Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match!

During my many years in home care, I have been the individual responsible for matching caregivers to clients and vice versa.  I have been called a scheduler, coordinator, client service representative and even a care manager, among other titles.

In all reality, the process of coordinating care for a client can be compared to the process of a match-maker.  Identifying two individuals to live comfortably together and actually enjoy each other is not unlike a match-making service.

Even though there are scheduling systems for home care coordinators in place, there comes a moment when the heart of the individual coordinating this type of care becomes the “technology” that so many of the match-making websites use to make their perfect match as well.

The steps in making a good match include:

  • Identifying the care needs of the client which includes bathing, grooming & hygiene, ADL’s (activities of daily living), and nutrition.
  • Assess the attributes (personality) of the client including likes, dislikes, routines and preferred activities.
  • Understanding the family dynamic i.e. level of family involvement, identifying key players in the family who must be included in the care.
  • Determine the living arrangements; sometimes there is a spouse in the home or an adult child living in the home, or entire family’s cohabitating.
  • Identifying client’s choices & preferences are critical i.e. some like to be treated like a queen, others hate talkers or caregivers who hover, etc.
  • Knowing your caregivers strengths, weaknesses and skills are critical to a successful match.

The difference between scheduling an aide and “care managing” care is differentiated by creating a match, not only determining the skill required to care for the client, but also getting to know the client. This makes the difference between just placing a caregiver with a client and really trying to begin a relationship.

Sometimes, the “chemistry” is just “off” and we start anew. This process continues to be more “art” than science. I often marvel at the magic of two people from totally different cultures, ages, education and socio-economic levels who fall in love with each other.

These are the days when I just smile!

~ Tara Smith-Keeler