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What to Do When Your Caregiver Quits

Tips for establishing a plan of action for replacing your caregiver when they quit suddenly and the difficulties of finding a qualified caregiver in the current climate.

Over the course of twenty years as my caregiver, I’ve come to notice a few t hings. My mother

has had a revolving door of caregivers in t he past 15 years of her illness. During the early

stages of my caregiving journey with my mother, we needed a caregiver for short-term stays

when I went to work. Although my mother was still mobile with the use of a walker or rollator,

she was still a fall risk.

The need substantially increased after my mother returned home from a lengthy stay at a skilled nursing facility. This happened a few times over the span of 5-10 years. Typically, after being discharged from a hospital visit, my mother would be released to a skilled nursing facility for physical therapy before returning home.

Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease, but its advancement can be slowed with continued exercise and regular muscle use. My mother’s physical therapy proved to be quite helpful in her treatment plan. Initially, she was able to walk for small distances in the facility with her walker or rollator under the watchful eye of her therapist.

My mother enjoyed the walks and appreciated the accolades from her therapist about her

progress. Typically, before the end of her 90-day stay at the facility, my mother would be

released with an order for at-home therapy.

The first time my mother was scheduled for release from a skilled nursing facility, I did not have a team of caregivers at my disposal and I had no idea where to start the process of finding one. All I knew was that I needed to hire one quickly.

With no frame of reference or real understanding of the qualities that were important to me, I

hurriedly hired my first caregiver to watch over my mother at home while I was at work. At that time, my mother’s needs were nowhere near as advanced as they are today. She was more mobile and independent, which simplified the hiring process for me.

As her disease progressed over time, my mother’s needs increased. She required more

assistance with her routine personal care, meal prep and light laundry. Knowing this, my

mother took matters into her own hands and made a deal with Rosa, her caregiver who was

intending to leave her employer to work with us full- time. Truthfully, the hiring process was

improper and I do not recommend going about your hiring process like t his due to state and

federal labor laws. But, I will admit that bringing the care provider on full- time proved to be a

good decision and satisfied our needs for nearly a decade.

Rosa lived within 15 minutes of our home and could get to our house twice per day, every day, rain or shine...or the dead of winter. The only bad news was that Rosa refused to take a break!

Eventually, my mother ran out of money to pay Rosa, who was showing signs of burnout. My mother informed me about three months before her last check, that I would need to pick up the payments. Rosa’s monthly pay was more than $3,000 and, at that rate, it was understandable how my mother ran out of money. But picking up that tab wouldn’t prove to be very easy f or me.

I’d failed to do the appropriate elder care planning in advance, so we had no choice other than to apply for Medicaid. This lengthy process would take several months to complete and I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough time to get approved without disrupting my mother’s at-home care.

I’ll share my experience with the Medicaid application process in a separate blog, but allow me to say, this i s not a decision to make on impulse. Lesson l earned!

It was very difficult to break it to a very loyal Rosa that we had to l et her go. Since we were very happy with her service, we asked if she’d be willing o sign a contract and move to an agency that ac