How to be a good patient. (Part 1)

Having been a private caregiver, nurse, and patient I am very well aware of the challenges in each of these roles. I have also read over and over write-ups from Home Health Agencies stating what makes their caregivers “great” or their Agency better than the rest. One thing I have never seen is a write up on how to be a good patient. As I wrote this I quickly realized this would be a long write-up so I am breaking it down into manageable parts.

Believe it or not, being a good patient absolutely improves the care clients receive. The old adage, “You can attract more bees with honey than vinegar.” is especially true with home care. Another adage to consider is “Do unto others as you would do unto you”. The following are things to consider when seeking a good caregiver.

Courtesty– I am listing this first for a reason. A caregiver is a guest in your home. Just as you would expect a caregiver to be polite and respectful, the same is expected from clients and their families. Many caregivers have chosen this line of work because they want to help people. Greeting a caregiver and welcoming them into your home is a great way to establish a good relationship with your caregiver. Thanking them for their help and support can make a caregiver feel wanted, welcome, and encourage a caregiver to go the extra mile for a client. It can damage a relationship when clients yell, are rude or are disrespectful to their caregiver.

We recognize that sometimes clients may be frustrated, confused due to dementia, or have simply found themselves in a difficult position. Which brings us to our second point.

Defining Expectations– If you have met with me I ask all clients and their families to define what they are looking for from their caregiver. It is far better for a client to lay out their expectations so that a caregiver can work to meet them than to have a caregiver guess at what a client expects. What some believe is common sense rarely is.

Caregivers encounter many situations with many different variables. For that reason, without guidance from a patient, it is often challenging for a caregiver to know what is expected of them. For example, some clients need help with laundry. When assisting with laundry, clients can be very particular. For this reason, it is good to define what a client’s expectations are. Often these situations are addressed over a long-term caregiver relationship. However, every caregiver has a “first day”. These are often the most challenging for a caregiver as well as a patient. Having clearly defined expectations help a client explain to a caregiver what they are seeking, and lets a caregiver know what to expect. Abby Services requests from all clients a summary of their expectations to be included in the patient profile we keep. This allows us to share with a caregiver what your expectations are in your words. This process helps Abby Services Private In-Home Caregivers find clients the best caregivers available!

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