Even agencies who pride themselves on consistency and professionalism have blind spots; you and your staff can’t be everywhere. Here’s why it’s important to put good processes in place to learn what’s going on in your business.
While the majority of agencies have capable, professional staff and reliable, compassionate caregivers, there are always going to be a few outliers. With our research associates making thousands of phone calls every day to survey clients and caregivers about their experience, there’s bound to be some surprising calls.
We share these not to be unnecessarily negative about anything, but because they’re strong examples of incidents that can happen all too easily if you’re not careful.
Even agencies who pride themselves on consistency and professionalism have blind spots. It’s hard to keep a pulse on everything that’s happening in your business. You and your staff can’t be everywhere.
Some of these examples are extreme—and hopefully nothing of this magnitude is going on your agency. However, our experience—from surveying the clients and caregivers of thousands of agencies—is that there’s almost always more going on than you realize.
As you read these, consider whether there’s the possibility that any of these could occur in your agency. For example:
Does your screening process leave the possibility that you could hire someone who would represent your company the wrong way?
Are your office staff so busy that there might be unnecessarily long gaps in communication?
Do you have the right policies, training, and culture in place to ensure that your caregivers aren’t spending too much time on their phones?
Does your system leave room for the possibility that no-shows may go unreported?
Also, take not that not all these are negative. Positive experiences can be eye-opening too—and there are a couple in here that speak volumes about the agencies involved.
Without further ado, here are 27 eye-opening things that home care clients have told our research associates.
1. “My caregiver’s car is absolutely filthy. I don’t want her to take me places because I’m pretty sure I could catch a disease in there. I’m not sure the agency realizes how disgusting their caregivers’ cars are.”
2. “I have had to get rid of a couple caregivers. One kept falling asleep, and one came stoned out of her mind. They probably need to do better screening.”
3. (in regards to matching clients with caregivers) “Sometimes, it feels like my agency is just throwing a gummy bear at a wall to see if it sticks.”
4. “I asked for someone to [help with meal prep]. They tried a bunch of different people. Most of them could only cook hot dogs.”
5. “I had one caregiver who tried to vacuum my floor with a broom. Does the agency know who they’re hiring?”
6. “We’ve been trying to get a hold of their office for five days and they won’t return my calls.”
7. “I won’t tell you why I discontinued services with that agency because the police said I don’t have proof.”
8. “I love my caregiver. If [my agency] doesn’t take my caregiver away from me, I’m fine. If they try to take her from me, I’m going to hit them with my cane.”
9. “They kept changing my aunt’s caregivers. One of the caregivers stole a bunch of stuff from her house, including her credit cards and jewelry.”
10. “One time the caregiver suddenly said she couldn’t come the next day. She buried the key in the backyard where no one could find it. I feel like the agency should have stepped in at that point.”
11. “The caregiver said that I had to get rid of my pet because they didn’t like pets. What?”
12. “When they did an evaluation on my son, they didn’t even call me back with the results. We’re on a very different page and I don’t think the agency even realizes it.”
13. “I started looking at other agencies after the caregiver lost my mom’s teeth.”
14. “I was approved through the state to use them on Nov. 26 and I called that Friday. It took them until the end of December to get somebody into my house.”
15. “They need to instruct their caregivers not to try and get the clients to switch agencies.”
16. “When you’re dealing with a person who has dementia they need to contact me—not the person with dementia.”
17. “The first day the caregiver came he fell and fractured his neck. The third time he came, he fell again and hit the back of his head so we needed to call someone to take him to the hospital.”
18. “They are not here half of the time. Sometimes they come two days, sometimes three, and sometimes five.”
19. “The caregiver that came out was more interested in playing with her phone than with helping anyone.”
20. “I caught a caregiver sleeping while my mom roamed around the house.”
21. “I asked for one caregiver. They’ve sent me twelve different people.”
22. “One of the caregivers fell asleep in the middle of the night, and her phone was ringing off the hook while she was supposed to be watching my husband. My kids had to wake her up.”
23. (Asked how likely they are to recommend the agency to their friends) “Honey, I go out of my way to tell my friends to run for the hills.”
24. The caregivers are constantly on their cell phones. To get them to do anything, I had to put cameras in the house.
25. “At least once a week, somebody doesn’t show up. Does the agency know this?”
26. “They weren’t bad people, but they weren’t a good match. There was a disconnect between my wonderful talk with the person I spoke with initially, and the people who came to the door.”
27. “They sent me a condolence card for our loss, but it had the wrong name on it.”
Every Touchpoint with Your Agency Should Be Consistent
There’s a lot to unpack here—and it’s worth remembering that these are the outliers, not the norm. However, they do represent complaints that we hear all too often. Most of these come down to consistency. Everyone should have the same experience with your agency, regardless of how they come into contact with it.
Here’s an example of the type of question that you and your agency should constantly be considering: Do a potential client calling in to learn about services, a client who’s waiting for a new caregiver to show up, and a family member calling in for an update on their loved ones’ condition all come away with the same impression of your agency?
To read more about how you become more aware of your own agency’s blind spots, check out this case study of an agency in Texas.
And if you’re ready to start keeping a better pulse on whether anything like this could be going on in your agency, see our Capture Feedback page.
And finally: if you enjoyed this article but felt like it didn’t do enough justice to caregivers’ side of things, don’t worry—we’ll be publishing a list of Eye-Opening Quotes from Caregivers in the coming weeks.
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