A lot of people with a spinal cord injury are dependent on care givers to help with the activities of daily living. It is important to be choosy on whom you allow into your home to help assist you.
I have dealt with all walks of life when it comes to caregivers, from those who call in at the last minute and are unable to fulfill their shift, to those that have stolen my jewelry, and even one who drank my alcohol while on shift. There are even those who try and train me on how and what is best for "me." You are lucky to find those who have the biggest hearts and who are there for all the right reasons. It is interesting when interviewing a potential hire, and I ask them to tell me about their experience, they always start off with the typical line, " I took care of my grandma and grandpa". I then let them know that my care is much different.
I tried my luck with agencies when I was first injured, and quickly realized that the people they would send either had no experience. or were not a good match for me. After all, this is a very personal job and I would like to be able to connect with them on aspects of my life. After years of frustration, I decided to place an ad in my local paper. This allowed me to have a phone interview to weed out the ones that would not be be available for the time slots that I needed to fill, the ones that I could not understand due to a language barrier, as well as the ones that didn't have a clue or the experience that the ad had requested. I would then schedule interviews for those I was interested in. It gave me complete power on who I allowed into my home, Don't get me wrong, this did not result in perfect hires. I waited around for hours for my scheduled interviews just to have them not show up. It is so frustrating. I started keeping a list of these people, so that the next time I ran an ad and if these people answered it (and they do), I knew not to even schedule them. I have had some good luck with posting ads on Craigslist too. After a while, you can really read people and know when you have found that special one. I have learned that they are out there, but it can be like finding a diamond in the rough. Once you find it, you cherish it, appreciate it, and take very good care of it, and it will last a very long time.
There are several websites out there to locate caregivers in your area, yet I recommend if you are newly injured and wanting to hire your own caregivers to read up on how to interview, hire, and manage your care.
Here is a link I recommend for the newly injured.
Hiring and Management of Personal Care Assistants for Individuals with SCI
a downloadable, 26-page booklet from the SCI Project at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Covers everything from locating and hiring, to training personal assistants. Includes forms, checklists and resources. (In pdf format).