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Managing Caregivers

Having someone you don’t know come into your home can be a stressful and difficult transition.  Be patient - it may take time to adjust.  Follow these tips and review Mellie’s Hiring In-Home Help to help ensure success.


Maintain a Written Plan of Care

Having a written plan of care is essential as it sets expectations.

  • If you are working with a homecare agency, ask for a copy of the Care Plan and review it to make sure that it contains exactly what you want the caregiver to do.  Review it again with your caregivers to ensure that they understand it.

  • If you hired private caregivers, develop your own care plan so that caregivers are clear on what is expected of them.


Practice Clear Communication

Don’t be critical - remember that everyone completes tasks in a different manner.  Both the older adult and the caregiver may have preferences for how to do a task.  If health and safety are not a concern, the caregiver should complete the task as the client or you wish.  If you have preferences for how to complete a task, tell the caregiver what you want done and do not assume that he or she will complete the task as you would.   


Set Expectations

If the caregiver is from an agency, review their policies regarding attendance and performance.  If you hired a private caregiver, make certain to communicate your expectations regarding communication, attendance, dress, breaks, and other matters.


Observe Boundaries

Boundaries often become blurred when someone is in the home on a regular basis and becomes part of an older adult’s life.  Remember that no matter how close you feel to the caregiver, the caregiver is an employee and not a family member.  Treat them with empathy, compassion and respect but recognize there is a line between caregiver and friend.  


Caregivers should not discuss their personal lives with their clients. Raising concerns about their living situation, finances or children is not only inappropriate but can also create an opportunity for the older adult to be taken advantage of.  Similarly, the giving of gifts can be problematic so should be limited.  If you are using an agency, check with them about their policies.



Speak with the caregiver on a regular basis to see how things are going and what challenges they may be having. If the caregiver works for an agency, request that the supervisor also participate in the meetings.


Track Daily Tasks

If you are using a homecare agency, they should have a system to track what tasks the caregiver completed as well as other concerns that may arise.  If not, use a notebook, create a checklist or develop a form to document what they did during their shift as well as capture information that may be needed by the family or another caregiver.

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