Communicating Effectively with Elderly Clients
Effective communication with clients is an essential aspect of In-Home Care. The following suggestions are some tips resulting from our team of healthcare professionals.
Effective communication can build satisfying relationships with older clients to manage their care. Good communication also strengthens the client-provider relationship, leads to improved healthcare outcomes, helps prevent medical errors, and provides much needed companionship to older clients.
Here are tips based on our experience providing In-Home Care.
Speak to Your Clients Like They are Adults
As we age we may be faced with hearing, vision, mental or other impairments. Having any physical or mental impairments does not lessen the maturity of an older or elderly client.
Those who are older might be accustomed to being addressed with the titles they have. Establish respect right away by using formal language as a default (such as Mr. or Ms.) and avoiding familiar terms, such as “dear,” which could be perceived as disrespectful. Your staff can also ask clients how they prefer to be addressed.
Avoid Rushing or Hurrying Your Older Clients
Many healthcare professionals are used to working in a fast-paced environment. As we age many elderly clients can no longer live at a fast pace.
Some people may have trouble following fast paced questioning. Try speaking more slowly or give them time to process what is being asked or said without interruption. Once interrupted, a client is less likely to reveal all of their concerns.
If time is an issue, you might suggest that your clients prepare a list of their health concerns in advance of appointments.
Speak in Plain Language
Keep the use of complex medical terminology to a minimum. Use simple, common language and provide explanations of any terms used as needed. Check to be sure your client understands the health issue, what they need to do, and why it is important to act.
Pay Attention to Clients, Use Face to Face Language
Many professionals are used to multi-tasking and this can be confusing to elderly clients. Try not to talk to clients with your back turned or while typing.
This is important for people with hearing impairments. They understand better when they can read lips as well as listen. Watching a client’s body language can also help you know whether they understand what you’re saying.
Document and Take Notes with each Client Meeting
Older and elderly clients may have a harder time remembering what was discussed in a meeting.
Older adults with more than one chronic medical condition will benefit especially from having clear and specific written notes or printed handouts. That way, they have information to review later about their health conditions, treatments, and other major points from visits.
Understand that people from Different Backgrounds Have Different Expectations
Be sensitive to cultural differences that can affect communication with your clients. When needed, provide professional translation services and written materials in different languages.
To get started with In-Home Care can help improve your loved ones’ quality of life, call Alliance Senior Care at 248-274-2170. It’s not just In-Home Care, it is Integrated Care.
Home Care Services are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike.
Alliance Senior Care Home Care services offer a wide range of services providing healthcare, daily living assistance, transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments and tailored care services for additional circumstances.