Remaining Positive and Professional in Handling Difficult Clients

caregiver with an unhappy elderly man in a wheelchair

As a professional or family caregiver, you work with many different kinds of clients. Some are easy to get along with, while others can be a bit more difficult. While this can be frustrating, try to remember your client is experiencing many frustrations of their own, and you are there to help. Here are some ways you can help these more sensitive clients:

Listen. Maintain eye contact and show that you are listening to what your client has to say. Build your level of trust by listening and then act on what they say. 

Don’t take it personally. Your client is complaining about a problem, not you. Pull yourself away from the situation and find out what is really going on. Even if they seem to be attacking you, there is almost always another deeper issue they are upset about. 

Learn as much as you can. To figure out what is going on, you have to be willing to ask questions. Show your client that you are willing to learn about them and what is happening by taking the time to ask. Many times a client simply needs to know that you care about them.   

Be nice and caring. Respond positively and be empathetic. Apologize for any negative experience and be sure to clarify the issue. Clients want to see and know that you care, and it’s the most effective way of saving relationships with clients.

Follow up and track the progress. Write down all of your client’s concerns and follow up. Ask if things have improved or not. Note how they improve or digress and make adjustments as needed. Show them you’re staying on top of the issue.

As you encounter difficult situations with your clients, you have a unique opportunity to change and improve the circumstances of your relationships. By putting forth the effort to show your concern, you will not only improve your relationships, but may make a big difference in the life of your clients, as well.

 

2017-04-05T01:37:45+00:00 Feb 24, 2014|Articles|5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. David Peters June 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    When dealing with difficult clients you must understand that many things are going on that may be making them be more difficult. When times get difficult and many things are going on around you & with you that you don’t understand, you start to get irritated & close up. “POSSIBLE SOLUTION” ask them anything that gets them thinking of good things, great memories, etc.. One of the biggest reasons they are upset is all the money that is being spent. Adult & Senior Home Care Inc. http://www.adultandsenior.com provides care for $11-$14.00/hr vs most other companies at $15-$20+/hr. We specialize in 24/7 care, but do 1-24 hour cases and we can have a caregiver at your home ready to work in1-2 hrs in most cases, where most take 1-2 days. 440-521-3023

    • Home Care Pulse July 1, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Great points, David! This is true about a lot of situations you face in the home care business, but also in life. You never know what someone is thinking or why they are upset. And if you take it personally, it can easily affect your ability to remain professional and kind. Before you get upset, find out more about the situation. And like David said, start your client talking about happy memories. That may help them focus on the positive and not the negative.

  2. Lee July 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    But what about when they ARE attacking you personally? No one has to put up with verbal abuse, but if we choose to remain a caregiver to an abusive client, how do we deal with their verbal attacks?

    • Home Care Pulse July 7, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your input, Lee. First, try following the steps outlined in the blog, and if that doesn’t resolve the situation, it may be wise to bring in a supervisor and have them assess if the client is worth keeping. You shouldn’t have to put up with verbal abuse in the work place.

  3. David Peters July 19, 2016 at 5:45 am - Reply

    When dealing with difficult clients you must understand that many things are going on that may be making them be more difficult.

    When times get difficult and many things are going on around you & with you that you don’t understand, you start to get irritated & close up.

    Whether that be doctors talking about things you don’t understand, or people doing things you don’t understand, or you needing additional care in the home, The list is endless.

    “POSSIBLE SOLUTION” ask them anything that gets them thinking of good things, great memories, the best or at least better things in life etc.. Build rapor with them.

    One of the biggest reasons they are at least concerned about is all the money that is being spent. Adult & Senior Home Care Inc. 440-521-3023 http://www.adultandsenior.com provides 5 Star Care or at least as close to it as possible for $11-$18.00*/hr in a time where most other companies charge at $19-$24+/hr.

    We specialize in 24/7 care, but do 1-24 hour cases and we can “if needed” have a caregiver at your home ready to work in1-2 hrs in most cases from your initial call, where most companies take 2-4+ days.

    Note: There are many other ways around anger that I have found in over 26 years of caregiving & management 440-521-3023

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