- When employing home help, it's important to outline specific tasks and avoid instructing caregivers on what not to do.
- Define your expectations, especially regarding meal preparation and other duties that your caregiver may perform.
- Document the pay rate, determine a time-off plan, set a work schedule, and create a communication plan with your caregiver.
elping your new caregiver feel welcomed and supported is one of the most important roles you’ll play as you manage home care needs.
When employing home help, be sure to use the checklist below. It will identify nearly all misunderstandings between the caregiver and family members:
1. Outline the Tasks
It is important to make a list of specific tasks that your caregiver must perform. Simply saying “Take care of mom,” is not enough – and it's equally important to avoid instructing him or her on what NOT do as well.
2. Define Expectations
Each person has his own standards and values, which may or may not be the same as those of other people.
For example, if meal preparation is part of the caregiver’s duties, let her know what kind of meals you expect at each mealtime. One family might consider bologna sandwiches every day for lunch to be fine—while another might expect a hot meal.
The more guidance you can provide, the better your caregiver can do his or her job.
3. Document the Pay Rate
It’s a good idea to put the agreed-upon hourly or live-in rate into writing before your caregiver starts working for you.
4. Determine a Time-Off Plan
Caregivers need to take vacations, and some will want to take a week or more off at once. You should discuss how much time they plan on taking each year and how many weeks’ notice you’ll need in order for them to find someone else before going away.
5. Set a Work Schedule
One family may be flexible with time while another is less so. For example, if your caregiver’s schedule allows for 9 am to noon but he or she arrives at 9:15 instead of the expected time, would that still work for you?
That flexibility is usually determined by both the duties that need to be performed as well how the family perceives time.
6. Create a Communication Plan
It is best if only one family member has the role of being the liaison with the caregiver. This person can then set up a communication plan for whatever reporting needs or preferences other members of the household have.
Some families like to check in with the caregiver after each shift, while other families are happy getting a weekly report. Decide if you prefer texting or calling/emailing as your method of communication.
The degree to which any of these issues will be complicated depends on your needs and expectations.
If you have concerns about your caregiver, address each issue directly—and remind him/her of it if necessary!