Your Home Health Care Aide: Establishing A Positive Relationship

by Kim Champion
You've made the decision to let an aide come into your home to assist. That was hard enough. Now you re getting apprehensive about what to expect when the aide arrives for work. If you don't have experience with in-home assistance, all sorts of "worst case scenarios" are whirling about in your head. And then there are the questions. What should you do if you don't like the aide?

How should you approach problems? Who supervises the aide? Assuming that you have hired an aide from a home health care agency, you can expect a lot of support in easing your anxieties. It is the agency's job to answer your questions in advance and resolve any issues that arise. The key to facilitating your satisfaction and comfort is good communication with the agency management and with your aide.

Here are a few tips for establishing positive relationships with your home health care professionals:

Be completely honest about your needs

Overcome any embarrassment or guilt associated with describing why you need help and what kind of help you need. Remember that you are dealing with professionals who have helped a variety of clients. They are experienced in meeting the needs of people just like you. Home Health Care professionals are prepared to deal with tough situations such as Alzheimer's, alcoholism, Parkinson's, strokes, incontinence and stressful family circumstances.

State your preferences from the start

The best way to get exactly what you want is to be specific. Give a detailed request to the agency so that the aide they send will meet your needs. Items to include are your household rules, such as "no smoking" or "kosher kitchen". Also express your daily routines and how to follow the, such as "up at 7 a.m.", "breakfast first, medicine second, shower last" , "I need privacy from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.", "transportation to salon every Friday, using employee's car".

Give feedback to the agency on a timely basis

"Nip it in the bud," is good advice. Most problems start out small and can be best resolved when addressed promptly. If you are experiencing a problem with the aide, call the agency. This benefits you in two ways: you do not have to be involved in reprimanding the aide, and it prompts the agency to diplomatically resolve the problem. Employee supervision is the responsibility of the agency. If the problem cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, request the agency send a different aide. The agency will handle the hiring and firing for you.

If you start off with honesty and communication, having a home health care aide will be a successful and beneficial experience.
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