Although maintaining open channels of communication between patients and caregivers is crucial, it can be difficult.
It is extremely likely that part of a caregiver’s responsibilities will include offering emotional support to the person they are caring for. Caregiving includes much more than just carrying out the practical duties of taking care of another person. This could occasionally be difficult for both you and the person whose care you are delivering.
Negative emotions including anger, despair, fear, and loneliness are typically felt by those who are ill. Many of these feelings may also be felt by you as the caregiver. People who require care typically suppress their worries about:
- Modifications to their external features, internal anatomy, or mental faculties
- Fears that they will be unable to continue playing the roles in their lives that they have always played.
- Imaginations of what their own future could hold
- Concerns that they may burden their loved ones.
When assisting another person in coping with and articulating their feelings, it is useful to show respect and gentleness. Give them the chance to express their feelings by being a patient listener.
Caregiver communication tips
One effective method to emotionally comfort someone is to simply be there to listen and offer support. Listening to the person in your care can help them feel heard and validate their concerns, even if you are unable to offer a solution. The intensity of emotions can vary widely depending on the situation and is known to change throughout time.
Depending on variables like their general mood, how much sleep they had, or how well they are managing their pain, the person you are caring for may give you different answers when you ask them how they are doing at different times. By paying attention to how the person you are caring for expresses their current emotions, you may more accurately predict what they will be able to handle at any particular time.
The thirteen communication strategies listed below can help you interact with the person in your care more effectively:
Use encouraging words
Encourage the person in your care to talk to you more about their feelings and opinions. Ask open-ended questions in response to what they say rather than questions that may be replied with a simple yes or no. Please introduce yourself and some of your own thoughts and opinions to start the debate. If the person you are caring for does not like talking as much as you do, try not to get discouraged.
Examine the situation before reacting
You can learn a lot about someone’s potential feelings by observing their nonverbal cues, such as their body language (whether or not they make eye contact). When the person in your care exhibits certain nonverbal cues, you will eventually have a deep understanding of them.
It can be useful to talk about your own worries and thoughts in order to break the ice if the other person seems reluctant to open up to you about how they are feeling. Their comments may surprise you.
Choose your words carefully
Be careful not to use words that tend to end the conversation or convey that you don’t care about what the person in your care is going through. Saying things like “Don’t worry about that,” “You’ll be just fine,” or “What do the doctors know anyway” to someone may give them the idea that their concerns don’t matter to you.
Talk less and listen more. Give the person in your care a chance to speak without interruption. You should repeat what the other person said back to them to make sure you understand it. You should seek further clarification if you are unsure of what they mean.
Assure them that you’ll do everything in your power to help them meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Let the person you are caring for know what you plan to do to help them with their troubles.
Help the person focus on the tasks that you can still assist them in completing. Help them overcome obstacles by guiding them toward alternative approaches to issues. Keep a positive outlook and look for ways to make even the most mundane tasks entertaining.
Make sure to look the person receiving care in the eye when speaking. By smiling and paying close attention to what they have to say, you might convey that you are interested in their thoughts and opinions.
Consider the context
Try to avoid having deep conversations when you are pressed for time. Schedule some time to discuss the important issues or topics that the person you are caring for is interested in discussing.
It’s important to verbally and physically express oneself; even something as basic as touching someone’s hand, petting their hair, or kissing them on the cheek can have a big impact. In many circumstances, a gentle touch can be comforting.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Encourage seniors to express their sentiments through written expression, body language, and other non-verbal cues. When they are unable to speak, seniors with chronic conditions experience communication difficulties and may understand a lot more than they are able to say.
Don’t be reluctant to ask for help from others if you realise that you require help articulating your feelings or the feelings of someone you care about. Potential helpers include the rest of the family, a social worker, nurse, doctor, priest, or spiritual advisor. It’s likely that hearing the other person’s point of view from an unbiased third party will be beneficial for both you and the person you are caring for.
Successful communication is more than empathetic listening
Even while listening with compassion is crucial, reassuring the person you are caring for with facts might help them feel better. The fear and stress that come with not knowing what the future holds for the person in your care can be somewhat reduced by educating them about their illness. Some people prefer to receive all of the knowledge at once, while others might prefer to receive it gradually.
Each of us has certain preferences for the style and content of the information we consume, which is only natural. As the person’s carer, you must make sure that you are giving them information that is appropriate for their requirements. Deliver the information in a straightforward, factual manner. Check in with the person you are caring for from time to time to make sure they comprehend what you are trying to say. Give them a chance to express their queries and worries.
Advantages of good caregiver communication
Effective caregiver communication has numerous advantages, such as also improving relationships with health professionals and institutions.
Positive medical results. Using realistic interpersonal and communication skills that engage both the caregiver and the patient, physicians can produce positive treatment outcomes and prevent patient dissatisfaction caused by breakdowns in the doctor-patient relationship.
Climate of trust. Because patients are more likely to follow a doctor’s treatment plan if their caregiver is on board, doctor-patient conversations are essential.
Better comprehension. People who have a sense of care from their doctors are more aware of their health, course of treatment, and outlook. Additionally, if caregivers have in-depth conversations with doctors and nurses during appointments, they are more likely to understand how they should aid loved ones.
Lower rate of readmission. Improved patient outcomes lower the risk of readmission and other problems, which can be harmful to a hospital’s financial health and quality ratings.
Want to learn more?
Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 1-855-410-7971, and we will be happy to assist. Discover more caregiving tips in our information booklets or on our resources page.