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HORIZON HOME CARE BLOG

What Is the Best Way to Complain?


 

Question: 

My mother has paid-caregivers on a daily basis. A few of them do things that annoy me. One aide selfishly controls what Mother watches on television. Another aide leaves food in the refrigerator for days, leaving me to decide whether or not to throw it out. Another aide folds clothes sloppily.

I admit that Mother receives good care overall, but I can't seem to get past these little annoyances. How do I complain to the aides' boss without sounding like a "nit-picking" daughter?

 

Answer:

The three issues you describe can be handled by calling the aides' employer and asking them to handle the staff members. While the issues are minor, a good supervisor would be happy to receive your feedback and take the opportunity to retrain the staff members. I know that I would do so if I received that phone call from you.

In my eyes, all three issues differ in severity level. Pressuring a patient to watch a paid caregiver's programs or controlling the clicker is, in my opinion, a violation of the patient’s rights. While that is stated rather strongly, I do feel that way. Regarding the television viewing, I would definitely verify with your mother that is what is happening. If it is as you say, a call to the aide's supervisor is in order. If you believe a subtle mention to the aide would suffice, go ahead and do that, but call if you do not feel comfortable saying something.

About the food in the refrigerator, you could simply ask the aide not to leave food in the refrigerator, for fear that it may get tossed or be forgotten and become moldy. If that does not work, let the aide's supervisor handle it.

Laundry folding is most definitely a training issue. Organizations that send caregivers into homes should make sure they know how to fold laundry neatly. Now, they may not fold the towels or other items in the exact way that you do, but if they are neatly folded you have no real complaint. If you like a special fold, simply show the aide how your family folds. I do have my favorite look and would not expect an outsider to do it my way unless I showed them how I like it. Feel free to do so if you are particular about the type of fold.

Now as for filing the complaint, take a look at the paperwork your mother was provided on the first visit. It will likely tell you who to contact. Call that person and give them an opportunity to assist you. The agency should be happy to work with you or to replace caregivers if they just are not up to your expectations. Try to be reasonable and nice about it, as that usually results in the best outcome.

I wish you the best.

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