Giving care to a loved one or to someone else’s loved one is a difficult task. The job can be physically demanding and mentally exhausting. Alongside the multitude of obvious tasks are a host of small details which are often overlooked when considering care. A good caregiver will know how to deal with these issues and will consider all the smaller matters which need to be taken care of. Most people will understand the importance of the following traits when providing care:
- Listening and engaging with the client and their family.
- Professional appearance and reliable, caring for the elderly is too important to be left to a different person every day.
- Fully trained and capable of receiving extra training periodically to improve their training.
- Comfortable with personal care; including incontinence and personal hygiene.
- Effective at communicating with the person needing care and their family.
- Companionship as well as simply caring for the person.
Alongside these essential traits there are several things which a caregiver should avoid; this includes avoiding putting themselves in a position where the following actions become possible:
A big concern for most people letting a comparative stranger into their home is that they will steal from them. It is essential to avoid this and any situation that makes this possible. Your patient needs to be able to trust you.
Your cell phone is a valuable tool in an emergency and should never be far from you. However, it is incredibly rude to use your phone whilst caring for someone. When you are with your patient your attention must be focused solely on them.
The more you care for someone the closer you will get to them and the more inclined you will be to do extra bits for them. However, if you do additional work without creating an additional contract, or if you get a relative to do bits, you will be creating a headache for yourself; especially if you are getting paid for the additional services.
You are caring for someone, not taking control of their life. You client should be actively involved in any decision concerning them. It can be baffling for older people when presented with too many options; you may find it better to limit the choices so that a decision can be made together. They are far more likely to cooperate if they are involved in the decision making process.
If it is becoming too difficult for the patient to make decisions then it will be essential to communicate this back to the family and accept their instructions. Never continue assuming you know what is best.
Never let them feel ashamed
A caregiver must be prepared to complete all manner of tasks, including those involving personal hygiene. Your client will probably feel uncomfortable with you having to deal with this type of thing; if you pull a face as you do it they will feel ashamed and you will quickly lose any bond you have established. Be professional at all times.
Never be stubborn
You are there to help your client, it may be tempting to dig your heels in when you think you know best but it is not always a good choice. You should try to convince your client that there is a better way; if this does not work then go with their choice and be prepared to deal with the fallout. Alternatively you can discuss the issues with the family.
Don’t violate the boundaries
There are two sets of boundaries to consider. Those which your client has, and those which you set. At times the client may expect you to do something which is outside your own boundaries; if this is the case then you should tactfully refuse and suggest an alternative to defuse the situation.
Care giving can be a rewarding role, providing you are aware of the risks before you start. While on the job, make sure to have a professional attitude, and
Always emphasize in the first person that “we do provide long term care and home health care nursing experts”. Don’t get angry and by no means start screaming at the patient. Keep your calm and try to understand their conditions. Be there for them; understand them and offer them the best possible care.