How does a son, daughter, or any family member go about firing a caregiver who is incapable of managing an elderly person’s care? The very thought of terminating someone’s employment – and perhaps stopping her (or his) only means of income – is enough to put some family employers on the verge of an anxiety attack. A professional approach to giving the bad news works well; however, the best way to avoid having to fire a caregiver is to hire a capable employee in the first place, find more info.
Valid Reasons for Firing a Caregiver
The family member in charge (primary caregiver), be it a spouse, sister, brother, son or daughter, has a responsibility to the elderly patient. However difficult it may be to terminate a paid caregiver who isn’t doing her job, the first priority is always the patient’s safety and well-being. When the elderly person is unable to speak for himself (or herself), then it’s up to the family member(s) to take action.
It’s one thing when the patient and the caregiver just aren’t getting along, but shown below is a sample list of reasons to immediately fire a caregiver:
- Abuse to the elderly person, whether it’s physical mishandling, emotional torment, or verbal abuse.
- Showing up late, canceling repeatedly, or “no call no show”.
- Exploitation of the elderly person.
- Improper care or purposely not performing duties as specified in the job description.
- The caregiver takes it upon herself to perform duties or administer medical care outside the realm of experience.
- Lying and/or stealing.
How to Fire the Caregiver Who is Not Working Out
In spite of a clean background check and glowing references, sometimes a caregiver doesn’t work out. It may be tough – even embarrassing – to have to let the person go. Be firm and follow these guidelines:
- Take a direct approach. Be specific as to why the caregiver is not working out.
- Give the fired employee one week’s severance pay if possible.
- Don’t give in to begging or pleading. Allowing the person repeated chances for improvement only adds more stress to the situation.
- Maintain a professional position. If the fired employee argues, simply ask the person to leave immediately.
- Offer to give a fair (but truthful) recommendation to a future employer.
- Be prompt with any termination paperwork, including mailing the W2 tax form the following year.
Avoid Most Firing Predicaments by Hiring a Competent Caregiver Applicant
There are ways to successfully screen an applicant who wants to work with an elderly person. No one likes a stranger coming into the home because it’s usually an invasion of privacy and tends to cause a certain amount of inconvenience to everyone. However, the primary caregiver or person in charge of hiring an employee is advised to consider the benefits and disadvantages of hiring a friend or family member as a paid home caregiver. Keep in mind that it may be harder to fire a family member or friend if she doesn’t work out.
Hiring a caregiver from most any source demands specific requirements:
- Conduct a thorough background check through a local police department and the state’s Department of Children and Family Services (or equivalent state agency).
- Create a written job description that’s specific and fully detailed. Include any information regarding a trial period to see if the person works well with the elderly client.
- Consider only those applicants who fully qualify for the caregiver job.
- Conduct thorough and detailed checks from references and past employers.
- Have the caregiver demonstrate using patient equipment, such as a Hoyer lift.
- Make sure the employee fully understands her duties and responsibilities.
- Be fair to the employee by periodically giving a raise for good performance. Allow reasonable sick days and vacation time. Schedule work days/days off so the employee can plan free time.
Ask the applicant what she knows about the patient’s specific condition or disability. Why? Because it’s not a good idea to hire someone to care for a latter-stage Alzheimer’s patient if the caregiver has no clue about the disease characteristics. If the caregiver doesn’t know that clients with this type of dementia tend to wander, for example, or that the client can get physically combative when agitated, the result could be disastrous.
Caregiver Employee Lay-Offs
Unforeseen circumstances may result in an employee lay-off. The patient may have to go into the hospital for a lengthy stay, or perhaps the client’s financial situation has suddenly changed. In the event an employer has to lay off the caregiver who has done a good job, the employer should:
- Explain in reasonable detail what has caused the lay-off.
- Offer to write a fully favorable recommendation for the caregiver’s future employers.
- Give the employee as much advance notice as possible so she can begin looking for work elsewhere.
- Give a week’s severance pay.
- Offer the person the chance to be rehired if there is a change in circumstances.
The person who isn’t used to hiring and firing employees may wish to follow guidelines for interviewing applicants for the caregiver position. Observe the interaction between caregiver and client to determine if the applicant will work out. Note whether the patient is comfortable with the caregiver and if the caregiver is at ease in her position. Should it become necessary to fire a caregiver, it’s best to take a direct professional approach to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.