In all relationships, whether personal or business, good communication is vital, and when you’re caring for vulnerable seniors, regular communication with family members is essential. The decision to seek in-home care is a highly emotional one for family caregivers who are often overwhelmed with work, family life, and caregiving, while simultaneously feeling guilty that they can no longer provide care for their loved ones themselves and anxious about bringing a stranger into the home to provide care. To ease this anxiety and create an exceptional care experience, communicating with a client’s family is a very important part of any agency’s job.
Why Communication Is Important to Home Care Clients
Consistent communication is important to overall client satisfaction, but there are other key benefits as well, like:
- Increasing client loyalty. Regular communication from your agency keeps families informed of their loved ones’ health and care status, which allows them to find peace of mind and feel comfortable that their loved ones are in good hands. This peace of mind breeds respect and loyalty, and makes family members much more likely to not only stay with your agency, but refer your agency to others in need of home care.
- Improving agency reputation. Online reviews have become increasingly important for home care agencies, and providing a positive care experience with consistent communication motivates family members to leave reviews for your company, especially if you tell them where to leave reviews during your communication.
- Increasing word-of-mouth referrals. Clients enjoy talking to others about positive experiences they have with companies and recommending those companies to others with a similar need, and when you communicate regularly, they are more apt to do so.
How to Communicate to Families
Communication doesn’t always have to be a direct phone call detailing a client’s care or health status, though those can be helpful and reassuring. In the digital age, there’s no limit to the ways in which we can communicate with clients. Consider the following:
- Emails: Email is a powerful tool that can be used to educate home care clients and family members on a regular basis without having to make direct or intrusive contact with each and every member of the family. Consider creating a monthly or bi-monthly e-newsletter that provides helpful tips for family caregivers, like how to create a safer home for seniors or tips for communicating with loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. These newsletters not only allow you to communicate with many clients at once, they also showcase your agency as a helpful, knowledgeable resource.
- Texts: In today’s mobile world, who doesn’t prefer texting to just about any other form of communication? A simple update or information article via text can put an anxious family member’s mind at ease. Just make sure that your texts don’t contain protected health information or otherwise violate HIPAA rules.
Open communication benefits clients, family members, and caregivers. Your clients’ family members will be grateful for your efforts to get to know them and to keep them informed, and grow to trust and rely on your expertise. Above all, remain respectful of the wishes, circumstances, and unique cultures of all family members no matter how you communicate.
Arrow Solutions’ home care software can help your agency keep track of family points of contact for clients as well as clinical documentation and care notes so that you can improve your communication. Contact us today to learn more about our system.