Healthcare workers know just how important it is to have a good rapport with their patients: It creates a harmonious relationship based on trust, which helps patients be more honest about their feelings and day-to-day pains.
But perhaps no other healthcare sector requires close and trusting relationships more than senior home healthcare facilities because families are literally entrusting their loved ones under the care of the facility’s healthcare staff. While a healthy and good relationship with the patients is a must, so is the staff members’ relationship and rapport with their families.
If you are running a home facility for the elderly or disabled, it will help to build a good rapport with their families. Here are some ways to make meaningful and helpful connections.
Emphasize the value of community in your core values and marketing
If a healthy rapport with the families of patients is not yet a part of your company’s core values, now is the time to incorporate it. Your patients need to know that you will always be in contact with their families should anything happen and that you are partnering with their family members as you care for them. It’s not just your facility that will care for these patients; it’s your facility working alongside their families.
Consider adding the value of community and good relationships in your marketing strategy as well. Employ the services of care marketing experts to help you draft a narrative that places familial relationships at the center of what you do in your facility. A study found that that family caregivers and children who place their relatives in home care facilities often experience a large amount of guilt when they do so, but healthcare providers can do a lot to mitigate these feelings. If you emphasize your relationship with your patients’ families, they might be more inclined to feel a certain level of ease about making this decision.
Keep communication lines open
As long as you don’t violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, there’s no reason why you can’t keep in contact with the family members of your patients to give them updates on how their loved ones are doing. Here are some practical ways to do this:
- Establish trust from the get-go. This means establishing your facility as a place where everything is above-board and honest. Let the family members know why they will never regret choosing your facility over others.
- Be honest. Avoid backtracking or covering up your patients’ progress or lack thereof. This honesty should begin when the patient is first admitted into the facility, and make sure that their doctor is present so that the family members know what to expect in terms of how your facility will be able to help their loved one.
- Establish respect, especially if there are areas that you don’t see eye to eye with the family. After all, you and your staff members work for them, and not the other way around. Stay calm even if you disagree, have the patient’s doctor present so that you are all coming from a place of objectivity, and provide the family members with the same dignity and respect you would give the elderly or disabled patient.
Trust, honesty and respect are crucial to creating a good rapport with the families of the people you care for at your facility.
Consider instituting new policies and training programs
Unfortunately, not all healthcare workers are well-versed in creating a good rapport or connections with both patients and family members. While healthcare professionals generally need to have a wonderful bedside manner, not everyone is naturally gifted at it. Thankfully, there are ways around this. Here are some ideas you can explore:
- Consider hiring a point person whose task is to influence and improve staff members’ communication skills. This point person can help staff members communicate with patients and family members so that the staff can adjust to the patient’s needs. They can also be the liaison for communication experts that can teach the staff about how to improve their verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
- Another option is to form family-advisory councils whose function is to encourage and empower family members to be more involved in their loved one’s care.
Life is short, and the people under our care deserve all the love and care they deserve, especially if they are in the twilight of their years or if they are battling a disease they might soon succumb to. Part of giving them the dignity they deserve is to have their loved ones close, and home facility staff members can play a big part in that.