5 Common Frustrations that Families may have in dealing with In-home Care Providers!
1. Poor communication from the office
This is always top of the list! Poor or inadequate communications from the office surrounding the care arrangements of a loved one can be hugely frustrating for a family member particularly if they are further away and unable to be more present to assist themselves. These family members are often juggling such busy families lives with their own children and sometimes grandchildren too that they need good quality and consistent communication from the office. A common error made is saying something like ‘I will call you back as soon as I can…’ A relative may think this means in the next 10 -15 minutes while someone in the office might think this means ‘in the next day or so’. No wonder frustrations can arise!
2. Not having one point of contact
It takes many bodies to make a care at home service function well but customers should not need to understand the entire office system and everyone’s function within it. Each customer should have one main point for contact throughout his or her journey with a provider. Ideally this should be the person who initially came out to see them when the initial contact was made so there is a meaningful face to face relationship and this office based person truly understands their situation, someone who can handle any aspect of their enquiry and if they don’t know the answer they should certainly be able to find it.
3. Invoicing mistakes
Inaccurate invoices can be a huge frustration. While often very straightforward to fix and make amends, errors show a lack of care surrounding the administrative processes. Mistakes could range from invoices being sent to the wrong address or for the attention of the wrong relative or they could include charges for services that were not provided. Customers should have such trust and confidence in the administrative procedures they feel they do not even need to check that their invoice are correct! If there is invoice mistakes being make what other more critical mistakes might be being made?
4. When a relatives carer does not emotionally read a situation correctly
It is vital that care workers in the industry have loads of emotional intelligence. They should always be able to put themselves in the shoes of the relatives, many of whom live in different cities and act in a way that put everyone at ease and gives relatives confidence that their relative is being well looked after by a switched on individual. Over communication by a care worker on trivial matters – can often be a frustration for a busy relative as much as under communicating – its about a care worker striking the right balance about what the relative needs to know, e.g. ‘your mum was not feeling herself today…’ – does this mean I need to get on a plane ASAP and come and take care of a potential crisis or does it just mean she was just a bit slower and quieter today but otherwise healthy. Clear communication on such maters is vital – relatives are often juggling a lot of other things in their lives – clarity is essential.
5. Having decisions taken out of your hands and a general loss of control
This is far more common that anyone would like to think. I would be certain that most people who have been instrumental in making care arrangements for an elderly relative will have felt some loss of control at some point in the journey. I would add that this is less likely when dealing with a private in-home care provider as after all – you are the boss and you are in full control of your own arrangements. It’s more likely to become an issue if you are dealing with or have become heavily dependent on the social work for your care needs. Social work will often have a limited range of options/solutions to care issues and as the needs of an individual deteriorates, unless you very deliberately and intentionally take back control of the situation you may find yourself being pulled down a care route that you or your loved one was always previously keen to avoid. – E.g. residential care.
I come across countless frustrated families who put up with the limitations of local authority care for a long time as they did not realise there was any alternative. If you are prepared to pay privately for a great service, and there are lots of great care providers out there, then, as a paying customer, you will always be in control. By way of analogy, if you go down to Waitrose for your groceries, you and you alone are in control of what you put in your shopping basket – no one tells you what you can and cannot buy and you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee afterwards! Private care at home is no different.