Everything you need to know about Mom’s professional caregiver
By Mike Takieddine
With life buzzing around you at warp speed, and with children to be preoccupied about as well, Mom’s companion, homemaker and personal assistant may just about be the most important person for you at any given time.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), or Home Health Aides (HHAs), as they are also named, are the backbone of home care agencies and senior living facilities. They are thoroughly vetted, skilled, insured, TB vaccinated, CPR qualified multitaskers who perform just as if Mom had another daughter who was entirely dedicated to her.
What the caregiver’s certification implies
Their certification also speaks loudly for them for as ordinary aides, they had been motivated enough to enroll in a two or three-month course at a nursing academy, paid $1200 or more in fees, and then passed the state certification exam. Ask a group of CNAs about their further aspirations and you’ll find perhaps half of them on their way to further nursing accomplishments.
Who caregivers are and where they come from
Avoid stereotyping agency caregivers, for they arrive at Mom’s doorstep with different talents and mindsets and from highly divergent backgrounds. They are proud of the fact that they perform a vital function with seniors. In fact that is what keeps them fulfilled in work environments that can frequently turn challenging and highly stressful.
CNAs have a life away from their patients; they have husbands and children –also ex-husbands, mothers, and sick aunts. While they look after your Mom, they may have a paid babysitter or neighbor looking after children of their own.
The caregiver’s daily routine at Mom’s home
As companions and homemakers, they keep good company, watching TV with Mom, or escorting her to church or a mall when feasible; they attend to all the house chores, including shopping and meal preparation, and they become Mom’s ears and voice, answering the phone and maintaining important social relations with family and friends.
As Personal Assistants, they focus on Mom’s personal hygiene, grooming, bathing, transferring, medication reminders and other hands-on tasks.
The best thing you can do for your CNA is show her respect and kindness and help her when Mom, in her aging condition, becomes difficult or throws the occasional tantrum.
Their relation with the agency
An agency caregiver is employed and paid by her agency. She would typically be in daily contact with her Care Coordinator or Care Manager, as they are sometimes called. The agency’s main task is to conduct thorough screenings of the caregivers they hire, to keep Mom covered during the agreed upon weekly schedule, and to troubleshoot problems that arise, as they at times do between two people in the cramped quarters of a private home.
The caregiver’s Coordinator
When the primary caregiver gets sick, or when she otherwise needs time off, it is the Care Coordinator’s responsibility to cover for her with another caregiver. In addition, If and when problems do arise, the Care Coordinator usually offers to replace a caregiver with someone else, at no additional cost to the family.
The Coordinator at an agency has the added and worthy function of acting as “first responder”, continually available to the caregiver, to Mom and to you.
Allheal is a Conroe-based Medicare-certified home health agency with a Private Duty Division that provides in-home elder care services to clients up and down the I-45 corridor north of Houston.