Tips for your first day of a new in-home care relationship

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Posted by Rachael Tom

So you’ve found each other on Carina and confirmed a match through the interview process! Congratulations!😀 Now comes your first in-person meeting, and you may be wondering what that’s like.

One of the first things that a lot of care recipients and professionals do first is talk about the care plan, to make sure everyone understands what the case manager has recommended. 

The care plan includes information on care recipients’ health, strengths, limitations and what personal care services they need help with. It will also include instructions for the care professional. If there are differences in expectations or if something is unclear, it’s best to get in contact with the case manager right away to help clear up any misunderstandings.

Other helpful topics of conversation the first day are: 

  • Preferred name and pronouns: Take the time to learn each other’s names, how they’re pronounced and what form of their name the other person prefers. This could be a long-term relationship, and you don’t want to find out — years later — that you’ve been calling someone “Susan” who prefers to go by “Suzie”! Similarly, you want to make sure you’re correct when you refer to the other person as “he,” “she” or “they”: People’s preferences are not always obvious. There are some tips on treating differences in gender and sexual orientation with respect in this blog post
  • Family members and pets: It’s a good idea to talk about who else lives in the care recipient’s home (human or animal) and who else might drop by, just so there are no surprises.  
  • Critical medical and health information: Some of this may be on the care plan, but be sure to have a conversation about medications or doctors, so that the care professional knows where to find information if there’s an emergency. Speaking of emergencies, where can the care professional find emergency contact information? 
  • Shoes in the house: Does the care recipient prefer that care professionals remove their shoes or leave them on in the home? Sometimes, there are cultural differences or personal preferences, so it’s good to have this discussion.
  • Meal times: What time does the care recipient prefer to eat meals? Will this work with the care professional’s schedule? When will the care professional be taking meal breaks, if that’s during the time they are there?
  • Rest times: This is good to talk about, so that the care professional can plan arrival and departure times — or noisy cooking/cleaning times — that don’t interfere with the care recipient’s rest times.
  • Other care professionals: If a care recipient has multiple care professionals, it’s good for them to be able to coordinate with each other to compare notes about what’s been going on, or get in touch if they need to adjust their schedules. 
  • Best communication approach for each person: What’s the best phone number to use to get in touch? Is a text message better or a voice call? Or does the other person prefer to use email?

This is also a good time to review a care recipient’s rights — such as the right to make decisions about their own finances, healthcare, clothing and hairstyle; the right to choose, plan and change their services; and the right to have their medical, personal and financial information kept confidential, among many others. Similarly, a care professional may want to discuss their role as a mandatory reporter of suspected abuse, and what that means. 

A clear, honest conversation is the key to getting this relationship started on the right foot and ensuring that everyone involved feels comfortable, respected and listened to! ❤️ For more tips on first-time meetings, please see this post.

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