Managing Your Caregivers

For many people with spinal cord injuries, personal caregivers are one of life’s daily necessities. Finding and retaining reliable, competent, affordable caregivers can be very time-consuming and stressful. And the more care you need, the more you may find that you are running a small business with lots of employees and complicated shift schedules. Whether you need 24-hour care or only a couple of hours of help a day, you need to be able to count on caregivers to show up and do their jobs well. How do people with SCI do all this and get on with their lives? In this forum video we hear from four individuals with cervical SCIs who share their stories, tips and hard-won wisdom on the topic of personal caregivers. As with so much in the SCI world, everyone’s situation is unique, and each of our panelists has different care needs and different ways of paying for them. The link below is to a YouTube video tittled “Managing Personal Caregivers: A Panel Discussion”. This video is courtesy of Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System.

The following blog post is from Ali Ingersoll’s Quirky Quad Diaries page,

Over the years I have spoken with dozens and dozens of fellow quadriplegics who seem to share in the story of having their caregivers leave without notice, emotionally abuse them, physically abuse them, and so many other horrifying tales. If you know me or have read some of my blog posts you will know that I, too, have had more than my fair share of horrifying incidents with caregivers. This blog is not to recount what has happened to me, but rather shed some light on interesting facts I have discovered over the last month due to a recent caregiver leaving me with no notice, no phone call, no text, etc. I have learned some useful tidbits of information and also picked up on some tips & tricks for the hiring of future caregivers, which I hope will help some.

Anyway, things were going swimmingly, in my opinion, and two weeks ago after one month of employment she simply did not show up the night she was supposed to come into work. She left all of her belongings at my house and we were all completely dumbfounded. I called her multiple times, texted her, but to no avail. Naturally, my first thought was that she was in some sort of accident and was in the hospital. I was worried. Normally, when caregivers leave they take their stuff (secretly I might add) and just don’t come back. When this happens I usually just let it go because I am in such a rush to find someone new that I don’t have time or energy to follow up.

This time seemed different. The very next day I called around hospitals to see if she was injured; she was not. I took out the W9 tax form she filled out for me to look up her Social Security number and address. I called the local police department where she “claimed” to live and had a policeman go by her house to see what was going on. The local policeman called me and told me the address did not exist … Surprise, surprise! I didn’t have any other contact numbers for her.

Lesson: I now know to make sure to get several emergency contact numbers for these caregivers and make sure they are real people, and look up on Google maps that the address is indeed correct.

California law pertaining to physical and/or mental abuse of a person with a disability can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

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