Everyone has a first day on the job. But, as a home caregiver, you likely will have more first days than others. As an in-home senior caregiver, you’ll be going to someone’s home and not an office environment. Instead of being surrounded by multiple strangers, you’re essentially going to care for one person. Instead of walking into an impersonal office, you’re going into someone’s personal space. This can be uncomfortable for you and your client, especially if you are the first caregiver they are accepting in their home. Your first day often sets the tone for the rest of your relationship with your patient. There are a few things you can do to help start your first day out well and pave the way for a successful relationship.
While it might be difficult to get to know the people in your office before you arrive, your agency will have some knowledge of the person you are there to help care for. Go prepared with knowledge about your client, which helps you get to know them better on the first day. If you’re not spending time finding out what their expectations are, you can spend more time finding out who they are as a person. When you know what tasks they need help with, then you demonstrate how much you care because you did your homework first.
Find out about your client’s interests, what they did for a living and what their current hobbies are. You can use this information as ice breakers during conversation and to help you get to know your new client better. Although your goal is to develop a strong relationship with your patients, it’s important that you address them with respect. Maintaining a professional formality by addressing your client as Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones helps your client feel more like someone in charge, and less like a child.
Your attitude will go a long way toward developing a strong relationship with your client. Being respectful is important, but so is being confident. Your new patient needs to feel safe in your care, and when you give them the impression of being professional and confident, this grows their trust in you. Pay attention to your own body language, such as the tone in your voice and your facial expressions. Showing a positive attitude immediately helps your patient to feel calm and well cared for.
Be careful about your client’s family dynamics. In every home the dynamic between your patient and their family will be different. It’s important that you assess what’s going on and adjust your behavior to what’s happening. If your patient is married, pay attention to the relationship between the spouses. It’s not uncommon for your patient to be resistant to accepting help. In this instance, it’s helpful to emphasize that you are there to help their spouse as well.
In some instances, an adult child may be a challenge in the care of your patient, so it’s important to assess the situation and manage each of these relationships appropriately. You can begin this process by asking questions. People respond well to being asked for help and when you ask questions about your patient’s or family’s expectations or needs, it lets them know you care and you’re concerned.
Although it may feel uncomfortable, as the day comes to a close, ask for feedback. Find out how your patient feels at the end of the day and if it lines up with how you feel the day went. Ask your patient if there’s anything that you can do before you leave. This helps the day to end on a good note and remind your clients that you care and are concerned about their health.
Home Care Happens in the Home
Starting your first day out right may help pave the way for better days to come. At Anodyne we are committed to providing our patients with great caregivers, and our caregivers with assignments that help them grow professionally and personally. Contact our recruiters today to learn more about how working with your patients increases your satisfaction.