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What is the first thing that a caregiver should do when they start working with a client for the first time?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 04, 2014
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An anonymous caregiver asked...
What is the first thing that a caregiver should do when they start working with a client for the first time? I am meeting the client for the first time, he is a dementia patient and his wife is the person i am going to deal with. What should be the main concerns and steps on the first day of meeting?
 

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This is a wonderful question, showing your sensitivity to your client, and interest in getting off to a good start. I'll assume you're discussing your job duties with your client's See also:
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wife. Make sure you also know your client's likes, dislikes, habits, fears, etc. Your first meeting should be low-key, and focused on developing a comfort level with each other, familiarity. He needs to get used to your looks, voice, and mannerisms. I don't know the degree of his dementia, so I don't know how interactive he is. You could try having a "getting to know each other" conversation; asking him about his interests or family, telling him a little about yourself (the basics not personal details). If he's incapable of this, it's OK for you to talk softly "to" him. You can also try some basic caregiving, such as helping him eat, taking a walk, or just watching TV together. Something simple. On your first days with him, you should try to follow his regular, familiar routines as much as possible. Be warm and friendly, but calm, to help him develop trust. You may need to stick with familiar routines for a long time, slowly adding new activities or getting more assertive. Learn as much as you can by watching your client as you work, and seeing how he reacts and responds to his daily activities. As with any new relationship, it can take time to build comfort. Be patient and expect some ups and downs. He may see you as threatening (his independence, personal space and privacy). By asking this question you're setting yourself up for a positive beginning!

 

 
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