How to Find Caregivers for Traveling
Many people with spinal cord injuries can freely travel, but for those who require caregivers daily, figuring out caregiving can be the most difficult part of planning a vacation when you have a spinal cord injury. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether you will bring them with or hire a caregiver in your destination. For many people, the latter is a less expensive option.
There are pros and cons to both options depending on how you will be paying for your caregivers. There is no right or wrong way; it just depends on your individual needs and what you feel comfortable with. For many, they can fly solo and meet with their caregiver once they arrive, but for others with disabilities, flying alone is too difficult. Always assess your limitations when deciding on the best type of caregiver for your vacation.
Many factors should influence this decision: Will you be paying for some of their expenses or do you need them to pay their way? Will you be flying? Do you need help transferring? Do you need help eating or setting up your food? And what kind of assistance do you need in the bathroom? All these factors will determine the type of caregiver you need for your vacation.
For many people, they feel most comfortable bringing a traveling caregiver with them so they can help with everything as they will need it, with things like packing, eating to getting on the plane. For a quadriplegic however, with severe injuries, this is the only way they can travel. But if you can do some of your cares on your own, you can find someone who resides in your destination.
Nikki Magyar, the owner of Right at Home Orlando, a home health care agency, says she consistently receives requests from people with disabilities coming to the Orlando-area and want to go on vacation. She has some important advice to offer. "When looking for a caregiver, whether short term or long term, you should look for an agency where the people working as direct employees of the company and therefore are managed and trained directly as well, as the Agency holds the workers' compensation and other liability insurance," she says.
Magyar also says, while looking for a reputable caregiver agency for a traveling caregiver, to look for a management team that is trusting and engages and trains their caregivers to do the same. "It is best to layout your expectations and wishes so the caregiver can assist you the best they can within the scope of their care," she says. Magyar adds you should plan on paying $21 to $24 an hour for a traveling caregiver.
If you hire your caregiver independently, you can sometimes register them with your home health care agency so they can bill for the hours after the vacation is completed. For some people, they will use home health care agencies that offer travel caregivers, such as Right at Home Orlando. For others, however, they find people on their own, commonly through Care.com or various Facebook caregiver groups, announcing they need a “short-term travel caregiver.”
Care.com screens all applicants so you do not have to worry about your safety as well. Also, try video chatting (Skype or Facetime) to conduct your interview with a caregiver if she/he is in your destination and not available in person. This can be a great way to quell any nerves if you’re meeting your caregiver after arriving.
Don’t let the need of caregivers hold you back from your dreams of travel in spite of having a spinal cord injury. With the right search process, you can find awesome people who love to travel (or love to show off their city) and help people at the same time.
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