Protecting the Professional Caregiver from Being Sued
The relationship that is forged between a caregiver and an elder is a special one. On one hand, you have someone who may no longer be able to perform a variety of the tasks of daily living; on the other, you have someone who has devoted his or her life to caregiving (if we’re talking about caregivers in the professional sense). Together, they form a sort of symbiotic relationship, if you will—meaning that one needs the other to function. Without the caregiver, the elder may not be able to live as full a life as he or she could, and without the elder, the caregiver doesn’t have a job to do.
How do you protect the professional caregiver and keep him or her from being sued? Thankfully, the answer is simple: you build a bond of trust. This is the most effective way to ensure that those types of instances don’t come into play. Like any other relationship, the bond between a caregiver and elder is strengthened with time, especially as the elder comes to see the caregiver as someone that he or she can trust. The caregiver is not only someone who can help the elder with the tasks of daily living or other activities, the caregiver can also become a trusted friend and confidant.
Caregivers should work not only toward bettering a patient’s physical life, but also their social one. Give the elder someone to talk with whenever you’re doing things around the house. They will be grateful that they have someone to talk with, and you can enrich your life by listening to the stories they have to share.
Again, when we think of protecting a caregiver, our minds do not have to immediately race toward images of legal battles or anything of the sort. The best protection we can give ourselves (or others) as caregivers is, as we said, to form a bond of trust between caregiver and elder. Remember that the elder is likely very lonely (either due to some sort of physical ailment or because of an event that has occurred in the life—for instance, death of a spouse). In that example, simply providing the elder with someone to chat with or to accompany him or her throughout the day will not only work to slowly fill the void left behind by their loved one, but it can also give the caregiver a renewed sense of duty and purpose, and enrich their life as well.
In the end, remember that it’s all about relationships. By forging and strengthening the bond between elder and caregiver, you can be sure that the experience is best for all involved.