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Caregivers play an integral role in their clients’ lives, allowing many clients to successfully age in place, in their homes. When hiring caregivers, people are often focused on their professional skills and qualifications. These skills are undeniably important. However, equally, if not more important, is the personal relationship between the caregiver and the client. Unfortunately, not a lot of research has been done here, and more research is needed on this topic. Traditionally, research has focused on family caregivers and the challenges that this poses. Below, we’re going to share 5 steps towards building a strong and successful client-caregiver relationship.
#1 Relationships Are a Balancing Act
Relationships, including those with your caregiver, are a careful balancing act between transparency and privacy. Knowing more about your caregiver, their backgrounds, and their interests may help you develop confidence in the care that they provide and the decisions that they make. However, some caregivers could find some questions intrusive, and they may be uncomfortable about some questions invading their privacy.
In addition, caregivers need to remember the same guidelines. They should also respect their clients’ privacy, and, under no circumstances should they share personal information about a client with others.
Some topics of conversation should likely be avoided. For example, politics, religion, and personal finance, as well as questions about sexuality and dating. On the other hand, questions about sports, hobbies, and travel can help develop a bond between the caregiver and the client.
#2 Explain the Role from the Beginning
Often relationships break down over misunderstandings. The best way to avoid these misunderstandings is to be upfront from the beginning. Different caregiving assignments can have dramatically different tasks. Thus, it is essential that the client and/or his/her family clearly articulate what they expect from their caregivers. Specific tasks should be spelled out, as well as how the client wants these tasks to be performed.
It is also important that the caregiver raises questions if tasks are not clear or new duties are assigned after the caregiver starts the job. These conversations can help nip frustration in the bud.
Sometimes though, frustrations cannot be successfully avoided at early stages. If problems persist, it may be necessary to involve the caregiver’s agency to either mediate the dispute or to find another caregiver.
#3 Trust Your Caregiver
Trust is another critical aspect of building a successful relationship, and part of trust is not micromanaging your caregiver. Often, clients and their families have never been in the position of needing a caregiver before. This often makes people feel vulnerable, and human nature often reacts to vulnerability with a desire to micromanage situations. However, micromanaging is very frustrating for caregivers, and frustration may make them leave their role.
Even when it is hard, it is vital to take a step back and breathe. Trust the process that you went through to interview and find the most qualified caregiver to be a part of your family.
#4 Patience Is Critical
Patience is critical to any caregiver-client relationship. It is important to remember that patience works in both directions. A caregiver needs to demonstrate patience towards a client. This means recognizing that it may be difficult for many adults to embrace the aging process, and it can be hard for people who have always been independent to accept help with day-to-day tasks.
On the part of the client, it is also important to demonstrate patience. A caregiver may not do a task exactly the same way that the client would have. This does not mean that it is wrong. It merely means that it is a different approach. When both sides demonstrate patience, trust-based relationships are built and sustained.
It is important to remember that patience does not mean simply sitting back and waiting. Caregivers must be willing to be proactive in addressing clients’ concerns and needs.
#5 Listening Is a Key to a Strong and Long-term Relationship
Often, in the modern and hassled world, we are not good at listening. People often spend far more time talking. But, listening is critical to a successful relationship between a caregiver and a client. It is important for a caregiver to listen to the concerns that a client may have about the aging process or their medical concerns. It’s not uncommon for a client to feel scared or frustrated. When a caregiver hears about their client’s concerns, they can offer encouraging words. This moral support can help a client who is rehabbing from an injury or illness. It can also help build a meaningful relationship.
Build A Trust-Based Relationship
Caregivers are an essential part of the United States healthcare system, and they are even more integral as the American population continues to age. Unlike other healthcare system agents, caregivers are welcomed into people’s homes and often become part of the family. Because of their close proximity to both the client and his/her family members, strong trust-based relationships must be developed among everyone.
Numerous steps can and should be taken to build these strong relationships. And these steps often take a conscious effort on the part of everyone who is involved.
Taking The 5 Steps For a Strong Caregiver-Client Relationship
The 5 steps mentioned above can make for a strong client-caregiver relationship. When caregivers and clients form a genuine bond, they’ll feel comfortable asking each other for help and having honest communication. The relationship between a caregiver and client is an intimate one and includes difficult scenarios. However, when you properly layout expectations, have contingency plans, and listen more than you talk – you’ll be able to create a long-lasting bond. These strong relationships will often boost the client’s health, both physically and emotionally, which is always a win.
At Community Home Health Care, we understand the importance of hiring a caregiver you trust and who feels like a part of the family. Let us help you find the perfect caregiver by calling us at (845) 425-6555 or visiting our website.
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