The CaregivingTool was designed to facilitate a harmonious and productive relationship between the caregiver and care recipient (and/or their care coordinator). All parties in the caregiving relationship benefit from a clear mutual understanding of the care recipient’s expectations and the caregiver’s responsibilities, whether that caregiver is a volunteer – such as a friend or family member – or paid for the work.

Anyone would be challenged managing a job that takes place in an unstructured environment without coworkers or competitors, no formal job description or training and supervision – except by a boss who is by definition of the job, ”out sick.” From a business perspective, the dynamics of caregiving would be considered a human resources nightmare, not to mention a financial sink hole. However, if common business practices are applied to the caregiving relationship, productivity will increase and time and money can be saved.

The CaregivingTool fills that managerial void providing a simple but thorough procedures manual that clearly defines what is expected of the caregiver. This tool is especially helpful for persons with PD who may be having difficulties with communicating their needs with authority. The CaregivingTool with its TaskGrid acts as a ‘silent manager’ in directing caregivers. This is an outstanding feature for those with PD requiring excessive daytime sleep, thereby eliminating the need for caregivers waking you from a sound, therapeutic nap to ask, “What do you want me to do next?”

The TaskGrid provides a checklist of tasks that may need attention on a particular shift along with a place to record when and by whom they were completed. Like any other job, caregivers, especially volunteer caregivers who give of their time, don’t mind helping but they want to know how they make a difference for the recipient. The TaskGrid portion does just that; it reminds and records what daily tasks were performed by who and when. Striking off the tasks they completed on the TaskGrid gives all caregivers a sense of accomplishment and a reason for returning.

Complimenting the TaskGrid is the Care Schedule which is a work schedule and medical planner. Just as the TaskGrid gives caregivers a daily view of the work, the Care Schedule gives them a broader perspective of how their participation fits into the care recipient’s life thus reinforcing their reason to return…they help to make a difference.

The Care Schedule was created to minimize the hurtful “NO SHOWS” that are all too common in the caregiving process, and which can devastate recipients who may already be struggling with issues of social isolation and self esteem. The Care Schedule functions as a written contract, eliminating doubt about which caregiver has agreed to a shift, and reducing the friction prompted by schedule misunderstandings. It also records “No Shows” so that the problem can be identified and remedied without issue or debate over differing memories.

The CaregivingTool also includes the Navigator, a format for organizing information specific to the care recipient’s medical regimen and daily needs. Additionally, the Navigator defines the caregiving relationship in black and white, enumerating the expectations and responsibilities of both parties, thus setting a standard of conduct and performance that can be referenced when boundaries feel encroached.

Given the inequitable dynamics of the relationship and the nature and environment of the work, caregiving is extremely vulnerable to misunderstandings and feelings of resentment. For caregiving to be a productive and satisfying relationship for all parties, concrete game rules and accountability must exist and that is what the CaregivingTool and TaskGrid provide.

Fay Mikiska is the author of the CaregivingTool and Repair & AfterCare: For Post-Op Home Recovery. Fay also created the TaskGrid and the Care Schedule forms. Fay was born in 1956, resides in Midtown Sacramento and has used her CaregivingTool daily since 2004. For more information about the CaregivingTool, please visit

Posted: 1/12/2011 6:54:38 AM by Cathy Whitlock

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