As a private duty home health care professional have you ever had a client try and negotiate his or her favorite caregiver’s personal phone number from you? Generally I hate to describe a client’s behavior that way but sometimes it can be spot on. We understand. But what about the caregiver and his/ her privacy?
Working in home health you have probably encountered this problem once or twice. A client becomes attached to their caregiver and wants more. They can literally try to force that information out of you by using all means available to them. I’ve had clients pitch tantrums, I’ve been told the agency is a pain in the you know what, and I’ve had clients claim the caregiver misplaced household items as a ruse to get ahold of them at home. You know the drill. The trouble is, as a professional you must ensure that the line between caregiver, read “employee”, and “friend” does not become blurred.
I recommend the following:
– Keep your caregiver’s personal information private. By now we in healthcare are all familiar with H.I.P.A.A. but your client may not be. Explain your HIPAA policy to your client and point to where they can find a copy of that document.
– Re-Direct by getting to the root of the request. Solving the clients current problem alleviates their need to get ahold of the caregiver at a time when the caregiver is not at work.
– Contact the caregiver for your client and offer to call them back with the information they feel they urgently must have, giving a specific time frame when they should expect your call. CALL THEM BACK within that time frame even if you cannot get ahold of the caregiver.
– Recruit the clients family members, trust officer and/or power of attorney to your side so that they can help you explain why the personal phone number of their favorite caregiver cannot be shared. Enlisting the help of the people closest to your client will greatly affect whether they are satisfied with your service and accept your answer.
– Always be positive and courteous even when you are being told off for not providing the information you know you cannot give. Positivity is the greatest form of persuasion.
For more on Bright Day Home Healthcare, see www.brightdayhomehealth.com