When you hire a caregiver for your elderly loved one you will be involved in managing that caregiver. Managing a caregiver can be a fairly simple matter or it may be extremely complex, depending on a number of factors (not the least of which is the reliability and professionalism of the caregiver). When you have two or more caregivers, the challenges of managing them can increase exponentially. Here are some things to consider if you are in the position of managing multiple caregivers.
Create a schedule for your elderly loved one
One thing that will assist in making order out of the chaos is a set schedule for your elderly loved one. This schedule will benefit your loved one by providing a sense of regularity and consistency; however, the primary beneficiary of the schedule will be you!
When there is a schedule to follow, you remove the element of chance from the picture. For example, you won't need to start calling caregivers to inquire whether your loved one was bathed on a certain day because you will know that every day--regardless of which caregiver was on duty--the bath takes place at a certain time. A schedule will simplify your life and reduce the stress you might otherwise experience from the task of going down a checklist and verifying that certain tasks have (or have not) been performed.
Implement a communication log
It is important to establish a way for caregivers to communicate with you and with each other. This will enable caregivers to know at a glance whether certain tasks have already been performed on a certain day or whether there are special things of which they need to be aware.
For example, if your loved one requires more intensive supervision after eating a certain type of food, it will be helpful if the evening caretaker is aware that your loved one had that food in the morning. Creating a communication log will facilitate this communication between all parties and help reduce the chances that something important falls through the cracks.
A communication log could be something as simple as a notebook. Each caretaker could record an entry for each shift he or she completes. The entry would include any relevant information. Then, the next caretaker would be required to read the day's entries at the beginning of his or her shift.
Other methods for a communication log would be an email chain that is sent out on a regular basis to all parties involved in the care of your elderly loved one. This email could be sent out on a predetermined schedule--for example, once per day--and could also be sent out more frequently as circumstances dictate. Whatever method you implement, the important thing is to establish a method of regular communication which is clear and accessible to all parties involved.
Strive for consistency
Each elderly person is slightly different...
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make your life easier--and to provide better care for your elderly loved one--is to try to keep the same caregivers for as long as possible. Of course employee turnover is simply a fact of life, and caregiver employees are no different from employees of any other sort, but if you can manage to keep the same group of caregivers it will help them to provide better care for your loved one. Each elderly person is slightly different, and each one will have his or her own quirks and challenges. A caregiver who has been providing care to the same elderly person for a long time will have learned the various idiosyncrasies of his or charge and will be more adept at handling them. In contrast, a caregiver who has just started providing care for your elderly loved one will be less likely to know what to do when a given situation arises.
The task of managing multiple caregivers can be challenging. However, through proper planning and by taking the correct steps, you can make the task easier for yourself and more beneficial for your elderly loved one.
Vulcan, Nicole. How to Manage Multiple Caregivers. Available at http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/manage-multiple-caregivers-46407.html. Last visited January 2, 2016.
www.mindtools.com (website). Managing Caregivers. Available at https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/managing-caregivers.htm. Last visited January 2, 2016.