Caregivers and home care staff

Caregivers and home care staff

Sophie Murphy

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in October 2008. The prognosis was not very good and she was given 9 months to a year. She took it on her chin and we have been fighting ever since. It has been a journey filled with joy where we have celebrated each day, and also tears of frustration and despair at times.

In January this year 2010, my mother was hospitalised in a serious condition. We went through 2 more months of hospital stays. We were at the hospital more than at home. In March we were told that she was now terminal and did not have more than 3 months and we had to decide whether we wanted her to be in the hospital or be taken home. They could not do anymore besides offering palliative care at the hospital. My mother hated being in the hospital, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make. We had her shifted back home.

I had already hired a maushi* two months ago, she was recommended by a friend of mine. We did not have any problem with her as she was trained and had been doing this work for 5 years now. I also needed a nurse and asked the hospital if they knew of any. I was given the number of a nursing bureau in Thane. I called and had them send a nurse for the morning shift. They were prompt and had trained staff. Having said that, let me add that I changed 2 nurses before settling for the 3rd nurse, who is still with us.

There were times when I had to call the bureau for either a maushi or nurse for a day or two when the staff at home needed the day off. In all these months only one maushi has been up to the mark, most of them leave a lot to be desired. The nurses were good.

What I have figured is that there is a dearth of trained maushis as compared to nurses. Most of them claim to be trained but that is not the case. I have now got someone who stays the night and I managed to get her through my general physician, who took about a month to do so. This person has worked in hospitals for a long time now.

When you contact any bureau, you need to be very clear and specific about your requirements. Do not hesitate in asking for a replacement if you are in any way uncomfortable with the person or dissatisfied with his or her work. Take the help of your local doctor or the hospital you go to, to find home care staff. It is best to get someone through a reference. Bureaus charge a fixed daily rate payable to the staff sent, irrespective of it being for a single day or for months altogether. It works out cheaper if you get people to work on a monthly basis and for that you would have to spread the word around. Again the best bet being doctors and even nursing homes.

(Sophie’s mother passed away in October 2010.)

* Maushi – ‘Aunt‘, colloquially used as a polite form of reference to untrained caregiving staff or ‘ayah’s.


  1. Tanvi pamnani says:

    I am interested to be a volunteer.
    Please could you let me know what exactly would a volunteers role be to confirm my suitability for the same

    1. admin says:

      Thank you Tanvi, happy to hear from you. We will be emailing you shortly.

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