When home care providers visit clients, building a strong physical and emotional connection is critical to a trusting relationship. These connections can be strengthened by improving communication skills so that home care providers can give and take vital information/instructions to clients.
Effective home care communication requires one to think from the patient’s perspective so that home care providers can tailor their strategies and offer person-centered care. Here are some tips that home care providers can follow when working with different types of patients.
Top Tips for Effective Communication with Elderly Patients
Communication with elderly patients calls for a very gentle and understanding approach. As home care providers, you should:
Take your Time and be Patient
Elderly patients need extra time and attention for their needs. They are usually eager for information but they may lack focus and attention. Home care providers must be ready to repeat information, and instructions and speak in a slow, soft and clear manner.
Accommodate their Special Needs
If the elderly client has vision problems or hearing loss, it would be more effective to sit with them closely when communicating. This will allow the patient to focus on what the home care provider is saying and reduce distractions.
Using simple, short sentences and works will get the message across to the elderly patient more effectively. When speaking to elderly patients, using medical or technical language may confuse them and they may not ask you to clarify which will defeat the purpose of communication.
Tips for Communicating with Cross-Culture Patients
Patients from different countries and cultures have different communication styles. In such situations, the home care providers should:
Appreciate English Language Complexity
English is not a simple language so it is important to realize that it must be difficult for non-native English speakers to get complex medical instructions and diagnoses in English. When speaking to non-native English speakers, it is wise to choose simpler words and sentences.
Use Silence Where Appropriate
Many people may not be comfortable with awkward silences. However, when working with international clients who speak a different language, short pauses in the speech can allow them to translate and process the information given to them. Home care providers should make sure they have understood what has been said to them. Instead of taking a “nod” and a “yes” as affirmation (which they may give out of just politeness), ask them follow-up questions and evaluate their responses.
Avoid Jargons, Acronyms, and Expression
Sometimes a simple “11 A.M” can be confusing for a non-English speaker. Home care providers should avoid using acronyms, jargon, and idioms which can be unclear to the listener and can be misunderstood. Saying instead “11 in the morning” is a more effective alternate approach.
Tips for Communication with End-of-Life Patients
When a patient is nearing the end of his life, he can be stressed out and his emotions can run high with the family and caregiver. Here is how you can effectively communicate with end-of-life patients.
Don't Avoid Bad News
It is important to break the bad news to clients and their families gently while being objective and unemotional. Be ready to answer their questions till they are satisfied. Being patient in this situation is crucial.
Be Very clear
Communicate the expected course of the illness and what the patient can expect in terms of treatment options. Provide details and answer their questions compassionately. Make sure they understand it by asking them follow-up questions or asking them to repeat the information you’ve shared.
Be Sensitive of Their Cultural and Religious Beliefs
Home care providers should understand that the end of life is thought of and treated differently in different cultures and religions. So, considering this, home care providers must be empathetic to the patients’ beliefs and accommodate them wherever possible to make it easy for them.
Parents in particular who are near the end of life are more likely to experience a range of different emotions at different intensities like extreme fatigue, increased stress and so on. If they show erratic behavior, consider how their fear and frustration with the unknown are contributing to that behavior. Keeping them comfortable, respecting their wishes and communicating consistently with them can help them through the last part of their journey.
Keeping Families in the Communication Loop - Best Home Care Relationships Tips
Communicating effectively with the families of patients and keeping them informed and involved in everything is just as important as communicating with the patients. Here are some important tips to follow when communicating the patients’ families.
Be a Good Listener
Remind the family members that being a good listener is a vital part of being a good communicator. Asking them to not just hear but also listen to the patient.
Be Brave: home care providers can encourage families to be unafraid to ask uncomfortable questions related to finances, wills and advance legal directives. These things are difficult to talk about but clarifying information related to these well in future can save individuals from future stress and uncertainty.
Gather All Family Members
Home care providers can try to involve family members in routine meetings. Discussing the patient’s illness and asking family members how they are doing/feeling can open gates of effective communication. Using messaging or videoconferencing to keep loved ones in the loop can help the patient and the loved one feel connected. Home care providers can do this via Hucu.ai.
Hucu.ai is a HIPAA-compliant communication application that connects patients, families and care providers under one platform. It is a successful home care communication app. Using “Patient/Family Chat rooms,” patients can chat with care providers instantly at any time from any location. Care providers can also communicate internally with the care team about patients so that everyone is up to date with the patient’s health status.
Hucu.ai is also a single platform of healthcare communication that solves this problem. Patient data can be shared between different home care medical teams, and providers instantly via Hucu.ai. Photos, reports, prescriptions, diagnoses and health records can be attached and shared instantly in the application with just one tap. It takes away the pain of sending the same health data to multiple parties using multiple modes.
Communication Tips for All Types of Clients
Here are some communication strategies that apply to all types of patients. Whether you’re speaking with the patients or family members, remember to:
Ask Open-ended Questions
Home care providers should avoid asking questions that can be answered with a nod of the head or with a simple yes/no because these do not indicate for sure that they have understood you. Asking open-ended questions can start with who, what, when, where and why and would require the patient or the family member to give a complete answer.
Instruct, Pause and Repeat: one of the easiest ways to ensure that your message has been understood is to have the client repeat what you have told them in their own words.
After verbally communicating the instructions to your patient, you can give them written instructions as well. Keep these simple by using bullet points to reduce confusion. You can also use pictures, diagrams and simple charts to enhance the effectiveness of your written message.
Give the clients to ask questions, express themselves and get clarifications.
Improve Your Communication Skills and As a result, the Outcomes
Communication skills involve more than just talking. Body language, preparing the environment for sharing information, having the ability to listen and hear – all of these affect the message one is trying to convey. When home care providers can communicate effectively with the patient, their health outcomes can improve.
The medical industry is full of medical jargon and complex terminology, therefore, using clear and effective communication is very important. With the right communication technology like Hucu.ai, communication can become easier.
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