20 Jun 2012
One of the most difficult things that Geriatric Care Managers have to endure is when one of their trusted San Diego Caregivers turns on them. We try not to take this personally as there are a certain number of caregivers in any home care agency who will act unethically and take the company’s elderly client “private.” It is one of the risks we have to accept that the people who we’ve trained and invested in on many levels may, given the right circumstances, decide to steal our clients and begin providing care for them on their own. There are measures put in place on the client side to discourage this but no real mechanisms on the caregiver side other than loss of job to discourage this behavior.
There are so many interesting dynamics in the caregiver/client relationship that lend themselves to an inappropriate working relationship. Indeed without diligent supervision this very close, even personal relationship can morph easily into the classic “undue influence” situation. What’s the profile? A lonely, confused elder without proper family and/or professional support becomes overly dependent on their caregiver and the caregiver responds by crossing professional boundaries. These types of caregivers usually justify this by thinking that they are the only ones that really “care,” and thus is the classic start to a potentially abusive relationship. It is usually financial abuse that ensues, not physical abuse. It is not unusual for checks to be given to the caregiver to “help” with their emergencies and family problems and then develop into more substantial agreements including getting themselves mentioned in wills etc. Though usual financial indiscretions are most common, it does escalate on occasion to something more serious and life threatening. San Diego elder abuse units could give you more details than you’d ever want to have on exactly how often this happens.
I am limiting myself in this blog only to those seemingly innocent and well intentioned caregivers who encourage their agency’s clients to hire them privately. The motivations for “going private” are clear. These caregivers can make more money without the middle man. By avoiding taxes, worker’s compensation and insurances and all the protections that bona fide home care companies provide their clients, they put themselves and their clients at risk.
Of course they never see it this way and neither do the clients or their families… until it is too late.
Our San Diego Caregivers are one of the most important aspects of our elder care services and it is heartbreaking when they betray the trust placed in them. Our caregivers are our friends, our students, our pride and joy. Often, they are our heroes. They provide the very best care in our communities and most of the times do this as humble, grateful and proud members of a dedicated elder care team.
As far as the bad apples go, what can anyone do? What you can do is report any questionable or potentially dangerous to Adult Protective Services.