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Middle of the day, aide fell asleep
Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 11:13 AM
Joined: 5/11/2022
Posts: 226

Our new aide is falling asleep sitting in a chair while mom is watching TV. I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm a very understanding person and trying to not pass any judgement but I don't think that's very professional to, especially when PWD tend to wander off. 

I'm at a loss on what to do about this. I've not been impressed with this aide so far and this isn't looking good for her either. It's still her first day with us so I'm not sure...

Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 12:56 PM
Joined: 2/27/2022
Posts: 110

I understand CatsWithHandsAreTrouble. As a daughter, I absolutely expect the aide to engage with my love one when it comes to activities including television. Understandable a powernap may be needed if working a long shift and I would try to be understandable if it's only here or there. But…..it is not very professional and if daily and all during the day I’d be concerned.
Jo C.
Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 1:46 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13474

What an unfortunate thing to have happen; sure do understand your concern.  I am sorry that you are sensing this person is not doing well.

Did you get this person from an agency or hire privately?  If an agency, are they one of the better ones that screen their people well?  Many agencies do not hire their aides as their own employees; they instead are clearing houses so to speak where aides can contact to find open jobs as they need them, but the aides are independents.  I also found out the hard way that the very, very small personally owned agencies that charged far less were WAY problematic and they did not staff competent people, there were other problem issues, and some aides I question whether they were in the country legally.  I let those sorts of tiny companies go off my list of providers very quickly as quality and dependability is so important; I did not want to compromise my LOs.

Were you able to interview this person prior to hiring?  It would be good to know what experience she has had and if said experience has been with dementia clients; also good to see if she has references from prior clients that you could contact and ask about their experience; also good to know if she has a night shift somewhere else or has other responsibilities at night or other jobs of any kind.  Some aides will work two shifts; each at a difference house with a different client; for me, not acceptable.  It is also best to have a typed list of work responsibilities and expectations rather like a job description for the aide to have a clear understanding.

In addition to your mother's care dynamics it is appropriate for light housekeeping of the clients areas to be done such as dusting and vacuuming, doing the client's laundry; changing the client's  bed sheets, bathing, dressing, grooming, fixing breakfast or lunch depending on the work hours; all of these would be part of expectations AND of course as a priority what you expect her to do in her performance as care aide for your LO.  This could be so many things including taking your mother for walks unless you are in big snow country; activities, communicating with and engaging your mother, rules for TV programs that will not upset your mother, etc., etc.

When someone sees a list of their job expectations, then they will be able to perform to that description of their duties IF they are willing. 

It would be best to speak to this person about not sleeping on the job; of course that is not acceptable and hopefully this was a one time thing.  However; from what you Posted, it sounds as though you feel this is not a good fit and fit counts for a lot.

Since you are at home when the aide is present, she may feel rather conflicted at what she is supposed to do especially if you are often in the same room as they are, this is where that job description comes in handy.  She will have to understand where you and she are separate, especially if you are still stepping in and doing things for your mother - that could cause confusion.

So hope that this person is able to work out; if not, chalk it up to a learning experience and move forward to find a more competent person who is a better fit; a good interview prior to hiring can give a feeling about said fit, however it is still not perfect.  In our case, I am a very good interviewer based on many years experience in the healthcare field and did a lot of hiring.  Yet; despite aides giving good interviews, sometimes the actual work is severely deficient; some give good interviews but perform beyond poorly.   Some people lie and say whatever they need to say to get the job and then do not work out whatsoever.  It took my changing aides several times until a wonderful person came to us; she was amazing in so many ways and remained with us for years.  My mother had FTD and soon after my step-dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  (MIL and GMIL both had Alz's.)  Busy years to say the least.)

Hiring a good aide is one thing ; keeping them is quite another, so it is good to be mindful of that and let the person know they are a valued member of your mother's care team. 

Best of luck and best wishes being sent your way,


Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 2:10 PM
Joined: 5/11/2022
Posts: 226

Thank you Olly! Good to hear from you.

Thanks Jo for always being so thorough. This person is through an agency that I've not been in contact with, my older sister does the communication between them. I'm assuming she vetted the company before going with them, I honestly have no idea. My cousin's girlfriend worked through them which is how we were introduced to the company and my Older Sister is employed through them to care for mom.

I usually run through the expectations with the aides the first time they're here and have them shadow me for the first day, then the second day I am in the other room if they need me and where mom can see me. Third day they're on their own with me checking in on occasion and helping out if they need tips with mom.

Today however I just didn't have any energy for it and told a quick overview of how the day will go. The aide jumped right in with an activity with mom and I sat in the other room and observed. She tried to get mom interested in a puzzle but gave up halfway and ended up doing the puzzle herself. Mom later went upstairs for TV and we were sitting together on the bed and the aide on a chair when she fell asleep.

She also doesn't seem to follow my instructions very well? I said how to prepare mom's lunch and she didn't follow that. Then just now I asked her to give mom six crackers and she gave her eight. I understand this is nitpicking. I'm not like trying to find fault with her. Okay, maybe I am. I'm just not a confrontational type of person and since I'm technically not the employer, OS is, I don't know what my ...rights(?) are in regards to handling the aides. 

She keeps asking me what to do whereas the others have said "can I do this? I'm going to do this, is that okay?" She also asks mom what she would like to do without giving her options and mom goes "I don't know."

Perhaps the subpar day is because I was having a subpar morning and dropped the ball. It is the first day so I'm trying to leave room for grace for everyone. The aide, if she wants, is scheduled for Saturday so maybe the second day will be better than how today is shaping up. I just don't want to be making excuses for her if she's not due any. 

I hope to talk with her before she leaves about how the day has gone. If I can speak that is.

Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 4:05 PM
Joined: 8/22/2020
Posts: 3011

Cats, two thoughts:  people who just fall asleep while sitting may have sleep apnea, diagnosed or undiagnosed.  You might inquire gently about that, it's a big problem and a big embarrassment for a lot of people.  Ditto for working too much and working night and day shifts back to back.  I agree it shouldn't happen on the job, but those are medical consideratons to bear in mind.
Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 4:22 PM
Joined: 5/11/2022
Posts: 226

Thank you so much M1. I wasn't sure what her situation was and your suggestions on what it could have been was very insightful. 

Before she left, I went outside with her and I asked her if she had a bad night, trying to be open and understanding and not judging. She said that she falls asleep while bored. I asked her if it would be beneficial to her if I got a list together for her to do while mom was watching TV. I think she took it well and laughed, saying not to add too many things. 

We were talking about our faith earlier so I think she's pretty comfortable so I don't think she'd take it the wrong way that I asked about her falling asleep. It was our first day together so hopefully all the kinks we had today can be worked out.

Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022 6:55 PM
Joined: 6/20/2021
Posts: 12

I would also be concerned if an aide was falling asleep when my LO wanders. That sounds like it could be dangerous. I agree that you shouldn't judge an aide for falling asleep but it's dangerous for the LO they are watching, as far as safety goes. So even if the aide has a medical condition that predisposes them to fall asleep on the job- I would likely get rid of that person and find someone else because I wouldn't want anything to happen to my LO.

You might want to consider telling the aide that you aren't comfortable with naps while they are with your LO. That would be a warning. And if it happens again, I would find someone else. Because the safety of your LO is the most important issue.

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