One of the challenges facing newer members of the world of health care is how to do so much in a limited amount of time.
To be honest, it’s something that longtime professional caregivers also deal with regularly — but at least they have more experience in knowing how long a particular procedure is expected to take or which tasks should be given a priority while others can be given less attention if there are time constraints.
The team at Accredited Home Care believes in providing plenty of training and guidance for our caregivers at all levels, whether they’ve been around for years or are non-skilled and new to our organization and perhaps health care in general.
Certainly, those with skilled positions likely have received more training, experience, and certification than the less skilled ones, but there’s still a lot for everyone to know.
At times, it can feel overwhelming when you hear all the procedures that can be made available to any particular client.
But the more you work with clients, you’ll learn that most of them only want or need some of the procedures you’re trained in, depending on their medical conditions.
So you don’t have to demonstrate knowledge of everything at every visit. You never know what services or assistance any particular client will need, so it never hurts to be familiar with as many of them as possible.
For instance, a client may ask an aide to help with light housework but still wants to make their own meals and show their independence. Or they may need help with their walking and balance but then won’t need much else until they have to get up again.
There are several different methods to figure out what needs to be done and what can be done:
- Ask for help. Managers and supervisors rarely mind going over different requirements and priorities, especially when newer employees are working with newer clients. In these situations, it’s important that everyone communicate and make sure they’re all on the same page. A good supervisor can go over the different clients that are coming up and what services or procedures they’ll generally need or want. Because our organization has several types of staff, from aides to nurses to therapists, everyone has their own specialties. As employees get more familiar with clients, it also becomes easier to know what their requirements will be.
- Make a list. If writing down a to-do list each shift helps, do that! Some people feel better if they write down their tasks for the day and check off each one as they’re completed. This could also be an opportunity to rank the daily duties in terms of items that must be done and which could be done. Crossing items off, either throughout the shift or at the end of the day, can provide a sense of self-accomplishment as well, especially if you compare the number of items on your list over time.
- Look for better tools. An employer may provide a worksheet for each client or for one’s daily duties. A regular client may also make a list of what they would like assistance with on a particular visit – maybe running some errands, maybe some laundry, maybe some help around the house.
- Use electronic methods. Because so many people struggle with staying organized and keeping on task, there are now all sorts of tools, including mobile apps. Because just about everyone carries their phones with them, it’s easy to check on your progress. Some of these programs also allow you to split your duties into bite-sized sub-tasks so you don’t feel as overwhelmed and can see all the components coming together. Plus, many have cheery tones that offer another positive pulse of good feelings when you mark a task as completed.
- Talk to your peers. Your co-workers or others in the industry will likely be happy to share their strategies for keeping up on their task list. This could include general tips on trying to keep focused or advice on working with a specific client. If you can’t speak to co-workers in person due to schedules, you may still be able to communicate with them after hours online. There may even be online forums about your particular role in health care. It’s easy for some of these to turn negative and dwell on poor managers or poor clients, but if you’re only seeking pointers to do your job better, you might find it’s easy to skip through the less constructive discussions.
- Look for ways to cut down on distractions. Home health care has some advantages that other health professions lack, specifically that you only have to focus on one client at a time rather than a whole floor, where there’s plenty going on all the time. Plus, newer employees are often accompanied by other co-workers so you can learn from watching and speaking with them. This might create some opportunities to give your full attention to the client, rather than worrying about other clients at the same time.