Whether you’re working with a caregiving agency or on your own, here are some things to consider and know when hiring.
After having experienced multiple interviews with many potential caregivers it became easier to know what to specifically ask as time went on. Here are some starting points to ask caregivers during the interview process. This is in no particular order, so ask in whichever way you feel is most beneficial to you.
- Do they have any allergies?
It may seem unexpected but if you have pets then it’s always good to double check just in case. This is one of the main things I ask first, especially because I have hairy pets that shed a lot.
- Any prior experience? Have they worked with your specific medical equipment? Ex: Hoyer lift, Cough Assist machine, Bi-Pap/C-Pap, etc.
While some have been in the healthcare industry for years, others may be new to this profession. Most people I’ve worked with have never been a caregiver before and experience may come from helping a relative just not as a job. As for the second question, most of my caregivers have never seen or used a hoyer lift before until working with me. Checking to see what they’ve worked with gives you an idea on what they already know or don’t know.
- Can they do any heavy lifting or assist with transfers?
Somewhat tying into the question above, this is useful if you need help with transfers. Whether it’s extensive or not, you need know if they can assist in transferring you or at least being able to keep you from falling.
- Do they do any kind of smoking?
This all depends on your personal preference and what you’re most comfortable with. I can’t be around smoke as it affects my already weak lungs, but if someone says they do I usually ask that they try not to smoke before their shift with me. If they absolutely need to take a break, it’s fine as long as it’s done outside.
- Are they vaccinated? Also state your preferences on wearing masks.
Regardless of whether you care about this or not, it’s still important to at least know. That way you can assess the risk level if you do hire them. Also if you’re immunocompromised, then you can avoid the potential risk altogether as it’s probably in your best interest to ensure you’re well protected. As for the masks, it comes down to your personal preferences and whether you want caregivers to wear masks the whole time, only in specific instances, or not at all.
- Can they cook? Are they comfortable preparing meals and working in the kitchen?
If you’re unable to cook your own meals or if you’re limited on what you can cook this is something to consider. Especially if you have any dietary restrictions and need specific things prepared for you.
- Let them know about any uniform preferences you may have.
You may not care how they dress, or you may prefer scrubs/a particular uniform, that’s fine. Or inform them about certain types of fabrics that aren’t allowed if you have skin sensitivity, especially if you’ll be in close contact with each other.
- Ensure communication is key as it’s imperative for you.
Being reliable is important, but it’s especially true if someone’s a caregiver. If you greatly depend on someone to help take care of you, then you need to know if they aren’t showing up or suddenly can’t make it. As long as they can let you know as soon as possible, then you can at least go from there. It’s okay, things just happen sometimes. Communication is essential as it allows you to prepare accordingly.
It’s also appreciated if they let you know when they’re sick because you may not want them to come in at all. If you’re at high risk and can get sick easily, then you want to protect yourself as best as you can. But that might not be possible for everyone. You may be limited in your movements and not have anyone else that can fill-in. So having them wear a mask, constantly washing their hands and disinfecting everything as much as possible while also keeping close contact to a minimum might be the best, maybe even only, option for the time being.
- Ask if they have any questions or concerns.
This is a good time to check-in with them and see how they’re feeling. Some get nervous after hearing my list of needs and it can sound overwhelming. You want to ensure they’re still interested while reassuring them you’ll help them along the way as well. They’re there to assist you but you’re also training and guiding them through all the things that need to be done.
- Try getting to know them during the interview process.
Learn about their interests, hobbies, personal life, and all that. This is someone that will be spending time with you throughout the week, so break the ice a little and get a better idea of who they are.
Two Things to Consider Before Signing the Necessary Paperwork
- Ensure payment agreement
Caregiving agencies decide the rate, not the clients, so this is more so if you’re doing self-directed care or paying on your own. Make sure the payment is agreed upon by both parties and get it in writing.
- Confirm hours they’ll be working
Please make sure everyone is on the same page and get that in writing too. I’ve had my caregiving agency get the hours wrong because I have split shifts so make sure the schedule is exactly how you want it. And hopefully the caregiver understands the hours too because I’ve had a few get confused or get days flipped despite signing already so again, make sure they know.
Keep in Mind
Despite having everything in order and all set, ghosting still happens sometimes. It’s not often, but people would just not show up or back out after signing everything. If this ever happens, which I hope not because it means starting the process all over again, just know that it’s not you. Try not to take it personally or assume it’s because of your disability/needs. For whatever reason, it didn’t work out and that’s fine. You will find the right caregiver in time. Just keep going.
Have any personal experiences or other additional questions you’d like to share? Comment down below!
And here’s to finding great caregivers or to continuing wonderful relationships with ones you currently have! ~So Says The Disabled Dryad~
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