Recruiting support workers
I have Multiple Sclerosis and am dependent on a power wheelchair. I use a hoist for all my transfers. I have a service dog (who can be considered to be quite large). My current support workers cover up to 30 short shifts per week between them. A large degree of flexibility is required, as I may call on them on short notice, or may require a longer shift due to needing to be driven to a medical appointment, grocery shopping, or anything else which may pop up during the week.
I am very fortunate in that my current carers work together to help cover each other if needed. They are all incredibly flexible and we will get on very well. Due to Covid, however, I am currently dependent on one single carer for all of the shifts (the second carer works in the hospital and does not wish to mix those shifts with mine during Covid, the third carer works in a school and has now started back after the school holidays). She is very happy to do this and the ship is running very smoothly. The problem is the government mandate that she now has to have a booster vaccine. She was unsure about double vaccinating but did so for me. The booster is one step too far.
I am now in the unenviable position of needing to recruit staff to cover all the necessary shifts.
I have written a compelling advertisement.
The first problem is making sure that all necessary details are covered. During previous rounds of recruiting, it was amazing how many people seemed to ignore the requirements. A full driving license is a must, as I mentioned before I need help with transportation to appointments for grocery shopping et cetera. There are many non-drivers applying. The biggest issue I have with people not reading the advertisement properly is those applicants who are scared of dogs. As I mentioned I have a service dog. He is a golden retriever, on the larger side at that. He is the friendliest all dogs, wanting to play, be patted, thinking everybody is there just for him. There will also be times when I need the carer to directly interact with him (you can’t get much closer to a dog than when grooming one). You’d be surprised at the number of applicants who have a true phobia of dogs but still think that they can win the position of support carer for me. (To be clear, I completely understand if somebody is truly afraid of dogs. I just don’t understand why they would apply to my advertisement. It is a waste of time for both of us.)
The second problem is finding places where it will be seen. This is a common thread in many disability Facebook groups. I hope that the following list is helpful. (Some of these are free to list in, but if you have Individualised Funding, that can be used to recoup the cost when listing at other places.)
- Trade me jobs https://www.trademe.co.nz/jobs/smart/positions/new/steps/basics?is_pp=true
- Facebook (local community pages, disability groups) https://www.facebook.com/
- Student job search https://www.sjs.co.nz/login
- Indeed https://employers.indeed.com/p/post-job#post-job/intl-getting-started-new
- Neighbourly https://www.neighbourly.co.nz
- Community and supermarket notice boards
- Nearby schools (special/primary)
- University noticeboards (nursing, physio, medicine)
My third problem is time. The mandate for boosters for health and disability workers is March 1st 2022. In my experience, it usually takes around 9 months to find one support worker to cover some of the shifts; 4 weeks to cover all of these shifts seems like a very large hurdle.
Cross your fingers and toes for me - I definitely need it.