We have recently been searching for a new caregiver. This is always a daunting and nerve wracking endeavor during which I am alternately frustrated, nervous, depressed, excited, and uncertain. Each time I have to go through the process I try and figure out a better way to do it. The only thing I could think of to improve on the process this time was to add some technology – a video.
Our applicants usually have little or no experience as caregivers, some have no experience with people with developmental disabilities. The most frequent example that they give of any type of comparable experience is, “I took care of my grandmother.” And even when they do have experience as a caregiver, they don’t have experience with Lauren.
I would hate to lose a potentially competent, caring DSP because of fear of the unknown. The list of duties and caregiving responsibilities for Lauren is extensive. But, really, nothing is difficult. However, applicants often look overwhelmed by the time I lay out all of Lauren’s various needs. A lay person might not understand what doing a transfer actually means, they may have no experience feeding someone, they may think Lauren’s stander looks like some type of medieval torture device.
So, I made a very simple video. It shows doing a transfer from wheelchair to recliner, transferring and setting Lauren up in her stander, and feeding Lauren dinner. The plan was to have my laptop with me during an interview and be able to show the applicant the video in order to illustrate what their duties would be. I think it takes a lot of the “mystery” out of Lauren’s care. I think it will be a very effective tool to use the next time we have to do a caregiver search (Oh, please don’t let that be anytime soon.) Since we only had one applicant this time, I can’t really tell if their response to it would have been a deciding factor in my selection. But, I would definitely give it another try.
Our new caregiver starts on Monday, wish us luck!