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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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
I do the bowel program for a 50 year old quad. She is angry, always accusing me of using too many wipes and chucks, accuses me of just about anything and everything. Every time I tell her we are just about out of wipes, she will say, “first Of all, they aren’t YOUR wipes and second, why did you use them up so quickly?” I Try to use as little as possible, but I am helping her take a bowel movement, which requires cleaning her up constantly for 2 hours! It is so frustrating. She told her sister that I was turning her heat down every day, when I have never touched her thermostat! I just can’t reason with her and I am close to quitting, but I don’t want to leave her mom alone with her. I love her mom and she is also at her wits end with her daughter. She has run off numerous caregivers and none of her siblings even want anything to do with her. How do I handle it when she accuses me of things? Please help!
I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you. Our suggestions are bringing this up to your supervisor and seeing what can be done about the situation and what advice they have. We have some resources in our library that may be able to help you in this area. They include Creating a Client Journey Map to Improve Client Satisfaction: https://www.homecarepulse.com/resource-library/creating-client-journey-map/?_sft_portfolio_category=client-satisfaction-2
And Sample Client Journey Map
Good luck in this endeavor and thanks for being a caregiver!
I have a client who has taken her frustrations out on me and its very discouraging. I try to stay positive and know its just her. I can only stay focused and do my job until she really pushes it and Im asking my supervisor if she can find a different caregiver for her. Respect should go both ways esspecially when you truely and honestly try. I could try to talk to her she falls asleep on me. She wont say a word to me or take any of my suggestions. She makes me feel like she doesnt want me at her place. I can understand her situation but theres only so much a person can take. If theres one more incident, i dont want to put up with another one. I love my job and most clients really appreciate my work. So i just wonder what Im doing wrong to her? if I ask its always no everythings fine. Its confusing. Maybe its a personality clash or she hates something about me and I dont know. Is it right to stop working with her if issues persist?
I take care of an elderly man that has polio he is in a motorized chair he is very independent and will not let me help him do a lot of things I stay with him 7 hours a day he has got an insatiable tamper he throws things and can be a danger to himself and possibly to me I have spoken to my supervisor about this also he has made ugly comments about my dead spouse this is what he said what if I had cremated my husband and I had his ashes sitting on the table with me and my new husband there or if I had them sitting on the nightstand while me and my husband were getting it on I called him down three times before he finally hushed he said no let me finish and then he went on to say something about me having his dead ashes on the nightstand while me and my new husband we’re getting it on and I asked him could we not talk about something else I went into the kitchen and I stated to myself that I was mad how could I not be that was just unreal that has got to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever had said to me well I go and ask him do you want me to leave and he said I don’t care what you do and then he said no I want you to stay but I told him that I did not want him to ever say anything like that to me again then he said I don’t know what you’re talkin about I didn’t say anything about your dead husband and he is in his right mind before anyone says that he’s not I have been with this man for 2 years he has badgered me to trade in my Toyota Camry and get a Ford van so I can take him to the store and back because he cannot get into my Camry I finally had to tell tell them I’m not getting rid of my car I’m making payments on it I talked to my supervisor about all of this and all she said was men you know how they are and I said no I will not take that as an excuse she does nothing about him he’s also waved a gun around and headed out while I’m there I want to know what I should do about this man and my supervisor because I do not feel safe in the situation that I’m in but I also have to stay there I have no choice because my supervisorwill not take me out and put me anywhere else she said she has nothing else I also have bills to pay or I wouldn’t be doing this job in the first place so I feel very stuck in the situation and do not know what to do but I am also at my Wit’s end as to know what to do with this man I have worked in home care as a CNA for 18 years and he has got to be the worst client that I have had and I’ve never had anything as ugly as that said to me by anyone I have to just tell myself to shut up before I say too much to him
It helps to improve the situation,
Sometimes it is just too much and you have to move on to be able to take care of yourself! They don’t care what they ask of you as long as they get what they want “for free”!