As a parent or loved one of a person with a developmental disability, making sure they receive proper care is one of your top priorities. Here are eight questions that you should be sure to ask during your next interview:
1. Ask: What is your experience with my loved one’s disability? While having experience with a particular disability doesn't mean that a potential attendant will be a good fit, it is a great place to start. For example, if your child has Autism, a person who has experience may be used to repetition, using picture communication, or sign language. Ask if he or she has experience with your loved one's disability and how they respond to the different circumstances. Ask what accomplishments and challenges they have experienced.
2. Describe: What is a typical day like? Giving a potential attendant an idea of what he or she could be doing during a typical shift will help you lay out expectations for an attendant to perform. Knowing what type of schedule, what job activities and skills he or she will be expected to perform will help you determine if the potential attendant may be a good fit.
3. Ask: Are you comfortable with helping my loved one eat, shower & get dressed? If your loved one requires assistance with daily living skills, you will need to make sure any caretaker is able and willing to perform these tasks. Some people may feel uncomfortable with helping someone clean after using the toilet, or assisting a person with a shower or bath. If these tasks are something your loved one needs, and skills are required, make sure the attendant is comfortable performing them.
4. Share: Your expectations. Nothing makes for a well-prepared employee more than someone who knows what is expected of him or her. If an employee does not know what you expect of them, it is difficult for them to meet those goals. Write an accurate job description, or even a mission statement that includes what you expect. This will give you both a point of reference and ensure you are working toward the same goals.
5. Describe: Any behaviors that your loved one may exhibit. Preparing an attendant for any challenging behaviors they may experience will certainly assist any potential attendant. Many times, if an attendant is caught off-guard, he or she may be concerned they instigated a behavior, or may not feel comfortable in a challenging behavior. Your best bet is to share, regardless of how you think the attendant will react. You may wish to share interventions, behavioral support plans or more with an attendant so they are able to respond quickly, confidently and in the same manner as at home or school.
6. Share: Your goals & the goals of your loved one. Everyone has goals! You and your loved one are no different! Share what goals you have for the attendant in providing care. Do you wish for your loved one to be more independent? Learn new skills? Set your goals and expectations high! Come up with a plan and steps to see if your loved one is reaching his or her goals. Be sure to include these goals in a yearly evaluation with the attendant.
7. Ask: Are you 18, eligible to work in the United States, and have not been convicted of any barrier crimes? These are non-negotiable requirements that need to be met in order to be paid through any of Virginia's Medicaid Waiver programs. Additionally, if you will be hiring an attendant for a child, you will need to make sure that any potential attendant is able to pass the Department of Social Services Child Abuse Registry Search.
8. Share: Pay rate and number of hours you have available for an attendant to work. Many potential attendants are looking for part-time employment and do not require benefits. That is not the case for all potential attendants though. You will need to share exactly how much an attendant will be paid through the waiver, and how many hours they are able to provide support. Additionally, you should share if the hours will be solely for them or if the hours will be split between several attendants. Remember that the pay rate is non-negotiable and cannot be supplemented.
Do you have any questions that should be included on this list? Drop your suggestions in the comments below!