Building a Strong Relationship with Your Caregiver
Building and maintaining a good relationship with your professional caregiver seems like it would be straight-forward, but it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly how. It is a relationship that walks such a fine line between intimacy and professionalism. Caregivers perform tasks that are personal, close and that can foster dependence. Establishing a good relationship with a caregiver will encourage open and honest communication. Remember, although a caregiver may seem like a friend, they are, and will always be, a professional.
Respect for privacy works both ways. As you begin to bond with a caregiver, it is natural to want to know about their private life. This may be uncomfortable for caregivers. Make sure not to cross professional boundaries so that your caregiver isn’t in a position where they feel obligated to share overly personal information.
Likewise, share only information about yourself or your family member that is necessary to do the job. Let the caregiver know that any medical information about the client is confidential, or specify who this information can be shared with. It is normal for a caregiver to get to know the person they are taking care of and important that they ask questions about their client. This kind of personal information is part of developing a bond. But it is not to be shared with anyone outside the family without permission.
Good topics of conversation include:
Where the client/caregiver is from
What kind of work the client did
Why the caregiver decided to go into this profession
Favorite books, movies, music, restaurants or plays
Caregiver tasks and responsibilities should be identified in the care plan. Misunderstood expectations can interfere with maintaining a good relationship. Communicate expectations in the beginning and throughout the relationship. If necessary, write things out in a clear and simple way that mirror the plan of care. Ask the caregiver if they understand or have any questions or suggestions. When everyone is on the same page about the care that will be provided, it’s much easier to form a positive relationship.