Attitude makes all the difference: The ideal attitude of a caregiver.
First aid skills and knowledge of various medical conditions are obviously important for a caregiver. What’s just as important is the caregiver’s attitude. While every caregiver is unique and so is every care receiver, all caregivers would do well to consider the following aspects of attitude in everything they do.
Choice of words
- Greet the care receiver: This shows you respect them. Greet them in a way that shows positivity, cheer, optimism and brightness. Always make eye contact when you greet them.
- Address the care receiver by name: It’s scientifically proven that people respond more positively to someone who addresses them by name.
- Speak with respect: Remember that you are speaking with a grown-up who’s knowledgeable about their condition and life. Don’t use child-directed speech, i.e. a tone that sounds like you’re talking to a child or someone less knowledgeable.
Communication and recording
- Regularly communicate with not just the care receiver but also their immediate family members about the current state of the care receiver and any recent developments. Make it a two-way conversation.
- Record all relevant information in a tangible form (e.g. journal, shared online documents) so that the caregiver, care receiver and their family can all analyse the care provided and its results.
Time and punctuality
- Being on time is a good way to show that you respect the care receiver.
- In case you can’t be on time on a particular day, tell the care receiver in advance that you’ll be late, the reasons why, and your expected time of arrival.
- Use your time with the care receiver effectively. Making notes of common instructions and messages could be one way to manage your time well.
Appearance and cleanliness
- Wear clothes appropriate for the time, place and person.
- Neat hair and short nails are preferable to convey a sense of being organised.
- Ensure your own cleanliness so that you are not a source of possible infection for the care receiver.
- Adopt upright posture to convey a sense of being confident of the care you’re providing.
When in doubt, always remember to behave in a way that respects the dignity of the care receiver and gives them the reassurance that they are in good hands.
Article reviewed by David Tay, Senior Principal Educator (Nursing and Prehospital Care), HMI Institute.