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Thread: Reasonable Arrangement when Canceling Caregiving Shifts

  1. #1

    Reasonable Arrangement when Canceling Caregiving Shifts

    I am a complete C4/5 quad, and I have caregivers that assist me every morning/evening with ADLs. I pay them privately. They are great employees, so I want to make sure that I treat them well!

    A woman that I'm dating may soon learn how to get me up and how to get me to bed so that we can have more flexibility nights where we go out, and also so that we can drive and do overnight trips together.

    My first inclination would be to pay my regular caregiver for her normal shifts if there is ever an evening/weekend where I don't need her. Since I hired her for a specific set of shifts, it seems unreasonable to take away pay that she's expecting. On the other hand, it would be really nice to be able to reduce pay! Does anyone ever have some arrangement in between payiing for all shifts (regardless of whether she works it), and pay nothing? Is it reasonable to pay a partial salary for nights that I don't need her?

    I'm looking to get an understanding of how anyone else deals with these situations before I sit down and have a discussion with her.

  2. #2
    Oh yes, been there. Not easy. Number one rule unfortunately is that people when they take a job count on that pay. Just because you don't want them there a certain time doesn't mean they're not entitled to that money. If they cannot count on certain cash flow you may find yourself looking for somebody else as they will looking for a job that provides the income they were originally counting on. In the beginning, while your girlfriend is getting used to it, I would just pay them and let them have some free time. However, you need to be careful that they don't get spoiled about this. Also, eventually you cannot afford to be paying people to not be working, unless you can afford it.

    Unless and until your girlfriend makes a commitment on a regular basis, which I doubt she will for quite a while, say for this day/night or that, you cannot make any changes in your employee scheduling. If you take a vacation you will need to pay them. That is unless they want to take a vacation at the same time and of course you do not pay for their vacations.

    Be careful before you make any changes. My experience has been that once someone becomes exposed to the full experience of care the relationships can change and if you make a change prematurely, you might not only lose a girlfriend, you might also lose a good employee.

    You should also require that the training is done by one of the better employees. I had a very attractive woman taking care of me and my girlfriend at the time, who was by most people's opinion, not as attractive as my aide, suffered a massive inferiority complex, not only at her perceived lesser home care skills, but in terms of her physical appearance as well. She could not take the thought of me being alone with this person in my home, showering, etc., even though it was a professional relationship.

    So proceed slowly and make sure the relationship is solid before you make any changes. It was extremely uncomfortable when my girlfriend stayed overnight and my aide came to get me up in the morning. My girlfriend would go into another room where I had an extra bed to sleep longer. I offered to pay for her gym membership so she can go work out while I was getting up but she would not do this. She was a late sleeper and I, by virtue of my needs was not. It does take a very special person.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    When I started using PCAs I knew my schedule was going to be irregular because of me and my wife going out, etc. Also, I only need them on BP evenings. I managed to hire two people with fulltime jobs looking to supplement their meager pay. I have a third person whose husband is active military and might be transferred at any time. It has worked well for all of us. I always have backup in case the scheduled one gets sick or has need to cancel for some other reason. Remember that even if your GF takes over completely you will need a backup in case she has issues come up. This probably is not a help now but may be down the road.
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  4. #4
    In my situation I require 24/7 care which is covered by the insurance company. Therefore, if I have to cancel or change my schedule whereby my wife is covering, the aide will not get paid. The main reason is my wife gets paid as if she was an aide whenever she takes care of me. We try to give the aides as much notice as possible if their hours will cut short on a particular day or if we are going to be out of town for a couple of days. This gives them time to try and pick-up work on another case.
    DaDutchman
    C5/C6 since 2007 due to car accident

  5. #5
    Thanks for the input, especially crags.

    Firstly, I definitely do not intend for any significant other to ever take on regular hours of my care. I'm fortunate to be able to afford my care, and I've always been warned that being a caregiver for your loved one can put a strain on the romance of your relationship. This woman offered to learn my bare essential care so that we can go on overnight trips alone, so I'm really thankful for her openness and willingness to learn.

    The dilemma that crags described is exactly what had been running through my head. Surely it would be nice to pay fewer hours, but I wouldn't want to make the caregiver feel like she's missing out on hours that she was expecting. On the other hand, I wouldn't want her to get used to getting paid to skip a certain shift regularly (e.g. Saturday night), and then feel overworked when she has to start working them again.

    It sounds like the best approach is to continue paying the caregiver for any shifts that she may miss. If my girlfriend happens to do shifts semi-regularly over several weeks, I'll make sure to discuss with my caregiver that this change is in no way guaranteed to be permanent, and I expect her to still be available for her original shifts. Of course I'll give her as much notice as possible when cutting out a shift so that she feels appreciated and can make other plans.

    This is probably putting the cart before the horse anyway. We'll see how it goes!

  6. #6
    if you travel for more than a day or so, you'll need to do your bowel routine on the road

    asking your GF to do this is crossing the rubicon into new territory, be thoughtful of this

  7. #7
    Oh, for sure. I don't intend to have anyone except for my caregivers ever do my bowel routine. At least not just to go on trips. If I wanted to take her on a longer trip, I would have to suck it up and bring a caregiver.

  8. #8
    This girlfriend in in question I had got to the point where not only did she not want a third party in the house because of the lack of privacy, but she did not want to assume any of the responsibility that would give us that privacy. Basically put me in a no-win situation. I told her, hey, someone's got to do it. Left me in a no-win situation and a deteriorating relationship. As soon as I saw her ambivalence with even some responsibilities minus the bowel care, I should have realized that this relationship had no long-term potential in terms of a certain level of closeness. Still I hung in there which was a mistake before eventually cutting my losses.

    It takes a special person to deal with our issues and once a person is exposed to those issues and given a reasonable amount of time to adapt, then I feel, one needs to make a decision about what type of relationship is or is not possible with this person.

  9. #9
    Good private caregivers are hard to find. Treat them like Gold. For myself, I would give her the evening off with pay as an appreciation of what she does so well. I imagine she's the one who's going to teach your girlfriend the routine. A little bit of kindness and appreciation keeps a good CG happy and not looking for another job.

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