Professionalism Matters When Dealing With Difficult Clients
Most of the clients we have, come to us when they are at the end of their “rope”. They have usually tried to manage for a long time under less than ideal circumstances. They are frustrated and upset that they must hire someone to help them. As a professional or family caregiver, you work with many different people. Some are easy to get along with. Others can be a bit more challenging. While this can be frustrating to you as a home care aide or family caregiver, try to remember your client is experiencing many frustrating emotions 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. Don’t give up on them!
Learn as much as you can. Figure out what is going on. Be willing to ask questions. Show your client that you are willing to learn about them and what is happening. Many times a client simply needs to know that you care about them. Ask your supervisor for guidance if necessary.
Don’t argue. Listen, acknowledge their concerns, ask questions but do not argue with the client.
Be nice and caring. Respond positively and be empathetic. Apologize for any negative experience. Clients want to see and know that you care. Be there for them. Let them know that you will do all you can to make things better for them.
Offer to do things for the client. Don’t wait for them to ask you to do your job. Make yourself as useful as possible. Look for things that you can do for the client. How can you make their life easier, more comfortable and safer? How can you, as a professional, lessen the burden for the client’s family so they can interact socially with the client?
Remember that the client is experiencing loss. Loss of independence, loss of health, possibly the loss of a spouse or friends. This is a very stressful time for the client and now they need outside help to survive. Don’t judge their behavior. Try to be compassionate and understanding. Show support for them as a person not just for your job.
Focus on the client. Try to talk about things that will make the client smile. Find out what they like to do and try to incorporate that in your daily routine. Be a joy in their lives.
As you encounter difficult situations with your clients, you have a unique opportunity to change and improve the circumstances of your client relationships. Accept this challenge. By putting forth the effort to show your concern, you will not only improve your relationships, but will make a big difference in the life of your clients, as well. It will make your job rewarding as well because you truly helped another person. Sometimes it’s the little things that are really the big things!