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Social Sensitivity for Home Care Workers

By Katie Reed, RN

Most Americans would agree that the country is more divided than ever before. In the midst of the current unrest, the aim of home care remains the same: to enable older adults and people with disabilities to remain safe at home. Regardless of their cultural, religious, political, or social beliefs, our clients deserve to feel respected and cared for. That’s why, as a caregiver, it is important to practice sensitivity and respect.

The Rights of the Client

We all have different beliefs and views of the world based on our life experiences. No two people, no matter how alike, will hold exactly the same set of beliefs. Despite our differences, all people have an innate worth and value. Our clients are in a vulnerable position, receiving care in their homes. It important to remember this and to honor the dignity and worth of our clients.

The Role of the Caregiver

As a caregiver, you are responsible for protecting both the physical and emotional well-being of the client. No matter what the client’s beliefs may be, showing acceptance helps meet the emotional needs of the client and improves their sense of self-worth.

Respecting clients’ beliefs communicates acceptance, builds trust, and promotes a positive working relationship. The client will flourish in such an environment. Additionally, embracing personal differences can provide you opportunities for learning. Listening to others with an open mind can encourage both personal and professional growth.

Tips for Caregivers:

  • You do not have to agree with others to be kind and respectful.

  • Try to avoid bringing up potentially controversial topics such as politics, religion, etc.

  • If client brings up one of these topics, it’s okay to listen, but avoid sharing your personal feeling—do not pass judgment or debate.

  • Communicate acceptance and understanding; the client should feel safe to be who they are.

  • You are not there to impose your lifestyle or beliefs.

  • Maintain boundaries and keep all communication positive and respectful.

As we approach the upcoming election, it is especially important to practice social and political sensitivity. Politically-charged headlines and opinions will be everywhere. Despite this, your job is not to change the client’s mind or challenge their beliefs. Your job is to show compassionate respect for the clients entrusted to your care.

Remember you are a professional; you are there to support the client. Showing empathy, being able to share and understand the feelings of others, can help you to treat the client with compassion. Your job as a CCOR home care aide is to provide quality care even when you disagree or are working through challenging circumstances.

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