All right, the “day in the life” is almost perfect. One caregiver was a little late, there was an incontinence incident. But what if…
…the caregiver is very late?
Accidents and unpredictable issues do happen. If an aide is running late, he or she informs the client’s care coordinator, who in turn lets the client know. If the delay is critical and compromises service delivery, we attempt to find a replacement, or the care coordinator herself replaces the usual caregiver for a few hours.
… the caregiver doesn’t show?
Our processes are designed to prevent no-shows. Can they happen? Yes, but they are extremely rare. If we know sufficiently early that a caregiver will be unable to attend a shift, our office seeks a suitable replacement. If a no-show does happen, the care coordinator immediately goes to the client’s home, while the office team seeks a replacement.
All care coordinators are certified nursing assistants (CNAs) with several years of experience. They know in detail the client cases they oversee, and they have access to our online databases, which puts within their immediate reach all necessary client data wherever they may be during an emergency situation.
A caregiver who does not show for a scheduled shift and does not have a credible reason for doing so is immediately terminated.
… the caregiver makes a mistake?
The client should report it immediately to his/her care coordinator or another manager, who will take proper actions. If necessary and appropriate, the client may decide to address the issue right away, but it is important to notify our office for corrective actions that may be necessary.
Depending on the nature and seriousness of the complaint, a report will be filed, and it is the client’s right to report the agency to pertinent authorities if need be (their phone numbers are indicated in each Client Information Booklet).
… we don’t like a caregiver?
There may be subjective reasons for a client to request that a caregiver be replaced, and you need to feel comfortable with a person working in your home. Our management team will proceed as requested, but it will also try to understand the reasons that led a client to ask for such a change.
If caregiver changes related to subjective preferences are requested very frequently and without a clear reason, services may be interrupted or subjected to higher fees. The conditions under which this may happen are clearly described in our service agreements.
… I want to discontinue your services?
Our service agreements are open-ended. If we have not made a serious mistake, we only request you to give us 24-hour notice.
If, on the other hand, we have made a critical mistake, services are immediately interrupted, you have the right to report us to the pertinent authorities, and we provide all the contact information you need to file a complaint.
… we find out our aide neglects mom and spends the afternoon chatting on her phone and texting?
Cell phone distractions are one of the main reasons for complaints in the home care industry. That is why we have a very simple and effective policy: direct-care workers may keep their cell phones on the service site, but not on them. If you see or suspect an aide is neglecting his/her duties, you should inform the Assisting Hands office immediately.
Distraction can expose a client to avoidable risks, and texting, playing on social media or pursuing personal activities unrelated to the job at hand may lead to an employee’s termination.
We have a “one-complaint policy”. Employees are entitled to one trivial complaint by clients per year (that is, it is not egregious neglect nor a safety-related error), such as about texting or not performing housekeeping tasks as stipulated in the client’s plan of care. Should a second complaint take place, the employee may be disciplined, and his/her employment may be terminated. All client complaints are documented and investigated.
… a caregiver is late, I leave home before she arrives, and she tries to clock in from the road?
That’s impossible. Caregivers must call to clock in when they arrive at the client’s home. Our management system only allows a caregiver to clock in from the client’s home number registered in our files. Additionally, if a clock-in is ten minutes late, the client’s care coordinator will call the caregiver and take corrective actions if necessary.
An employee may be disciplined if they know that a delay is inevitable and they fail to inform the agency. For instance, if an aide will be late due to a traffic jam, and we only learn about it when our management system flags that there has been no clock-in, disciplinary actions will take place.
… we learn that dad has given a caregiver he likes an expensive gift?
This is a delicate question that requires proper investigation. To prevent elder abuse, we have a zero-gift policy.
It is great when clients wish to express their satisfaction with small gifts to our employees. However, they are trained to politely decline and report the gesture to our office. There are legal reasons for this, to protect both the client and the employee.
If a client insists in giving a small present to an aide, we require that it be done with our consent, to keep a proper paper trail and for our employee to be officially recognized about his or her job well done and appreciated by the client.
… my niece takes mom to a day on the beach and I completely forget to notify the agency?
In such a case, you may end up paying for the entire shift, because a scheduled caregiver will have gone to work and the client was not there.
We request clients to inform us 48 hours or more prior to shift-change requests and planned absences. Otherwise, fees may apply, as described in our client agreements.
… we want the aide to go to the beach with us?
That’s easy to arrange. Just call us to discuss the logistics, since we may need to rearrange shifts. If it is for a period longer than a shift (an entire weekend, for example), we may need to change some parts of the usual plan of care and discuss whether it affects your current fee structure.
… an accident or health incident happens during your caregiver’s shift with my son?
In most cases, we will call 911. In our service agreements, clients authorize us to call 911 in cases of accidents or other emergencies that may require external or specialized assistance.
… dad’s plan of care stipulates two free supervisory visits per month, but I’d rather have a nurse visit him every week?
If you need the additional visits for peace-of-mind purposes only, as some clients do request, we will add them to your service plan for a small fee, and the two free visits remain taking place without charges.
Please also check our Frequently Asked Questions.