The relationship between a caregiver and client can be challenging. However, following these simple tips can help you develop a great relationship with your client.
Develop good communication
Good communication is the key to most relationships and the carer and client relationship is no different. If your client is able to communicate their needs clearly you will easily be able to respond to them.
However, there may be times when your client finds it difficult to communicate their needs. In these cases, you may have to be very patient as you try to understand what your client is attempting to say. You may also need to ask someone else for additional information in order to best serve your client’s needs. Never be afraid to ask for further information or clarification as this is in the best interests of your client.
Communication between you and your client will develop over time as you get to know each other better.
Compassion and empathy can melt away difficulties and frustrations and is a powerful tool for resolving many problems. Your client may be experiencing a lot of pain, suffering and emotional turmoil. When you consider what they are dealing with, and show compassion towards their suffering, you will feel less frustrated.
Learning more about your client, their personal history, the way they feel about their current situation and what they care about, can deepen your empathy and respect for them. This way, when challenging behaviour or situations arise you can draw on this knowledge and allow your compassion to soften and heal the situation.
Suffering from an illness or disability often has a detrimental effect on self-esteem. A few words of praise or encouragement can make a huge difference at these times. An encouraging word can also make a client feel more capable and in control, easing any sense of helplessness. Asking a client about their past achievements can remind them of their own value and boost their self-esteem, too.
Respect is the cornerstone of a great relationship. Your client and his or her family have opened their home to you, and always deserve to receive respect from all carers.
Of course, in difficult situations, or when emotions are running high, things can get a little frayed. You may feel frustrated or upset at time. You may also feel that you are not receiving the respect you deserve. At times like this, it is essential to maintain a respectful demeanour and be compassionate to your client’s frustration and suffering.
Remember that your client is someone’s mother or father so treat them as you would treat a family member going through a hard time.
Its also quite acceptable to ask for respect to be shown to you too. You can, for example, ask that a client does not swear or raise their voice to you. But if they do, remember that you are a professional and it is imperitive for you handle any situation in a calm and dignified manner.
Help them do what they love
Make a concerted effort to find out what your client is interested in and what they enjoy doing. You can contribute enormously to their wellbeing and quality of life by helping them to engage in their hobbies, pastimes and interests. Whether it is gardening, reading, crosswords, history or a craft activity, do what you can to enable your client to be involved in their favourite activities. For example, if they love books but have sight problems you could read to them. Or if they love gardening but are physically unable to do this, they could guide you to plant up a container or flower bed.
Developing a relationship with your client is not always easy but it can be very rewarding. You have the opportunity to support another person through difficult situations and emotionally tough experiences and this is a privilege. At the end of the day, if you have helped another person to have the best day, they can you can be proud of your efforts and know that you have made a difference.