ROUND-THE-CLOCK CARE – ORGANIZATION, BENEFITS, COSTS
In countries such as Germany, Austria, and Italy, families are increasingly choosing to have their loved ones in need of care supported by a caregiver from abroad. They usually live together with the mentee in the same household, helping with the preparation of meals, daily hygiene, visits to the doctor, and other activities. How to get a caregiver from Poland or Ukraine? How to hire a person legally for care? In this article, you will also find out what are the costs and expectations of caregivers from Eastern Europe.
What is round-the-clock care?
The name can be a bit misleading because no man works non-stop. In practice, it is usually from 8 to 12 hours a day. It depends, m.in, on the patient’s requirements, but also the capabilities of the family employing the caregiver, as well as the caregiver himself. Round-the-clock care is so-called because the caregiver lives with the family and is ready to help at almost any time.
Most of these family assistants are from Eastern Europe and have no medical or nursing training. Some have completed courses that facilitate daily care or rehabilitation, but this is not the norm. The demand for support from such people is increasing, but few families can afford to hire a worker from Germany. Hence, nannies from Poland are most often employed.
What does round-the-clock care at home include?
As has already been said, 24-hour care is about constant readiness to take care of the person who needs it. A supporter helps with the following:
Running a household: cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, shopping;
Personal hygiene: help with washing, bathing or showering, shaving or combing, oral care, going to the toilet, undressing, and dressing.
Help with the preparation and, if necessary, also eating meals.
Providing company – This is critical because while the family is at work, the caregiver can not only take the mentee for walks but also talk to him or organize meetings with other people. If the family has such expectations, it is important to indicate them in the documents filled out and then in the contract.
Activation – Caregivers, spending a lot of time with their charge, can take him for walks, perform uncomplicated joint activities, play games, and entertain or encourage movement.
Motivation – Due to health problems and spending time alone, the elderly withdraw from life. However, the company of the caregiver and his commitment often make the charges come out of stagnation and regain the will to live.
Important: Caregivers who do not have a medical license cannot perform activities such as giving injections, measuring blood pressure, wearing compression stockings, or administering medication themselves unless they receive it in a special binder prepared at the pharmacy. Only a professional nurse can administer medication on their own. Only a doctor can prescribe medical care, as well as prescribe medication.
As part of activation and motivation, there are many activities that caregivers can do together with their charges:
mutual telling of life stories, conversations about books read or films watched,
excursions and walks on foot or with a pram (of course, depending on the state of health),
car rides and sightseeing,
playing board games or cards,
performing household activities – encouraging the elderly person to participate,
light garden or household work, Visiting friends
joint visits to the hairdresser, tailor, or beautician.
It should be remembered that the above activities depend on at least two factors: the state of health of the elderly person – his fitness and limitations, and the skills and qualifications of the caregiver. Both should be specified at the stage of talks with the Care Agency by filling out the appropriate form. Many caregivers already know German at a communicative level, and the skills and talents of some turn out to be a real treasure.
The most important benefit of 24-hour care is that there is no need to place a family member in a nursing home. He can still maintain a large degree of independence while staying in his flat and surrounded by loved ones. This is critical, for example, at the beginning of dementia, but also for general psychological comfort. What’s more, in an emergency, such a person can count on the support of a caregiver at night.
Choosing a care agency and a caregiver
The family has several options to provide the senior with round-the-clock care. They differ in the type of contract, the scope of responsibilities for the family, price, and risk.
Local Care Agency 24
The family can contact their local Care Agency. A representative of the company will conduct an interview and then the family details will be forwarded to the partner Care Agency abroad, which deals with the recruitment of caregivers. Very often these are companies from Poland that propose appropriate caregivers, organize travel, and settle accounts with the family. Both companies are responsible for the correct implementation of the care service. The advantage of this solution is the possibility of a personal meeting with a representative of the local Care Agency. The disadvantage, however, is the division of responsibility into companies.
In practice, it is often the case that the Polish side does not interview the family, and the German side does not recruit a caregiver. In most cases, both Agencies do a reliable job and everything goes well. An additional disadvantage is the remuneration for both companies, which translates into a higher offer for the family.
Care services without intermediaries
A family representative can find a company that deals with acquiring families and recruiting caregivers. In this case, one company organizes the whole process. It can be an agency with branches in several countries or employing staff from several countries. The advantages of such a solution are the faster circulation of information, contact with one caregiver, and possibly lower care prices. The disadvantage of this solution may be difficult access to a live meeting. To ensure the quality of service, it is good for a representative of the company to visit seniors and see the conditions in which the caregiver will work.
Employing a caregiver for an elderly person directly
Another alternative is for the family to employ a caregiver directly. This solution is significantly different from the two previous ones.
The advantages of this solution are direct contact with the caregiver before arrival, a lower price, and an independent search for a guardian on the Internet until the right person is found. The disadvantages are a significant amount of work to be done for the family, administrative duties such as insurance and taxes, organization of caregiver journeys, and independent search for the right person. In addition, there is a risk that the found person will not comply with the contract. During periods when there is a shortage of caregivers on the market, it may turn out that it will not be possible to find a caregiver and the family will be left alone with it.
As a citizen of the EU Member States, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, a caregiver can work, for example, in Germany without a permit. However, he must have the so-called “Blue Insurance Card” (EHIC), i.e. a document confirming the validity of health insurance. To employ a caregiver directly by the family, you should check the current requirements in the relevant country.
Caring for the elderly is a responsible task that requires not only knowledge and skills but also specific predispositions. The caregiver acts as both physical and emotional support, so he must have the right character traits and skills. It is worth adding that he spends most of his time in the same house with the senior. Below, we discuss the most important predispositions of the caregiver of an elderly person.
Empathy and tenderness
Caregivers for the elderly should be empathetic. The ability to understand and identify with the emotions of a senior is crucial in establishing a relationship based on trust.
Patience and forbearance
Patience is essential when working with older people who may require more time to perform daily activities. Understanding possible mood swings or repetitive questions is equally important.
Understanding individual needs
The caregiver must be able to adapt to the individual needs and preferences of the senior. The ability to read not only words but also non-verbal signals will allow him to provide support tailored to a specific person.
Patience in communication
Seniors may have difficulty communicating due to health problems such as dementia. The caregiver must be ready to repeat information and communicate in a way that the senior can understand.
Ability to organize
Planning and organization are key in providing care. Therefore, the caregiver should be able to manage the senior’s time and responsibilities to properly take care of his needs and well-being.
Ability to cope with stressful situations
Caregivers often face unforeseen situations. The ability to remain calm and react effectively in stressful moments is essential.
Medical knowledge and first aid
Having basic medical knowledge and first aid skills can be very useful, especially in emergencies.
Discretion and respect for privacy
The caregiver must respect the privacy and intimacy of the senior. The ability to be discreet is key to building trust.
Ability to motivate
The caregiver should be able to motivate the senior to engage in physical, social, or mental activities that will help maintain health and a sense of comfort.
Good communication not only with the senior but also with family and other caregivers, is essential to ensure consistent and effective care.
Where to look for care services?
It is most convenient to search the portal with currently available caregivers of the elderly. The search will allow you to find matching people. The profiles contain the most important information along with the registration form and contact details for the Care Agency.
If you have less time to search, you can subscribe to the newsletter to receive new caregiver profiles that match our guidelines.
Profiles of families looking for caregivers are available on the Hrily portal. It’s a good idea to use filtering to narrow your results. Family profiles include the basic requirements of the family, the number of people to be cared for along with their requirements, and a description of the environment in which the caregiver will stay. Job offers have registration forms that can be used to apply for specific offers.
Caregivers can subscribe to the newsletter, which will be sent when a matching offer appears.
From which countries are round-the-clock caregivers sourced?
People employed for 24-hour care come from different parts of Europe. It happens that these are Balkan countries, but most of them come from Eastern Europe – most often from Poland, Ukraine, and Romania. When employing such people, it should be remembered that they owe their knowledge and skills mainly to a culture in which taking care of older family members is dictated by tradition and social conditions. Therefore, although they are excellent, conscientious employees, they usually do not have education in nursing or medicine. Nevertheless, quite often it happens that they have completed courses organized by care agencies from Germany and Poland, or labor offices, which significantly increase their qualifications.
Activities of nurses and caregivers
Round-the-clock caregivers primarily care about the quality of life of the people they care for, and therefore take care of the household by keeping it clean. Similarly, she takes care of the mentee, supporting him in everyday activities, including maintaining hygiene, shopping, preparing meals, and if necessary, eating meals.
Nurses usually work up to 2 hours at the patient’s premises, performing tasks related to their profession, which according to the law cannot be done by a round-the-clock caregiver. These are primarily: preparing medicines, making injections, changing dressings on open wounds, and checking blood sugar levels.
24 h Care FAQ
From whom is round-the-clock care for?
24-hour care is intended for families who need help in everyday life and for people whose relatives cannot provide additional support. This may be due to a lack of qualifications, sometimes an unwillingness to perform various activities, especially personal ones.
Most often, however, round-the-clock care is used as a support due to the large distance separating the person who needs it from relatives. Another case of involving outsiders is professional situations – few people can reconcile work and care. Then employing a caregiver is the most advantageous solution, both in terms of meeting the needs of the mentee and financially.
Can you not count on the help of qualified nurses? Well, you can, but in the medical field, i.e. home visits, measuring blood pressure, dispensing medicines, changing dressings, or making injections. Unfortunately, professional medical staff will not take the patient for a walk, cook him dinner, and will not spend more time than his work allows.
In what cases is round-the-clock care most often used?
In general, 24-hour care works wherever an elderly or sick person cannot take care of themselves in terms of basic activities such as hygiene, dressing, movement, etc. The most common cases of indisposition include:
-Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
-Failure after stroke
-Period during and after rehabilitation
-Crisis – e.g. after the loss of a loved one, loneliness
-Physical disability resulting from an accident
-any diseases resulting from old age.
How is 24-hour care organized?
For clients from Western Europe, it is critical that it is safe to employ a caregiver because they welcome strangers under their roof. They often provide him not only with a house but also with vehicles. And finally, they entrust their loved ones, often very deteriorating in health.
The second issue is the issue of legal employment, which is important, both for families from Germany or Austria and for the carers themselves. Here, the law of the European Union, which allows the free movement of work between its member countries, is of great importance. Unfortunately, it is not always interpreted in the same way, and for employment to be legal, many obligations must be met, especially for the employer.
Therefore, German families most often use reputable Care Agencies, which take over the duties not only in terms of obtaining a suitable round-the-clock caregiver but also in dealing with formal and legal matters. These include, but are not limited to:
-Establishing the legal framework for cooperation between the parties
-the scope of work and responsibilities of the caregiver
-the amount and forms of remuneration
-who pays the tutor’s fees in Germany
-preferences and privileges of the caregiver (e.g. spare time)
How do German agencies acquire caregivers from Poland?
Professional companies involved in organizing round-the-clock care also use the care agency, but they reach for sources on the eastern side of the border. This is the easiest and most legal way to get proven caregivers. Having and maintaining constant contact with proven partners, they gain access to hundreds of candidates. In addition, they can offer their customers the highest level of care, as well as smooth and efficient service delivery. This is possible thanks to the methodology described below.
First, they search for reliable Care Agencies in Poland
For the countries of Western Europe, Poland is a country which, due to its location, is a source from which employees can be obtained, including carers of the elderly. Thanks to this, it provides probably the widest offer in Europe. Hence, various Care Agencies were established here, sometimes 1-2 person micro companies, and sometimes entire corporations. The choice of one or the other has its consequences, but for customers from Germany, reliability and safety are the most important things.
How do German companies check the reliability of the Polish care agency?
-They check credibility – often by phone or less often in person, they make contacts and conduct interviews.
-They check experience – it is known that the longer the company has been operating in the round-the-clock care market, the greater the chance that it will continue to provide its services
-They check reliability – this is most easily confirmed by their certificates, such as the Hrily quality certificate.
-They examine the quality of cooperation – for clients from the West, it is common to use various systems that organize work in the Care Agency. This is easy to recognize even by the registration forms provided, the quality of generated documents, or the speed of answers to various questions.
-They check customer satisfaction – if a family from Germany engages a babysitter provided by the Polish Care Agency and is satisfied, they give them a positive opinion, and thus the company employs them. The more such recommendations, the better.
-They check the satisfaction of caregivers – this can be easily tracked on online forums or social media. Of course, it is easier to find negative opinions that are warnings than positive ones. However, there is no shortage of these.
-They want to know what the organizational structure of the partner Care Agency looks like – the appropriate structure allows for efficient and effective performance of duties. This, in turn, translates into the satisfaction of families and caregivers, which in turn allows seniors to enjoy care at an appropriate level that is tailored to their needs.
-Whether the Care Agency guarantees the protection of personal data – this is a fundamental issue. Properly managed companies can take care of all aspects of their work. Including compliance with the principles of the GDPR.
What do German agencies pay attention to when it comes to recruiting caregivers?
Where and what announcements do their partners from the East publish
Recruitment of caregivers is carried out on social media, during local events, and on advertising portals. For example, the Hrily portal updates automatically, which means that caregivers have current job offers.
Do they allow easy registration?
Modern Care Agencies use appropriate tools that enable the automatic publication of job offers on the Internet. In addition, caregivers have registration forms at their disposal, which contain appropriate fields.
What conditions do they offer caregivers?
Caregivers are employed under a variety of conditions. Most countries have separate regulations in this area, and they are also changing. Honest Care Agencies provide reliable information about working conditions and contract conditions.
Do they meet the requirements of the GDPR?
Care Agencies can comply with GDPR guidelines through the development of appropriate care programs, e.g. Hrily. Unfortunately, many companies still use the wrong tools for this. Examples include spreadsheets or contact with caregivers and families via social media, which prevent full compliance with the GDPR recommendations.
How they select clients and caregivers
This is probably the most important determinant for the family, as well as a guarantee of optimal conditions for the caregiver. The market leaders of Care Agencies no longer do this manually but use systems that do it in an almost perfect and completely automatic way. Thanks to this, they can compare dozens or hundreds of requirements set by the family towards the caregiver with the experience, qualifications, and expectations of such a person.
Do care agencies ensure the protection of personal data?
This is one of the most important elements because EU law imposes an obligation on companies to protect personal data. For the Care Agency, this is a critical challenge because clients entrusting them with their loved ones, provide information about health and diseases, which are sensitive data. On the other hand, they also have thousands of data on candidates for caregivers. Therefore, reliable care agencies can guarantee their protection if they have a tight information circulation system, a properly secured server on which they are stored, or, finally, a quality certificate.
What is the notice period for a round-the-clock caregiver’s contract?
The 24-hour notice period usually ranges from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the contract. When addressing this issue, it should be remembered that it can become a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it guarantees the possibility of early resignation from a given caregiver if an event has occurred that is a prerequisite for this, e.g. the need for a long hospitalization of the patient. On the other hand, it ensures continuity of care, e.g. if a random event concerns a caregiver and a new one needs to be obtained.
Care agencies from Germany often cooperate with several companies from Eastern Europe. This is to assure their clients that in the event of an accident or dissatisfaction with the cooperation, they will be able to change the caregiver or supplier. In addition, they use probationary periods, especially in cases where the client is not fully convinced that the client will be able to stay with a stranger for a very long time.
What are the costs of round-the-clock care?
As with other industries, in the case of 24-hour care, the costs of care vary depending on many factors. The most important are:
Individual customer requirements:
-Professional qualifications of the caregiver
-Level of care language
-Scope of work
-Documenting experience in caring for the elderly or disabled
-Individual conditions offered to the caregiver
Due to the above parameters and the minimum wage, e.g. in Germany, such a cost ranges from 2400 euros to 3500 euros. Determining a specific and satisfactory rate for all parties helps to clarify expectations and obligations as much as possible. Currently, it is becoming easier and easier because companies use professional systems for Care Agencies, allowing them to analyze and estimate many costs, deductions, and additions, and then present a fair offer.