Working With Clients: Caregiver, Personal Care Assistant Tips
Providing care to the elderly and to those who needs assistance at home is a rewarding career. And if you are working in a home care agency you would be working with different clients, thus will give you different new scenarios and some unexpected situations you need to adapt yourself into.
And say you are new and are about to go on your first or second client with a home care agency which just hired you? Here's some tips on what I had learned from experienced on what to do on situations you may find yourself into with home health care clients.
Working with a home care agency? Make sure you know the rules of the home care. And if you are on a case and aren't sure of something, don't hesitate on calling them and ask. Or maybe just update them about the case you are working with.
I remember 3 years ago on an orientation when someone said, " Be ready on your first day as you don't know what you would see the first time you walk into a client's home." And that is true. Some people are very neat, house sparkly clean when you walk into the home, and some, the other way around. But you have to be professional, no pouting, covering your nose or holding your breath where a client can see it. Don't ask why. How would you feel if I walk into your home and see a mess all over the floor, I smelled something bad and covered my nose? And as a caregiver or personal care assistant, maintain your good attitude and be professional.
Smile, be nice and listen
This three sounds simple, but these are some good tips to get along with your client and can help both of you to enjoy the time while you're working with them.
During the first few days would be a "get to know" phase. And this is specially on the first day where you get to know your way around the house, where things are and the client telling you the things you need to know about them and other important information, so listen.
And that question at the back of your mind, " Is this client nice? I hope so " would be answered as you work along with the client. And who knows, maybe the client was hoping too that you are nice and that your a good match to work with him / her.
So far, most clients I had worked with are really nice. These are the kind of clients that would want their PCA (Personal Care Assistant) to feel at home, have a cup of coffee with them, share some toast for breakfast and have a half of sandwich. Now, what do you do? Well, try to be polite turning down the offer and say you already had a breakfast at home. And make sure you inform your office on how nice the client was to you. And if the client insist and you can't say no, tell the client you both has to call the office first if it is ok for you to have a meal with the client.
A good reason for this is: Some elderly are confused which is why it is so important to inform your home care office about such simple offers you get. They might be offering you something and they would be looking for it the other day or some days after that. And this also goes with gifts. It is a priceless feeling when you know your help is appreciated and the client's way of showing you that you are making such a good job is giving you a gift. But again, inform your office and let them speak with the client before you accept gift so your office can document it.
I had heard of cases like this with the caregiver or PCA accepted something, didn't let the office know so it wasn't documented, and the following days was some kind of trouble. So always give your office a call before accepting any gifts, specially money or foods for you to take home or eat.
Always inform the client where you at and what you are doing.
Another simple act, but letting a client know where you at and what you are doing can help them feel more comfortable with you specially if these are your first few days or weeks.
This could be simply as stating, " Mrs. Smith, I'd be on the kitchen preparing lunch. " Or something like, " Mr.s Smith, I will be doing some laundry. " So the client wouldn't be wondering where you are and that maybe your up to something.
And if they are somewhere around the house and you need to get into their bedroom to tidy things up or change bed sheets and such, inform them first and maybe ask the client if she or he want to go with you why you are in the bedroom. This would save you in situations where items could get misplaced or missing.
Asking and putting items back on where you got them.
Another thing that clients appreciate is when you engage them to simple decision making such as what clothes and color they prefer to wear. So when you are about to give a shower, pick up some shirts, clothes, or dress you think they might like and let them choose which they prefer instead of you choosing what they wear.
Nothing can piss a client more than having a hard time moving around, looking for items on where they used to put it. So whenever you pick up something or did a light housekeeping, remember the place where you got the item and put it back on the same "exact" place.
When you report to your home care office, update them and tell them how things went through your shift.