8 Tips for Partnering with Your Care provider

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8 Tips for Partnering with Your Care provider

Getting to know your long-term care provider can help care stay on track. A care provider can be a home care aide, a companion, a home care agency or a facility (such as a nursing home or assisted living facility). Your involvement can help a loved one achieve an appropriate outcome by identifying and solving care related issues.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open. Let your caregiver know that you're available to answer questions, solve problems, or just listen. Determine the preferred method of communication that works best for each of you. If necessary, have someone else look after your loved one for a short time so you and the caregiver can talk privately before or after a scheduled visit. It may be helpful to establish a contact person within the care provider's administration.

Stop By Unannounced. Drop by periodically at various times of the day to see how things are going. This will give you an opportunity to observe the dynamics between your loved one and their caregiver. If you don't live locally, ask a friend or neighbor to drop by.

Ask Questions. Be sure to provide your loved one with opportunities to express concerns regarding their relationship with the long-term care provider. Engage them in conversation, ask questions, and listen.

Keep your Eyes Open. Be on the lookout for any changes in your loved one's physical, mental and emotional health. Things to look for: unexplained cuts or bruises, sadness, anxiety, fear, change in personal hygiene, loss of interest, appetite or change in sleeping habits. Monitoring your care provider in the news can also be a helpful way of staying abreast of any changes. There are a variety of electronic news alert services, such as "Google Alerts" that allow you to receive an email any time your provider is mentioned in a news article. We strongly recommend creating " news" alerts for your chosen long-term care provider. 

Set Clear Expectations. Make sure the caregiver has a solid understanding of what's expected of them. Create a daily check list of tasks to serve as a reminder for the caregiver or provider. Likewise, make sure that you understand the caregiver's needs and preferences.

Consider Enlisting More than One Caregiver. Having more than one caregiver provides for back-up coverage which can decrease risk of caregiver burn out.   It can also provide another set of eyes to observe overall well-being.

Have a Back-Up Plan. Unforeseen things can disrupt schedules.  Having a back-up plan to fill in any gaps in coverage can decrease the amount of stress felt by all involved.

Show your Appreciation. Acknowledge a job well done. A note or even a simple "thank you" may mean a lot to the caregiver. 

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