Working with Home Care Personnel

You may find it difficult to have strangers in your home even if they are providing valuable care for your child. As with any new relationship, it takes time to get to know one another and work things out. Difficulties often occur when communication breaks down.

You know what your child needs, and you can help the caregiver by explaining how you care for your child. Parents and caregivers are experts in their own areas and need to mutually respect each other. Here are some suggestions when you have a caregiver come into your home:

— Provide the caregiver with personal information about your child's likes and dislikes, typical reactions, usual routines and family rules, in addition to medical information.

— Get a written care plan from the home care agency clearly identifying the caregiver's duties. Don't expect extras such as housecleaning, baby-sitting or care of other children unless they are specified as the caregiver's duties.

— Provide caregivers with a calendar to write down their schedules and therapy times.

— Make sure the family and caregiver understand what's expected of them. Provide written information about where and when caregivers may eat, smoke, and take breaks.

— Meet with the caregiver regularly to identify progress or changes in your child and to discuss any issues about working together in your home. You may want to set up a daily logbook to share information, especially if you work outside the home while the caregiver is there.

— Ask for clear instructions from the agency on how to deal with conflicts or complaints about a caregiver's performance.

Don't get discouraged if your first home care experience isn't perfect. It may take time working with an individual or an agency to find the right match for you and your child.