Caregiving Planning Step 3: Identifying Your Caregiving Team
Identifying your caregiving team is a crucial step in putting together a realistic plan. Knowing who is available when, for how long and for which activities will reduce the pressure on your time while meeting your caregiving goals.
It can be hard to identify who can be part of the care team, as we often don't want to "impose" on others. A great tool to use to identify your care team members is the CareMapping Tool by Atlas of Caregiving I highly recommend using it. It will help to identify people you may not have considered to be part of your care team. For example, I hadn't realized that the local corner store owners, who my father visited daily, were part of my care team because they had agreed to call me if they noticed any changes in my father's abilities or activities.
Identifying your care team members is one activity, but learning how to delegate with confidence to these care team members will determine the success of your caregiving plan. Delegation requires three elements:
1. Explicit Instructions In a fast paced world it is easy to assume that everyone has the same understanding of their role and responsibilities. However, since we are all different, it is very important to clearly and concisely explain what the care team members' responsibilities are towards you and the care recipient. Make sure they have all the information and tools they need to carry out the tasks they have taken on.
2. Information to Relay Back Confidence in delegating comes with knowing when things have been done and that they have been done to your satisfaction. The care team member needs to know what information they need to relay back to you and by when. Examples of useful information include:
- When the task was completed
- Whether it was done as requested
- Whether any issues arose and how they were resolved
- If there were any costs involved
- When the next intervention is planned
Remember to also tell them how to relay this information back. Do you want it in an email, updated in an app, written in the 4ward Care Tracker, etc.
3. Regular Check-In Points It's important to schedule regular telephone, or coffee discussions with the care team member to see if they are still interested in being part of the care team, what challenges they are having, what their schedule looks like for the next period of time that you need them, etc. It's also important to make sure they understand how much you appreciate them for the services they are providing, particularly if they are volunteering their time. Don't forget to ask their input on how they think things could be done better. Getting a different perspective on issues often leads to good solutions to challenges you may have been wracking your brain to resolve.
In the end, leveraging the care team to its fullest potential comes down to your ability to comfortably delegate. If you've never done that before, then start small with tasks that are not of high value. Introduce the care team members to your care recipient and have them visit while you are there. Once you are comfortable with how they interact with the care recipient, then start leaving for a short period of time and slowly increase the length of time. After you are comfortable with how things are going in your absence, you can schedule your own personal appointments or activities during those visits and be able to attend with confidence.
Once you have your caregiving team defined, the next steps are to research each caregiving activity. The next few posts will provide advice and guidance on researching options for each of the Caregiving Life Tasks defined in the Caregiving Web. As always, if you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org