I am a new caregiver having recently finished my training. While the responsibilities of a caregiver are very clear to me, I am struggling a little bit with how to convey the roles and responsibilities of caregiving with some of my clients and their families. Most often it is because clients ask me to go beyond the scope of what my duties should entail.
It is my nature to be accommodating and caring, which is why I chose this profession. My clients have become like family to me. But I am also aware of how important it is to stick to the tasks and responsibilities of caregiving that I’ve been hired to complete.
Do you have any suggestions for how I should handle it when I am asked to perform tasks that I really should not be involved with?
Any advice would be appreciated!
Understanding the Responsibilities of a Professional Caregiver
What a great question for both caregivers and families to read! Because caregivers work in client homes, they often develop close bonds with seniors and their families. It is easy to blur the line between what responsibilities a caregiver can complete and those that are beyond it. For many reasons ranging from safety to finances, caregivers do need to learn tactful ways to say no.
Initially, it might be something as simple as gently explaining to your client what you are—and are not—able to help with during your visit. While that might be tough for a caregiver to do, a few kind reminders can help keep the issue from becoming a point of contention and damaging the relationship.
Sometimes seniors and their families just do not realize that what they are asking of you isn’t within the scope of a caregiver’s responsibilities. It might help if you suggest to your supervisor that everyone involved sits down together to review your responsibilities and how well the tasks outlined in the care plan are meeting the client’s needs.
Then use this opportunity to discuss any needs and challenges the senior has beyond those that are part of their care plan. Make sure you tactfully share the requests you are receiving from the client and their family that you should not be doing.
Once that list of tasks is out there for everyone to see, you and your supervisor might be able to offer solutions for those duties that are not a part of the care plan.
- Expand care plan: Are these tasks ones that could be added to your job or to another member of your team’s job? It might be possible to expand the care plan to include them.
- Skilled in-home care: Sometimes the types of assistance the client needs should be performed by a skilled home health provider. It might be for physical therapy or skilled nursing tasks. Your agency or their primary care physician may be able to connect the senior with a certified home health agency.
- Agency on aging: Maybe the family needs a handyman to help with repairs around the senior’s house or someone to assist with lawn care. Because they trust you, they might be asking for your help with these duties. Encourage them to call the local agency on aging instead. Most agencies maintain a list of senior-friendly contractors. The one closest to your client’s home might be able to share a list of contractors who have experience working with older adults.
Hopefully this will help get everyone on the same page. If not, it might require more intervention from your supervisor to help the client continue to learn about the role of a professional caregiver.