Nursing Home and Private Sitter Issue

Updated on February 03, 2014
S.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ
17 answers

My dad has dementia. An employee of the nursing home doesn't think his private sitter came at all last week but she billed me for seven days. What would be a good system to ensure she really is going and staying the hour each day? I get there after dinner nearly every day so I thought about leaving a time sheet in there each day but that wouldn't prove she stayed the hour.

The private agencies all want a 3 hour minimum and he can't stay awake that long. I just wanted someone to be there, read his paper to him, and remind him I am coming at night. I was going 5 times a day but after a month I was dead tired so I am going at night.

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So What Happened?

I decided to let her go. He will have to settle for me reading the paper to him after work. Thank you.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, one way would be to get a 'nanny cam'. You get get the equipment and service from Verizon for a monthly fee.

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4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Is there a land line in his room? I would either call it when she is supposed to be there, at odd times, each time you call, or have her call you from there to give you updates.

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answers from Hartford on

You want to "make sure" your private sitter actually shows up to work? You need to get another private sitter.

If you think that you need to give her another chance because you don't want to just take the word of the nursing home, you can always do unexpected drop-ins to see for yourself. I wouldn't bother with that at this point. Just tell her that it's not working out and thank her for her time. You can't prove that she shorted you on working her hours, so you pay her that but do NOT give her severance pay unless it's in a contract. If you got her through an agency then you need to tell them what the nursing home informed you of because they need to know and they can advise you on whether she ought to be paid or not.

Then I'd find a new Home Health Care Agency that can send you a skilled health aide.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

You can get nanny cams or surveillance videos pretty cheap. You can even get some that feed to a secure online feed, so any time during the day you can log in and see what is going on in the house. It may be a good idea to do anyway, so that you can check in on your dad during random times to make sure all is going well.

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answers from Washington DC on

Is the "private sitter" someone you hired through an agency that provides these kinds of employees? Or someone you found through an individual who maybe recommended her? Is she someone you just pay in cash or someone with whom you have an actual contract either on her own or via an agency that actually employs her while you contract for her time with that agency?

If she is actually with an agency or business that provides her services to you, you definitely should have a written contract and I would get that out and call the agency to report to them what you have been told. It is not your job to spy on her with a nanny cam at the nursing home or to force her to sign some log -- her employer, the agency, should handle this. I'd be very tough with them and demand that they come up with a way to ensure she is there or simply replace her immediately.

If she is someone you found on your own you have less formal recourse.I don't have time to waste with people who are slackers and would probalby just meet with her (not in front of your dad, and not on the phone) and say flat out: "I have had a report from the nursing home that you were not seen visiting my father any day last week. This is the first I've heard of this. What do you have to say to that?" And see if she might have some real reason (maybe illness in the family, whatever). But even a reason would not excuse it, since she could have called you to explain and did not but still billed you. She might deny it like crazy and say that someone at the nursing home is lying but I'd ask her calmly, "WHY would anyone in the nursing home lie to me about this? They would gain nothing. They wouldn't get your salary. If you have not been going there, you need to come clean about it. If there was some problem or issue or illness that prevented your being there I would have understood IF you had called -- but you did not, and I was billed. Was there such an issue?"

I would believe the word of the nursing home worker, frankly. I have personally seen how some "employees" in these types of sitting jobs simply slack off, don't interact with the patient (if that's part of their purpose), spend huge chunks of time outside the room or chatting with nursing home staff or just coming late and leaving early. I know not all these workers are like this but I have seen it repeatedly and in person.

Check her out, and confront her with it, then if you feel you can't trust her any more....

Unless it is hard to get someone to do this job in your area, or she actually clicks well with your dad and you don't want to confuse him by changing sitters -- I would very seriously consider booting her and hiring a sitter only through a reputable, bonded and insured caregiver agency that does background checks, has contracts, etc. If you are already hiring her through such an agency, and you don't believe her if she says she was there, tell them so. You can't prove an absence, as the saying goes, but you can tell them that you have never had such a report before and there is no reason for the nursing home staff to lie-- they have no advantage to gain.

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answers from Chicago on

most nursing homes require you to sign in and sign out. you could check the log. but more important is that you find a "sitter" that you trust. I don't know that I could go with the word of just an employee. Employees are busy all the time and are in charge of many patients not just one so the sitter could have been there but not seen by the employee.

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answers from New York on

Get another sitter. Clearly this one isn't taking your father's care seriously.

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answers from Boston on

It disgusts me to no end how people treat our elders. I remember with my grandmother paying out a fortune to have private care to only find them not doing what they were paid to do. You are such a great daughter to be there for your dad. Our parents gave us life. They took care of us when we were sick. We need to do the same for them. God bless your father.

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answers from Chicago on

I would make a blank calendar that she needs to initial each day, ALONG WITH one of the nurses on staff.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Have her document in 15 minute increments what she did with your dad.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If it were me I would ask more questions at the nursing home. Are there sign in logs you can look at? Perhaps ask a few more nurses, aids, and care takers if they saw the sitter. Make sure you have pretty good accounts, then bring it up with the sitter directly. If indeed no one saw the sitter then you could request they sign- in and out at the front desk, or get a sign- off of some sort. If you want to give him/her the benefit of the doubt, and don't want to accuse him/her of something she did not do, then you could phrase it along the lines of, "i want you to be protected and I want to protect my father as well. So since the staff seems to think you don't show up, lets create a sign- in and out for your protection and for my dad's". Let her know you are following up.

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answers from Houston on

Hire a friend or church member that he liked. That person would love to spend time with your dad. They may balk at the pay, so give them the equivalent in a weekly restaurant gift card. Blessings.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

That might also mean she'd sign in and out all at once too.

I am not sure how I'd handle this. If he's in a nursing home why does he need an additional staff? Isn't it part of the bill for a nursing facility to provide supervision of the people that reside there?

I'd simply terminate services and expect the facility to provide the care your father needs.

My ex MIL died from Alzheimer's and she got so bad she smoked while using oxygen so they put her in an Alzheimer's ward. She was in a lock down facility that was part of a larger rehab and long term care facility.

My ex and is wife didn't have any additional staff at all, the facility provided every bit of care needed. They would have had to cover the person coming in with their insurance in case she was hurt while helping your dad.

I think all around it would be better to do this differently.
If he lives with you and you need someone to work through the day to help him with meals and bathing then use a reputable company with an RN on staff with case managers and a full staff of nurses aids and home health aids. This way they have a check and balance system to make sure their staff is doing what they're supposed to do.

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answers from Seattle on

I understand the suggestions of putting in a video cam to watch what is going on with the sitter, but since your dad is in a facility, I'm not sure it is legal. In effect, you would be video taping everyone that comes into his room without permission and I'm not sure about the legality of it all. If you got that route, I suggest you talk to the director first. Just my 2 cents.

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answers from Washington DC on

go through a reputable agency and find a sitter with great credentials and recommendations.
isn't there a sign-in sheet at the nursing home? my dad's retirement community has one and it's independent living!

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answers from Miami on

I hope you didn't pay the bill. If she was paid by a government agency, someone HAS to sign, which means she would have forged a signature. You need to make sure that you call and tell them that she didn't work. If you are paying her personally, don't pay her.



answers from Honolulu on

I would not even consider continuing her services unless she has a wonderful track record up until now and many many other redeeming qualities. If the nursing home employee told you about her absence, she might suspect other things or have other reasons to tell you this.
I would consider this theft and expect that she can generally not be trusted. Also, if she doesn't care enough about his well being to show up or tell you she can't be there, how effective is her care. Can you really trust that she is taking good care of him, including being positive, nurturing ecetera.
I would start looking for someone else. At that point, if you wanted to get a log, schedule or something else to track care, that would be a good idea.

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