by Kathleen Webb of HomeWork Solutions
Are you a nanny caring for young children or a senior caregiver caring for a frail adult? Do you employ a nanny or senior caregiver? Does this caregiver know how to reach important parties in an emergency? Every caregiver should be provided with an Emergency Contacts list at the start of employment.
Consider the story of our clients Mike and Maryanne. Maryanne is an elementary school teacher. Mike is retired, and is living with early-onset dementia and diabetes. Maryanne and Mike hired a daily caregiver to keep Mike company and supervise his day while Maryanne is at work.
The caregiver’s duties include helping Mike take his medication every day at lunch. Maryanne prepares a weekly “pill box” for the caregiver. About a month after the caregiver began working, she noticed that the pill box was not in its ususal location on top of the refrigerator. She looked around the kitchen and living areas and could not find it. She knew that Mike’s diabetes medication was very important, and that he needed to take it with his meal. She asked Mike and he didn’t know where it was. She then asked Mike where she could find Maryanne’s work number to call her. As a teacher Maryanne’s cell phone is turned off during class time. Mike became agitated, he (and the caregiver) knew she taught 2nd grade but he could not remember the name of the school. The caregiver knew Mike often remembers information when prompted, and had the presence of mind to pull up a list of county elementary schools on her phone. She calmed Mike down and began reading off the names of the different schools. She worked her way about half way down the list before Mike recognized the school.
This story has a happy ending – the caregiver called the school office and was able to reach Maryanne and resolve the medication issue. The situation did, however, drive home to both Maryanne and her employee the importance of drawing up and communicating emergency contact procedures.
Maryanne called HomeWork Solutions and a team member emailed her an Emergency Contacts Worksheet. The team member also reminded Maryanne that she needed the same information about her employee – who would Maryanne call if the caregiver had an accident or medical emergency?
HomeWork Solutions works with families in all types of household employment situations and has many resources to help families in areas outside payroll processing. These included:
- How to write a nanny work agreement
- Creating a senior caregiver work agreement
- How to background screen a caregiver
- Common household payroll and legal mistakes
We welcome your phone calls. Don’t hesitate to call us at 800.626.4829 if you have a household employment question and we will do our best to connect you with the appropriate resources.