Starting the home care journey can be a daunting task for the home health aide, the client, and their family. Inviting someone new into your home to care for your loved one or as an aide, venturing several miles outside your comfort zone to provide the most personal care can be an anxiety-riddled adventure.
But there are steps that both parties can take to set the stage for a successful adjustment period and an overall successful partnership.
Melinda Hill, an Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator at Ohio State University, in her article Roles of a Caregiver, Include Self-care, says starting the journey with conversation is key to preventing on-the-job stress and creating a positive work environment for a home health aide.
As a home health aide, it is essential to establish some parameters regarding boundaries, such as what you can and cannot do, any limitations, and the Plan of Care based on the patient’s medical team. There are some strict regulations regarding home care, and everyone should be on the same page from the first day.
It’s also helpful for the person whom you are assisting, if possible, to make a task list of things that would be helpful so that the list could be consulted and cross-checked with your duties as an aide.
If the family is still involved in care to any degree, this conversation should include them. Here are some of the points that should be discussed:
- Make sure expectations are clearly stated for the care of the loved one and tasks to be accomplished (laundry, meals, shopping, etc.). Keeping an ongoing journal of daily events is a great way to transfer communication from one shift to another or one day to the next.
- If the one being cared for can help make the decisions, generally, everyone receives the findings better.
- If travel is a concern, make a list of things that could be accomplished with technology, like ordering groceries online and having them delivered, or even keeping the schedules straight from week to week.
While these are just a few of the topics to discuss, more will arise. Keep an ongoing list and when there are enough, call another meeting to address the tasks at hand.
Equally important is a clear understanding of tasks home health aides cannot perform. True Care’s Home Health Aide Employee Manual outlines several activities that are prohibited, such as:
- Nursing duties which include wound care, glucose testing, preparing or administering medications
- Assisting with banking or money related errands
- Heavy housework, especially for members of the family other than the client
- Transporting the client in your vehicle
- Provide care when the client is not in the residence
- Perform tasks not included in the client’s Plan of Care
Having regular, transparent, and honest conversations at the start and throughout the home care journey can result in a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
Stating clearly the expectations that need to be met and the limitations of the care program set the stage for a higher level of understanding and better quality of care.