What a respite worker HAS to know!

After you have hired your worker, you have to give her/him all the tools necessary to do a great job.  They need to know as much as possible about the care of your loved one but of course, will not be able to read your mind.

With this in mind I will point you back to the post I made earlier about the binder with all the information in it.  It is great for anyone stepping in, whether respite workers, family, or neighbors.

It is important to keep it up to date.  I realize that you have a lot of your plate but keeping this binder up to date will insure that you can leave at anytime and the person replacing you will have access to the correct information about medications, doctors, appointments, etc.

Updating it might be a thing you can do when you are doing your test run with the respite worker.  That way you can have peace and quiet and be able to really look it over.

I know mom’s medication changed a lot due to her being on blood thinners.  It seemed like every blood test meant a different dosage and the prescription bottle didn’t change so I had to keep on top of it.

Also it is great to include any information about how your loved one acts.  Mom liked country music so I tried to keep it on.  She had favorite tv shows she liked to watch. Favorite food and drinks should be included. Anything quirky about your loved one should be discussed.  Basically anything that would make the transition easier on your loved one and the respite worker.

What other information do you think should be in the binder?  

Interviewing the respite caregiver

Hiring anyone to take care of your loved one requires checking them or their agency out carefully.  Some agencies require background checks on all their respite workers but do NOT assume they do.  The only way you are going to feel comfortable leaving your loved one with someone else is to assure yourself by checking everything out first.

Most people find respite workers through and agency.  Although I was aware of our local respite organization, I also could have went on the internet and searched for “respite workers Hastings, Nebraska” and several agencies would have popped up.  You could also check with your medical team or local Health and Human Services department to see who they suggest.

Respite care providers in Nebraska requires several trainings.  Different caregivers will choose to only work with certain ailments and age groups.  The training includes medication delivery, bathing, first aid, CPR, emergency care, psychology and emergency care.

Interview any possible respite workers carefully since they will be working for you.  Make sure they are aware of all the responsibilities they will have.  Ask if they feel comfortable with the level of care your loved one needs.  Make sure they are aware of the medical needs they will need to able to take care of along with any other needs.    Make sure they want to take care of a patient in your age range and level of disability.  Some respite caregivers are more comfortable with youth, only females, people able to use the restroom, bathe themselves, etc.

Trust your instincts.  If something doesn’t feel right, even if all the paperwork makes it seem like it should work, keep looking for the respite worker that makes you feel good about it.

To me it was important that my respite worker would get along with mom so she was included in the interview.  Mom had reactions to certain people so naturally I picked one that mom seemed ok with and that treated mom with respect.

Then we did a trial run where the respite worker came and I left (even though I just went outside).  The first time was only about an hour to see if it felt right.  We were lucky and found one right away.  I have talked to caregivers who tried several before they found the right one.

It is always good to have more than one but mom didn’t like too many people in her environment so we stuck with just one.

Next post we will discuss the information that has to be readily available for the respite caregiver.

Do you have any experiences with respite providers that might help others in their searches?  Any questions you think they should ask?

Respite Care – Do you need a break?

Respite Care – Do you need a break?

Caregiving can be exhausting.   The day to day care without a break is one of the reasons that caregivers can die before the person needing care.  Respite care can give a temporary break from the struggle of the stress while still giving the person needing care professional help that is trained to take care of your loved one.  Using respite can strengthen and support your abilities as a caregiver.  Seeking help does NOT make you a bad person.  It just means you have a life outside of being caregiver.

Respite can be for many different reasons.  It can be for something as simple as grocery shopping,  medical appointments, a meal out or just going to sit at the park for some ‘me’ time. It can even be for a weekend away for many reasons.  The idea is for you to be able to recharge your batteries WITHOUT sacrificing the care for your loved one.

Respite care can be provided in your home or in a care facility such as a nursing home or adult day care facility.  Generally when done in the home, the respite worker does all the normal things like you do such as cooking, cleaning and personal care along side of any medical care.  With more intensive cases you might need to use a nursing home or adult care facilities.

None of this is generally covered by insurance or Medicare.  But, there are sometimes funds to care for this type of care.  Grants are available from time to time.  The cost varies from person to person but is usually typical for the area.   Where I live the general cost is $10.00 per hour.  This is set by the respite worker.

Since respite care is such an important part of caregiving we will discuss this in three posts.

Next post we will be discussing interviewing the respite caregiver.