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When caregivers breach your trust

April 18, 2011
by Kathleen Mears
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A few months ago I began searching for someone local to help drive me, run errands, and aid in other miscellaneous excursions. I preferred someone with healthcare experience so I sought referrals from an agency representative, who then gave me a name and an email address of an independent provider who was certified to care for Medicaid home health clients.

I was doubtful but emailed Deana (pseudonym) anyways describing the services I wanted. She answered and requested an interview, during which she did most of the talking. Deana said she had more than 15 years’ experience as a nurse aide and had done home health for awhile. At the time she worked part-time for a Medicaid home health client on weekends. I knew that Medicaid paid more than I would, and I wondered how long she would work for me if she found other clients.

Deana is 50, which I thought was a good age. She said her part-time job was 20 miles away and that she needed to get other clients to support herself. She also said most Medicaid clients were not local. I told her I would need only eight hours a week, unless something unusual happened, but she felt I needed to give her more.

She wanted to come each evening, bring me dinner, do a few tasks, and then leave. When I told her that was not what I wanted, she was not pleased. On our first outing she said the nursing home was not for me and that I needed to rent an apartment with her. She would work and supervise my care. I told her I was not interested in moving into the community, and I was surprised she would suggest that when we hardly knew each other.

Each day she worked she asked how long I would need her, even though I had told her eight hours. She asked because she wanted me to write her a check to cash before the bank closed. I had never written a check for a hired hand to cash during the day they worked, but I realized if I prepaid her and let her cash the check while we were out, my day was much more pleasant.

I became concerned because she needed money so badly. When she told me how much she cared for me and talked about what we could do, she acted like I was “the goose that laid the golden egg.”

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At times Deana or her boyfriend Scott (pseudonym) stopped in at the facility unannounced. Since Scott did not have a job, he called wanting to wash and detail my van or do other maintenance tasks to earn money. Scott said he would charge less than a detailer or garage, but In order for him to work on my van, I had to write him a check for the oil or any parts and a separate check for the labor. He also wanted both checks before he did any work. I did not like this but I let him do it. While he had my van he swept it out without asking and said I owed him $80. I gave him $30 and told him not to do anything unless I authorized it.

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These people are nothing but users and should be prosecuted for theft.

Please report her to your local ombudsman. There are plenty of decent caregivers out there so let's get rid of the crappy ones.

An Update

I reported to the agency that referred my former caregiver that she charged unauthorized purchases on my credit card. They requested that I give them information and then contact the police.

After an interview with a police officer he talked to my former caregiver and returned with a money order for the amount that she had charged.

I do not know if what she has done will effect her ability to care for Medicaid home health clients.

But anyone who has concerns with a caregiver should definitely tell someone about them.

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...