The Ideal Caregiver

BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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If you've had an incredible caregiver before, what are some traits in one that someone who recently sustained SCI should look for (if they get to hand-pick their own)? Certifications, personality traits, and any other factors that you think are relevant to a positive caregiving experience are welcome!

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  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 280Moderator Moderator
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    Hello! Here is some perspective coming from the Wife/Girlfriend of a man with SCI in regards to your question about the ideal caregiver. 

    If I were searching for someone for my partner, we would look for the following characteristics 
    • Longevity at last agency OR the time they spent in their previous caregiving role. This is so important to us because I would never want my husband to have someone caring for him who had a high turnover at their previous positions. I would look for someone who spent a decent amount of time at the same company - at least 2 years in one place or in one role. That tells you they are dedicated, want security and haven't had any major issues.
    • I would definitely search for someone with a medical background as a certified care aid, especially if you're a higher level injury. You want someone who has been trained specifically to assist someone with a spinal cord injury, and has the certificates or license to show for it. This also shows that the person is committed to care, as they would have paid for schooling which shows they're serious. You don't necessarily need an LPN or RN.. there are many certifications for care aids that have hands on training but are not nurses.
    • Women who are care aids but also have their own children are usually best in my experience. They know what its like to have someone depend on you who can be helpless at times. That being said, having a man in this role can be great especially for the patient who requires their care aid to be able to help them transfer often, or are larger individuals that are heavier. We have gone through some care aids who are physically too small or not strong enough so this is a factor as well. It all depends on your personal care needs
    • I would search for someone who wants to help out in other aspects of care that aren't just limited to medical and routine needs. Someone to help with household chores like folding clothes, putting things away, and light cleaning. Someone that wouldn't mind with food preparation as well is an asset - you want someone who is a self starter who doesn't mind having tasks that are outside of their general duties and who will help you with them when they are not doing something else. We have had care aids who just sit around reading when they could be helping you do other things around the house. Its important to ask applicants for this up front, because most wont expect to do these things unless they're asked. If you find someone who is willing to help you with this, they're probably a keeper :)
    • Hire someone who is physically strong. You want someone to be able to help lift him if needed, as sometimes falls happen unexpectedly. You also need to be strong to be able to use a sling and help transfer.
    • Make sure their personality meshes with your partners (the patient) and that they get along. You want someone that will be personable and friendly, but also understand how to roll with the punches and deal with issues in a friendly way. 
    Good luck in your search - this is definitely a process but waiting for the right one who fits with what YOU need is essential. One size does not fit all when it comes to this.

    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 169Moderator Moderator
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    Thanks so much for this awesome reply, @WAGSofSCI! Based on my brother's experiences with caregivers, these points all ring true. It's too bad his two best caregivers eventually had to move on, especially because he's had so many who don't go beyond the general tasks and end up reading or something other than helping with light cleaning and other needs. I hope someone looking for a caregiver finds this post...your answer is so helpful! I love the WAGS of SCI Instagram, by the way :)
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 280Moderator Moderator
    100 Likes 100 Comments 25 Awesomes First Answer

    Thank you! 
    Yes, it can be tricky to find the "right fit" when it comes to caregivers and yes, the process can be long but they are out there! Just keep at it!
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
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