The need for trained, elder care staff for home care is increasing across India. Even in small towns, people are looking for elder care attendants for home duty, and placement agencies for the same are mushrooming. Now, why is this trend gaining a foothold? Let us first understand who is an elderly person. People in the 60 plus age group are considered to be Elderly as per the definition of the word. The Global Age Watch Index of 2014 stated that of the 96 countries considered, India ranks 71st on elderly care. We have the second highest population of elderly people in the world, projected to rise to 12% of the total population by 2020. Therefore, under some definitions, we are an ‘ageing population’
While earlier joint family and at-least one person in the family being available 24*7 at home meant that the sick and elderly had someone to watch over them at all times. But, the need for livelihood and growth opportunities has forced several Indians to venture outside their family. Add to this the fact that to make ends meet, every able-bodied adult member wants to or is forced to work to add to the family income. In such a scenario, if someone in the home falls ill, or there are elderly to be taken care of in the family, what do you do? None can afford to take leave for long durations, even though taking care of the sick or elderly is part of one’s responsibility. How do we balance the two in a win-win way? One way is to hire elder care or patient care attendants as and when needed.
The arrangement involves a trained caretaker being at home to take care of the needs of the sick or elderly, in the absence of, or even in the presence of family members. Charges can range from Rs. 400 to Rs 1,500 a day, depending upon the qualification of the person, area where the person is needed, and the job role the person is required to conform to. Even the training can be of different levels. You can hire a caretaker for day shift, night shift or for a whole day. A night shift person will charge more than a day time person but is worth the spend if you have a patient who is awake often at night. These attendants can be hired for a few days or for longer periods, depending upon your need.
There are patient/elder caretakers or attendants who have completed class 12th and have received training to be bed side assistants for patients. There are now many government recognised training programs for this, including the training by DWSSC,. These caretakers are good for patients who do not need any specialized care, and rather just need someone to be around to take care of them at home. Their duties include feeding, bathing, diaper changing, giving medicine to the patient, helping the patient with exercises, and taking them out for walks etc. Often, they will also cook special meals for the patient. These caretakers can be male or female.
On the other hand, a fully trained nurse will have a degree in BSc. Nursing or something similar. They are trained to take care of specialized procedures in the absence of a doctor, in addition to giving injections, feeding through tubes, setting up drips, and any emergency medical attention. In addition, they will also do what the above attendants will do. These nurses can be male or female and are usually in demand for patients who are immobile, in coma, recuperating after surgery or are paralyzed. They will obviously charge about double the amount charged by the regular patient care staff mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Often the person employing these caretakers feels that when the patient is sleeping or resting the caretaker can help in cleaning the house, cooking etc. It is not advisable to do so. You have hired a caretaker for some specialized work. Let them do that. Imagine a situation where the patient falls while moving around or stops breathing or has an asthma attack, but no one notices because the patient care staff hired to be watching over them was in the kitchen helping you clean up or cook!
It is also advisable to ensure that you draw up a contract when you hire someone for patient care work, with details of all duties expected of the person. You can download a sample contract here. This contract will minimise reasons for conflict at a later stage.
You can get attendants and nurses through placement bureaus like Care24, Portea or Aajicare, which comes at a premium. Alternatively, you can hire trained, verified caretakers directly through online matchmaking services like Helper4U.in, which allow you to connect directly with the Job Seekers across India. In this case, you do not pay any commission on monthly salary to a third party. So this option turns out to be most cost effective and gives the best value for money.
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