Maids for Stroke Patients – Some advice based on personal experience

Fact is, a Stroke Patient cannot remain in Hospital forever. Besides the expenses, it is better that they shift to familiar surroundings if possible so that some semblance of normal routine can return to both them as well as the other family members.

Depending upon the Stroke Survivor’s condition – and the situation of the family members- age, working or not etc. –  this may require assistance of others. In come maids and nurses – and providers for the same.

This post focuses on the maids aspect. And is primarily based upon my experience while procuring such services for my paralytic mother in the period 2006 to 2012.

You will find two kinds of maids / maid service providers. The first one offers maids on a “daily” basis – although they also insist on weekly/ fortnightly contracts. Here the maids generally come for 12 hour shifts- either daytime or night. You pay the Service Provider who in turn pays the maid.

The other Service Providers  are those who provide “live in ” maids, charging a fixed commission upfront for the same. The maids charge a monthly fee besides accommodation and food.

In 2012- the last I used such services, the Daily Maids were available for about Rs. 400/= a day while the live in ones had a salary of Rs. 7-10,000 per month. For the latter, besides, the Service providers were charging commissions of about Rs. 15-20,000/=.

One could, of course, try sourcing such maids directly. In our case, however, we were not successful and relied upon external agencies all through the six years my mother survived the stroke.

Unless you are prepared to pay a very high price – both in commissions to the Placement Agency as well as Salary to the Maid, you will quickly realize customer is NOT the king here, the Seller is. Accordingly you will have to set your expectations as well as behavior, tough as it may be. So hereunder are some broad guidelines as to how to survive this jungle.

 

1) Do NOT set your expectations too high

There are scores of so called ” Placement Agencies ” and ” Maid Service Bureaus ” in Delhi. This however, is still very much the un-organised sector. Although attempts are increasing to regulate it. Look for example at Delhi Private Placement Agencies Regulation Order 2014 .

Still the principle of ” Buyer Beware ” very much holds.

 

2) Look for prior references of the Maid Agency / Maid if you can

This is not always practical. At least I never got any references all the times I was looking for maids for my mother. The Agency / Maid will try to bypass this by saying they worked in “Calcutta” for a paralytic patient, phone number misplaced etc. This is also because the maid may not have had a ” happy” parting with the previous employer, or because she is new to the city / job but pretending to be experienced in order to negotiate a high salary. This is almost par for the course and if you can , try to negotiate a ” trial ” period with the Service Provider. Most however, would not agree to it – citing the replacement clause in their contracts which would provide you some replacements free of cost if the maid is unsatisfactory for any reason. How effective these clauses would be you would know only when the time arrives. Life.

 

 3) Look at the Contract carefully

Most Maid Agencies promise replacements – there is a business strategy behind this. The customer is presented a ‘ Mercedes”, takes her home only to see her drive out after a few days ( maybe because she is to be presented to the next prospect customer !! ) and a replacement ” Maruti” offered. And since you have already paid a hefty commission you are stuck. While it may seem harsh to compare humans with vehicles, it is a fair analogy of what actually happens.

This is a practice more common than you would think. To avoid such situations get a clear cancellation / refund clause incorporated in the contract if you can.

 

4) Explain the job in as much detail as you can to the prospective Maid

Looking after a paralytic patient is NOT the same as general household work.  A Stroke has caused not only bodily but also mental damage. The patient may not even be able to speak properly, could be highly irritable / nervous, having sleepless nights, have frequent urges to pass urine etc. The Maid should be able to handle all this with tact and sensitivity. Indeed it is critically important that the maid and the patient get along well !

In our case since my mother was bed ridden but capable of speaking the maids had a tough time coping up with incessant demands ( due a perturbed mind ) of urinating, cleaning up etc.

 

5) Be sensitive to the maids as well

Accept that you need an understanding maid. For which it is essential that  you understand her in turn. Do not expect such understanding from the Patient, although it can be a blessing if it happens. This, however, is a fine line which can easily be crossed to your/ the patient’s disadvantage.

 

6) The Maid is NOT a substitute for you/ the doctor/ nurse / physiotherapist

You are still required to offer the love and affection the patient needs – now more than ever . Also, even if you have an educated maid you will need to be careful about how/ when / how much drugs are administered since most drugs for such patients have to be given carefully.

And while the maids may claim they have experience as a nurse or in helping the patient exercise etc. , unless they can substantiate these with qualifications and experience do not entrust such jobs totally to them. They can – and should – assist the nurse or the physiotherapist etc. Some can quickly learn how to assist in such roles but many others have to be supervised carefully since they are ” learning on the job” so as to say.

 

7) DO get Police Verification  done

While many Maid Agencies claim they are doing this – and indeed many could be- you have to be sure yourself. This simple procedure can save you a LOT of problems and heartache later . Your nearest Police Station has a standard form which has to be filled in. On your own as well, keep a copy of that form, photos and two – three contactable references.

 

8) Be Careful !

While a maid for  Stroke patient will quickly become an almost indispensable part of the household, do not go overboard by showering them with gifts / hefty advances, leaving valuables around the house etc. Recognize that they – just like most humans – are open to temptations and it is better to be careful than repent later.CCTV Cameras are quite cheap nowadays and it would do no harm to install some in your home, if possible.

 

9) Try to get experience in some chores yourself

This , IMHO, helps the maid, the patient and also you to have an appreciation of what all people involved are facing. The maid also quickly recognizes that the patient ( and the family )  is not dependent only on herself. In my case, my wife, father and myself were very much involved, even to the extent of providing bedpan and cleaning up afterwards my paralytic mother. My mother hated it, but I’d like to think that somewhere- even if unconsciously – she blessed us for whatever little we could do…

 

I hope the above helps all Stroke survivors and Caregivers. What has been YOUR experience ? Any advice and recommendations you have ? Please DO comment in and help others.