How to support care home relatives during their visit



When working in a care home, you will likely get used to a steady flow of regular visitors and the occasional new face. These visits are hugely significant to both the visitor and your resident and they can often be emotionally-charged interactions. However, they’re equally as likely to result in a good old chinwag over several cups of tea. We look at some of the ways you can support your residents and families through both the good meet-ups and those which may be more difficult.

Keep communicating
It’s essential for you to maintain communication with the family members of your residents, not only in planning and agreeing on the delivery of care, but also to note any changes and assess the family’s emotional support needs. Make sure that you make the family aware of something before the resident does to avoid conflict. For example, if they’ve had a fall a few days prior, the family should not only hear about this for the first time upon speaking with the resident.

Don’t make assumptions
Many families will feel comfortable spending one-on-one time with their relatives, but not every family member is equal. If you sense that a visitor doesn’t feel comfortable in a one-on-one scenario, you could facilitate them to meet in a communal area. Encourage them to spend time in different locations, such as the garden, where the resident feels comfortable. This should encourage conversation and put them both at ease.

Mutual resources
Your care home probably already contains entertainment such as televisions, board games, magazines and puzzles and these can be a great way for visitors to interact with the resident in a more balanced and natural way. Encourage your visitors to bring their tablets, phones or laptops to share their interests with the resident, show them pictures and videos from home and give them a variety of topics of conversation. This can be a particularly effective approach for younger visitors.

Long-term dementia residents 
It is often an incredibly difficult time for those family members whose relative has dementia or Alzheimer’s. Depending on the circumstance, severity and stage, family members might find it stressful interacting with the resident. Like the resident, family members can feel confused, angry, sad and frustrated, which is why your experience and support becomes invaluable during these exchanges. Suggest activities that you know can please your resident and offer active participation for the family member, such as reading a story or a news article to them. Sometimes, it is the smallest of things that can make a big difference, and as you’ll know, that extends to any care unit or facility.

Supporting both your residents and their families is essential in creating a collaborative and comfortable environment which runs as smoothly as possible in a whole host of eventualities. However, you can’t prepare for everything. When things go wrong, the right insurance can support your home, staff and residents.

At Aldium Insurance Services we arrange insurance which has been tailored uniquely to the care industry, covering for a wide range of risks from medical malpractice and public liability to business interruption and material damage. Just call us on 0151 353 3880 to find out more.