be a way for the care giver to detract attention from what he/she is doing.

Do not put one caregiver in charge of the other caregivers; it gives too much power to one individual. You are the one in charge; never relinquish even part of your authority to anyone outside your family.

A caregiver who often complains about the other employees or family members is trying to confuse you, trying to keep you from suspecting him/her. A constantly complaining caregiver should be removed from the home.

Even though a medication schedule is available to the caregiver, you cannot be certain that the medications are being given as prescribed. Check to make sure the schedule has not been changed. Look at the medication box and watch for symptoms that the medications are not being given as instructed, for example, excessive sleepiness or frequent urination at inappropriate times.

When ordering medications, have the medications delivered to your own home, if you do not share a home with your loved one. Bring only limited amounts of medications to your loved one’s home at a time. Strictly control the amount and the types of medications that are available to the care giver. Many prescription services will deliver prescriptions in amounts needed for 90 days. Never leave the entire three month supply of medication in your loved one’s home.

When a caregiver asks for supplies, make sure the supplies are genuinely needed. By asking for or ordering more supplies than are needed, an employee is stealing from you, even if that employee does not remove the items from the home. An abuser will look for ways of exercising their power, defeating you in little ways, gaining more and more power, until all the power belongs to them, and they are free to kill.

Keep in contact with other caregivers such as nursing services which visit the ill, questioning them about what they have seen. Often the nursing service leaves a report in the home. In our case, the report was taken by the care giver, so we did not see it. Do not leave it up to the nursing service to contact you. Insist on a weekly personal report either over the phone or in person with you, the primary care giver.

If the caregiver does not touch the patient in a loving manner when you are present and/or is unwilling to be touched, that person is not a caregiver. That individual may have personality traits which are dangerous to your loved one.

Do not assume that another caregiver will relate to you improper care of your loved one. Several caregivers whom we had hired were disturbed with what was happening in our parents’ home. These individuals quit rather than tell us what they had seen. Most people are afraid of “blowing the whistle”.

Do not trust a caregiver implicitly, assuming that he/she is telling the truth. Trust should be earned. Trust should not be given just because a person presents herself as trustworthy. Check out the stories you are told. Anyone who lies even about something little should be fired immediately.

Any employee who repeatedly seeks your pity about their past or present life condition cannot be trusted. They are seeking to manipulate you, and it is easy, as we sadly learned, for good people to be manipulated.

If a caregiver tells you that hospice is needed, that your loved one is failing, question the reasons the caregiver believes that to be so. Question the other caregivers individually to gather information from them. Talk to your physician. But never just dismiss the caregiver’s assertion. In our parent’s case, we believe the caregiver was giving a clue as to what she was about to do. You must never underestimate a caregiver’s knowledge, motives, intelligence, resourcefulness or the power which he/she has at her disposal. Never believe that you are smarter or better educated than the caregiver. In all likelihood there are some areas that the caregiver is much more educated than you are.

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