Archive | January, 2016

5 Tips When Hiring a Nurse/Home Health-Care Worker For Your Child With Special Needs

6 Jan

Last week while in the care of a home health-care worker Ladybug fell off her change table and hit her head on an open drawer. She had a cut on her eyebrow, bleeding nose, loosened her two front teeth and lost her ear tube.  Getting that phone call and hearing my little girl screaming in the background was by far the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.  I thank heavens our neighbour (who happens to be an ER nurse) was home when I called, and she came over to be with Ladybug until we got there.  My heart sank as I pulled up to the house and there was an ambulance in my driveway.  Aside from being in a lot of pain, Ladybug was stable enough that we were able to keep an eye on her at home that night.

The picture on the left was the day after the accident. As you can see her eye was swollen shut and there was a significant amount of bruising. The happy bright-eyed one on the right was taken this morning.  The swelling has started to subside and she is now rocking a lovely plum and goldenrod shade bruise.

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I knew I wanted to write about everything that happened that afternoon, however, I also knew I wanted to be tactful about it.  Well…to be honest…only part of me did.  The other part wanted to go on a rant about how infuriated I became every time I looked at my sweet little bugs swollen and bruised face.

I decided to enlist the advice of an experienced mama and blogger extraordinaire.  Her reply was exactly what I needed to hear – “Be pro-active and try to spare this from happening to another child.”  So here it goes. 5 tips when hiring a nurse/home health-care worker for your child with special needs.

  1. Ask a lot of questions.  When we hired our first few home health-care workers, I had a yellow legal notepad full of questions to ask.  Everything from their qualifications and experience with children, to how they would handle emergency situations.  Give them scenarios and ask them to describe what they would do.  As time went on I became a little more easy-going when new health-care workers started and never bothered with these questions.  However, given recent events I will most certainly be pulling out that trusty yellow notepad again.
  2. If possible set up a trial shift so you can watch how the potential candidate is with your child.  Keep in mind there may be some first day jitters, but it will definitely give you some insight if they’re the right fit for you and your child.
  3. Be very clear about what is required of them.  If there are certain behaviours your child might have, let the home health-care worker know exactly how YOU want them to handle these behaviours. Perhaps your child loves a certain TV show, song or story book – make sure they are aware that they may watch, sing, or read over and over again.
  4. Don’t assume that their training is adequate for the specific needs of your child. Just because they have an RN, RPN, or PSW behind their names doesn’t mean they have been trained in certain areas or have ever worked with children before.  This goes back to tip #1. If your child has significant medical needs like a regimented medications schedule, feeding tube or tracheal tube for example, ask them if they have experience in this area.  This is all very important to find out before you hire them.
  5. Most importantly GO WITH YOUR GUT INSTINCT. Don’t be afraid to tell them or the agency that it’s not going to work out. I promise you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings and it could potentially ward off any issues in the long run.  It is your right as the primary caregiver. You know your child better than anyone else, and are their first lifelong advocate – don’t ever forget that.