What to do if your client isn't cooperating with you

What to do if your client isn't cooperating with you

Some days, your client won’t want to cooperate with you. As their caregiver, you tend to know what’s best for them, but they won’t always agree. 

For example, some days:

  • Your client might not want to eat the food you prepare for them
  • Your client might not want to shower
  • Your client might not want to do an exercise that the doctor tells them to do
  • Your client might not want to take pills they're supposed to take

When any of these things happen, you can become stuck on what to do, since you know they need to eat, shower, exercise, or take pills in order to stay healthy. Because this happens at times to all caregivers, we want to share some tips with you on what to do when your client isn’t cooperating.

Tip #1: If your client isn’t cooperating with you, hear them out. 

If they don’t want to, for example, eat the soup you made for them, it could be because they really don’t feel well enough to eat. 

it's important that you give your client the chance to explain themselves. 

Maybe you will find that they don’t want to eat because they have a stomach problem, which requires them to go to the doctor. If this is the case, since you listened to what they had to say instead of getting upset and forcing them to eat, you may end up getting them the help they need. 

All in all, we recommend that you always ask your client “why?” when they don’t want to do something you're trying to get them to do.

Tip #2: Decide if their reasoning for not wanting to do something makes sense.

After listening to your client’s reasoning for why they don’t want to cooperate, decide whether or not this reasoning makes sense. 

  • Did they explain that eating will make them sick? If so, it’s a good idea to let them decide to not eat. OR
  • Did they say something like “because I just don’t feel like it”. If their reasoning isn't good, you should politely suggest to them how they have to eat so they stay healthy.

These situations are always difficult to handle, but remember that the #1 priority is your client’s health. Maybe they will try and eat after you suggest that it's for their health. If not, don’t force it, because this could upset them. 

Tip #3: If your client still won’t listen to the same request the next day, alert their family or your manager

If your client still does not want to do what you would like them to do the next day at work, let their family or your manager know. For example, if your client did not want to eat, it's important to let their family who may be coming to take care of them after you're done with work for the day that they still need to eat. 

If their family isn't coming to look after them after your shift, it's important to ask your manager for some advice. For example, you can email them letting them know that your client didn’t want to eat, shower, or whatever the issue may be and ask them for advice on how to get your client to do whatever you're requesting.

Tip #4: Apply the advice and get your client cooperative!

Once you get some advice on what to do, make sure that you get your client to be cooperative. Again, it's very important that your client is staying healthy, so we have to make sure they're eating, shower, doing exercises, and taking pills if that’s what they’re supposed to be doing.

Being a caregiver is a tough job! And the #1 priority is taking care of your client. We all have rough days, and sometimes your client will have them too. When your client has a rough day and doesn’t want to do things like eat, shower, exercise, and take pills, your job can become difficult. That’s why it's important to have the skills to get them to do what you ask of them. 

To recap:

  • First, you should try to understand them by asking “why not”
  • Then you should decide if their reason made sense and try to reason with them for why they should be doing what you said. 
  • If they don’t listen, make sure to notify their family or your manager. 
  • Then, take the advice you get, apply it, and get your client healthy and cooperative.

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