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Job Qualifications Are Not Enough

Caregivers who work on shift often run into circumstances when they stay on the job beyond their appropriated time for many reasons. Sometimes the next caregiver is late because of traffic. Sometimes it’s because the client is not finished with his/her activities. How does a job description define and compensate for a caregiver’s sacrifice in a situation like this? In the many years that we operated as an agency, we have come across a pattern of behavior where sacrifice is not part of their culture. Caregivers like this often tend to become indifferent about the client’s situation as their shift ends. They simply just leave even if they are instructed specifically to wait until the next shift arrives. It’s not about priorities, although to some it may be exactly that. We have observed that to some people, sacrifice is just not in their vocabulary. The job as a home health aide or a companion caregiver is just a job, and nothing more. Having this ingredient of understanding and acting on sacrifice without much thought is something that is taken for granted by the person with this ingredient. So when he/she sees what it’s like when that ingredient is missing in other people, it’s quite shocking.

Sacrifice is when the person is ready to give up anything that may personally be more important for the sake of the client, because the call to duty is simply an inadvertent measure of one’s moral compass of the use of mercy and grace over judgment. There is no law that can be written, or any rule that can be enforced to measure this requirement. Therefore, the gap of the undefined sacrifice between the standard job qualification for a regulated home health aide and an agency in charge of thousands of cases is so big sometimes, that patients are largely ignored due to agency, caregiver, and regulatory negligence. Home health care is not and cannot be successful as a large volume business. The attention required for proper care giving starts with placing a truly capable person, not just a qualified person.

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