When Considering a Caregiver, You Truly Get What You Pay For

Angela Muki - Friday, November 13, 2015 | Comments (0)

One of my dear clients suffered a very sudden and severe medical trauma just after turning age 92. The family, four siblings, came to town to provide support and additional care.

This lovely woman would need 24-hour assistance after leaving the skilled nursing facility and during her tenuous home recovery. The siblings were not prepared to provide the care, after all. Upon my suggestion and referral, a highly reputable and experienced home care firm was engaged. I took comfort knowing that my client was in good hands, and her comfort and trust in the caregivers was obvious.

Yes, hiring 24-hour personal care is expensive, but mom had planned well for this possibility and the funds were available. However, after 2 weeks the siblings decided to consider an Independent Operator to decrease care cost.

By an independent operator, I of course mean one who is operating outside the law. They do not properly insure their business and caregivers, nor can they possibly pay the caregiver a legal hourly rate if offering services at half or less of the legitimate personal assistance firms. I warned the family of the dangers and possible consequences of their decision.

For those who are not aware of the risks, that is another issue to address at another time – but you will experience one peril in this story.

Mom suddenly took a critical turn and hospice was engaged. Coincidentally, a coordinator for the independent provider came to the home the following day to make an assessment and financial offer. He reviewed the hospice file and was well aware that the client was now on hospice. A new caregiver was scheduled to start work the coming Monday morning at 8:00am and the previously hired firm was notified that their services would no longer be needed after that time.

Over the weekend, the client again took a turn for the worse. She was in end-stage. I suggested the family not make any changes to her care, but to no avail.

At 8:00am Monday morning the licensed firm’s caregiver departed as planned. The independent operator soon called to advise his caregiver would be late. The new caregiver arrived about 10:00am. The new caregiver entered the bedroom, made one sweeping glance at my client, announced she did not “do hospice” and immediately left the home.

Sibling panic ensued.

The originally hired firm was telephoned and rescued the situation by immediately sending out one of their previously trusted caregivers.

My client passed that very afternoon. I am left wondering if she heard the choices that were made and understood the management of her care. I often wonder if she passed peacefully.

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