How do you go about developing a caregiver job description?
If you have a special needs child, or have another family member that needs help, then you should definitely have a caregiver to relieve stress and create an effective backup system for emergencies.
Whether you are hiring someone as a senior caregiver, or are using the assistance of family or friends in caring for your special needs child, it will be helpful for both you and your caregiver to have a written record of what your family's needs are.
But how do you go about developing a caregiver job description that is effective for your situation in providing personal care?
While the description of the required duties will very likely be the same, you will probably benefit from providing a more formal approach with a hired caregiver, and perhaps include the caregiver job description as part of your caregiver contract. This is especially true if you are dealing with an agency that may provide different caregivers based on scheduling and availability.
If you do find yourself dealing with an ever-changing caregiver, then I'd also recommend that you review the caregiver job description in detail with each person when they start.
Even if you do have the same caregiver, but they only come infrequently, a quick review can act as a good reminder. In that instance, it may well suffice to simply keep the written caregiver job description in a handy place so that the caregiver can review it as necessary.
How do you know what to include in a job description for a family caregiver?
The quick answer is everything.
It doesn't pay to take things for granted when you are entrusting the care of your special needs child to someone else. This is especially important for children that can't communicate for themselves.
Make note of what needs to be done, and when. Also, include what can be done and also what can't be done.
For instance, if your child has specific needs as to how food must be prepared or what utensils must be used, make sure it's recorded.
Ditto for specific limitations and what absolutely can't be done. If your child can't handle chunky food, or multiple textures, or has food allergies or sensitivities, make sure it's recorded.
And it's not just food to consider. There is drink of course, but also consider non-food issues, like clothing as well.
Are there any considerations as to type of material, restrictions as to type of fasteners or perhaps how to put the clothing on?
Any special equipment that is used, such as foot orthotics, augmentative communication device, special need toys? If so, then make note of when and how to use them.
I recommend developing a caregiver job description over the space of a week (or two) by making note of all the activities that you or another family member perform to care for your family member.
Keep a pad of paper and a pen handy throughout the day, and jot down the things you do each day - as you do them.
Also, make note of any particular bits of information that would be helpful, for instance, where to find supplies of things like extra diapers, medication, etc.
It's also helpful to provide a timeline of activities, and make note of anything that must be done at a certain time, or within a certain period. For instance, timing of medication to be administered, as well as the minimum time required between doses. A caregiver medication log is useful.
Lastly, be sure to include what to do in the case of an emergency. If you have a special need child, then chances are that there is more to it than just calling 911 (or whatever the emergency number is in your area).
I recommend that you consider a full caregiver job description, which would include the types of items above, as well as a mini summary version as well.
The summary version of the caregiver job description is what you need when you are interviewing and trying to determine whether the person is right for your situation.
Once you've done all this, you can also make things a lot easier on yourself by using a Nanny Diary. It give you a single, logical, easy to access place for all the important information noted above: meds, any allergies, feeding requirements, schedules, emergency information and much more.
Very importantly, it provides a place for your caregiver to record what went on during the time you're not there, as well as give you a spot to jot down things you want to tell your caregiver for the next time they're in.
In an emergency situation, the Nanny Diary can invaluable.
Once the caregiver is ready to take on the job of actually providing care, then the detailed version will be of help as a training tool and also as reference for the caregiver once they are on their own.
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