A Perfect Match: In-Home Staffing Agencies Can Pair Care to Client for Best Results
Loar, Lynn, Aging Today
Problem: "I fired the helper you sent because she talked all the time. And she came late. She ate all the food in the refrigerator, watched television and argued with her children on her cellphone. Between the television and the cellphone, she didn 't hear me calling her"
Solution: "My mother was dissatisfied with every helper the agency sent but could never explain specifically what was wrong. Then, we found the checklists on www.safehelpinyourhome.org. These lists offered structure and details that allowed us to pinpoint what was annoying her and we were then able to convey this information to the staffing agency. This helped enormously, and the aides can now do their jobs successfully. My mom 's satisfied, the aides know how to please her and the agency knows how to make good matches.
- A Relieved Daughter in California
As aging people face illness or infirmity, often their greatest wish is to remain in the comfort and security of their own home. In-home care can make this wish come true but, for many in-home care staffing agencies, matching caregiver and client can be fraught with difficulty. Agencies may be short-staffed and have limited resources; and in-home helpers shoulder great responsibility and often work in isolation with clients who are vulnerable, anxious, depressed or difficult to please. To make the best match, agencies must assess the help their clients need, the qualities they value in a caregiver and - just as important - the skills and preferences of prospective caregivers.
A standard needs assessment reveals what daily activities prospective clients want help with, but cannot supply enough information to make good matches. Clients and their aides spend much one-on-one time togetiier, and irritations can occur. To minimize friction and promote harmony, find out exactly how clients want to be helped and the qualities they desire in a helper. Clients may say generally mat mey want someone to clean and help around the house, but this information is incomplete. Competent aides, though proficient at their jobs, may displease clients because they do not know their clients' idiosyncratic preferences. Clients may not give their aides sufficient direction or feedback, but instead complain about inadequate performance and dissatisfaction to the agency, friends and family. Take temperament and interpersonal styles into account while considering matches to minimize dissatisfaction and increase satisfaction between client and caregiver.
ASSESSING FOR SUCCESS
Learn both your clients' and employees' preferences. If an aide spends time doing chores he or she dislikes - and me client is dissatisfied as a result- the aide still will be paid and the client still will receive the requested services, but no one - not caregiver, client or agency really benefits from this type of match. …