Pushing the Envelope….

Pushing the Envelope….Let’s have some fun…and maybe win a prize!

Picture it: Cahoon Care, 2024. The caregiver, Sally, reached the end of her shift, clocked out, and said her goodbyes to the client, Mary. Sally is blissfully 10 minutes from home when her cell phone rings, and Mary is on the other end. Mary asks Sally to pick up a few groceries on her way back to Mary’s tomorrow.

  1. What TV sitcom does the phrase “Picture it” come from?
  2. How should Sally respond to Mary?
  3. Identify two things about Mary’s request that are unfair to Sally.
  4. What could Sally have done differently to prevent this from happening?
  5. Bonus Question: Who is the character who said, “Picture it…”

Email Karen@Cahooncare.com with your answers.

  • Earn 1 raffle ticket for responding.
  • Earn 1 raffle ticket for every answer.
  • Earn 5 raffle tickets for every correct answer.
  • Earn 10 bonus tickets for the name of the character who used the phrase “Picture it.”

The winning ticket will be drawn on April 1st for two movie tickets or a $30 gas card.

What are some things you have experienced with clients where boundaries were crossed or blurred? The following are some examples of pushing the envelope some of you have shared:

  1. Excessive cleaning. An important part of our job is light housework. Where is the line drawn from light housekeeping to excessive or deep cleaning? We would not typically be responsible for cleaning areas such as the garage, porch, cellar, and storage rooms. Cleaning that falls outside of standard day-to-day clean-up, such as ironing or washing the windows, windowsills, and baseboards, falls outside the category of light housekeeping.
  2. Yardwork. Another essential aspect of what we provide for our clients is companionship and ensuring they are engaged in activities that bring them joy. Where is the line drawn from hobby to landscaper? Gardening, time outside, and flowers are enough to sweeten the sourest of days. A trip to the local nursery to buy flowers and potting soil and spend some time potting plants is a lovely way to keep clients engaged in a hobby that brings them joy. Enjoying a sunny morning together and caring for the potted plants is another opportunity to engage in a fun hobby. Raking, mowing lawns, digging garden beds, or planting large shrubs are excessive.
    3. Meal planning and meal preparation. Mealtimes are a time for nutrition and enjoyment, and we all work very hard to ensure we provide a nourishing and pleasant culinary experience for our clients. Developing menus enjoyable to the client, preparing a shopping list, going to the market together so the client can select their favorite items, looking up recipes to follow for dishes we are unfamiliar with, preparation, and clean-up are all important facets of the service we provide our clients. Setting a pretty table and plating the food visually appealingly are the extra steps we put into our clients’ dining experiences with love and care. Preparing extra service for a family member who lives with the client or visits is also a service we provide. Shopping for groceries outside of work hours, food preparation for dinner or cocktail parties, serving food and beverages to multiple guests, and clean-up from a party are all considered excessive.

It may be difficult when you feel put on the spot, mainly because you are in this industry and have a heart for helping and caring – therefore, saying no may be difficult. “No” can be expressed in a kind and gentle way…and of course, passing it on to the office to reset expectations and boundaries is key. It is essential to address these issues when they occur, at the moment, not after the fact. Remember, we are always available to support, and your response to the client can be as simple as: “I’m not certain this is something I should be doing, so I’m going to double-check with the office.”

Boundaries are an essential part of our professional relationship with our clients. Have you ever felt like you were good friends with a client, and this led to the client taking advantage of you and/or you asking the client for favors? Have you ever left a client’s home feeling uneasy about some of the things they or you said or things you did for the client?

Many situations can be avoided if we establish and maintain proper boundaries. Boundaries are the limits that define our relationship with others. Boundaries are necessary and vary in different types of relationships. Boundaries define where we go, what we do, what we should do, and how close we get to people physically and emotionally. Boundaries are essential in home care when we care for others. Maintaining boundaries keeps our relationships in the proper place. They also make our jobs easier because we know what we can and cannot do. They make clients feel safer because they know what to expect from us. Boundaries are established within the confines of the contract before the client receives services.

Who is responsible for maintaining boundaries? The caregiver, not the client, is responsible for maintaining boundaries. Sometimes, it is easy to blame clients for crossing boundaries, but it is our responsibility to say no if a client asks us to do something that crosses a boundary. Tell the client you will have to check with the office because you don’t think you should do that. Some clients may have unclear boundaries and push you to cross boundaries. These clients may make “special requests;” they may say, “This time only,” or “Could you do me a favor?” They might also ask you to do something but not tell the office. Sometimes, our clients cannot understand they are crossing a boundary; sometimes, a client or family member will see how far they can push the envelope.

**ALL CLIENTS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE VULNERABLE; therefore, we are held to a high standard of conduct. Crossing boundaries in small ways may lead to crossing boundaries more often and in bigger ways. If one caregiver crosses a boundary, it will put others in an awkward situation because the client will expect the same from the next caregiver. Once you begin crossing boundaries, it is very difficult to have proper boundaries again, and it can lead to hurt feelings. Boundaries protect you and the client and decrease frustration because you and the client know what is acceptable.

When in doubt, call the office. Don’t want to be the bad guy?
Call the office. Who has your back? Your office team!