My friends tell me I should write a book. At times when I think I have heard everything and would have no new stories to share, the next phone call from a prospective client proves me wrong. Does my heart ever get broken? The answer is Yes. But the following story has left me the most devastated as any I have experienced in the 18 years I have owned this business.
My clients were a woman in her 90’s and her adult son. She had been an active woman who was suddenly stricken with a disease that caused her to become bedridden. Her son lived several hours away. Her wish was to remain in her independent living apartment with a 24-hour caregiver. It was becoming too much for the son to travel back and forth to supervise her situation, so he hired me to supervise his mother’s caregivers, check the mail, and address any immediate concerns with doctor appointments, food, supplies, and any other issues. Unfortunately, the non-medical home care agency that supplied the caregivers on a 24-hour basis was already in place and would not have been my choice. The agency was the “preferred” agency of the retirement community where my client resided, and my repeated appeals to replace the agency were resisted.
I have never experienced a more horrific nightmare than I did with managing our problems with this agency. The first major correction I made was addressing the fact that the agency was billing my client on a 12-hour shift basis. As a result, she was paying for two 12-hour shifts at a rate of 24 hours x $35 per hour per day = $840 per day. I had the agency convert the caregiver to Live-In status, which achieved a rate reduction to $400.00 per day. The only catch was that the caregiver had to be able to sleep uninterrupted for 8 hours a night.