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  • Ann Hollander

Positive connections with staff



Your loved one's daily experience in a hospital, rehab, or assisted living community—even at home with paid home help—greatly depends on the aides who care for them. You can help ensure a good experience by building a positive relationship with those staff so they are inclined to go the extra mile, even on a bad day (theirs or your loved one's).

  • Introduce yourself. Share your name and a bit about yourself. How far away you live. If you are the one with the two granddaughters. How often you plan to visit.

  • Ask about them. Nursing assistants are commonly unappreciated. Memorize their names. Get them talking about their lives, their children, their work. Come at different times of the day so you meet the caregivers on each shift.

  • Showcase your loved one's history. Bring labeled photos of family or of your loved one in their professional or volunteer life. This will pique curiosity and encourage staff to know your relative as more than the "hip replacement in room 210."

  • Share special occasions. Is it your mom's birthday? Bring enough cake for the staff. Is it a holiday? Swap stories and share treats with the team.

  • Contribute your talents. Do you play the ukulele? Have extra jigsaw puzzles? Periodically bring something that can lighten the day for your family member, the staff, and maybe even other residents.

  • Leave special instructions in writing. If you have a special request, talk with the supervisor AND leave a note in a place all will see. There is a labor shortage and staff may be rushed or new. Don't assume your request will be passed from one employee to the next. 

  • Be generous with compliments. Your ability to acknowledge the positive lends more credibility if you should ever need to ask for changes or lodge a complaint.

 

Concerned about your loved one's care?

The best way to improve care of your loved one is to genuinely show interest in the daily caregiving staff. As the North Shore and Chicago experts in family caregiving, we at Options for Aging know it can be frustrating to deal with the quirks of paid help. The best way to get the best from the staff, however, is to build rapport. Want ideas for improving care, even lodging a complaint if necessary? Give us a call at 847-868-1445. We can serve as your relative's advocate.

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