To be personable is to have a pleasant appearance and manner, as well as taking personal care of someone.
It’s the kind of trait which is imperative in keeping patients and residents happy, as well as comfortable.
If a care worker isn’t personable, it’s often harder to get patients and residents to do things or open up.
To help give you a better understanding of the subject, it’s vital that you get a grip on why a person acts the way they do and how you can actively help by being more personable.
Common behaviours of patients and residents
As people get older or are forced to deal with an illness or disability, they can often feel like they’re losing their independence.
Everyday tasks like getting dressed and socialising with friends suddenly become strenuous.
So it’s no wonder why having a care assistant or worker trying to get you to do something or physically support you while completing it can make the patient or resident feel uncomfortable.
The truth is, independence is a way of life and something a lot of people need. It’s about having a level of control on the outcome of your life that gives us happiness.
In fact, research revealed that more than two in three Britons fear becoming a burden on friends or family in their old age.
Chief executive of the national Disabled Living Foundation charity, Christine Shaw, said: “People want to remain in control over their own lives, to be able to do things for themselves and carry out everyday living tasks independently, like dressing, bathing and cooking”.
“Getting older should not be a barrier to having choice and control over the quality of your life, or be a reason to move out of your own home.”
“Many older people just need help, ideas and advice about the simple equipment that exists to help them with daily tasks and to lead full, active and save lives.”
That’s why it’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of your patient or resident and realise just how hard this process is.
And part of doing this successfully is to be personable.
Ways to be personable
One of the most important elements to being personable is to take a personal interest in your patient or resident.
Telling them what to do will backfire, so get to know their needs and make them feel like they’re in complete control of their own life.
To achieve this, it’s always worth listening to their preferences and taking notes.
This can include anything from writing down their favourite foods to how they like their hair styled.
If you neglect these finer details, the patient or resident won’t feel like you really care about them.
Expecting them to do otherwise is kind of like a stranger asking you to share all of your favourite things and top secrets – how would that make you feel?
Trying to remember every element of your care worker job, plus all these individual preferences is hard going.
Therefore, the notepad idea acts as a handy reminder to make your life a lot easier.
You should also refrain from taking over.
While time might be an issue when juggling multiple patients, it’s important to let them know that they’re still independent and are allowed to complete tasks on their own terms.
Give them the freedom to ask for a bit of extra assistance or just simply be on hand to support them, if you can see they could do with a helping hand.
For example, some patients or residents might not like you helping them to bathe.
So tell them you’ll sit outside in case they do need any extra support.
It’s about building a relationship and trust while treating everyone as an individual.
Being mindful is another part of being personable.
Just be aware that a child or adult you’re looking after might be very conscious of the way they act or look.
Avoid addressing these issues head-on, as it could have a negative effect.
For instance, if a person doesn’t like the way their body looks, don’t ask them whether they’ve lost weight.
While it may seem like a compliment, it could be construed as a negative, leading to the patient or resident to over analyse your question.
In other words, they might start to think they were previously overweight.
The art of being mindful can also refer to the way that you act as well.
So if you’re hesitant when helping a patient or resident with a task, they’ll start to lose faith in you.
Be confident and remember to smile, as this positive energy will rub off on them.
Body language is another key aspect of being personable as well.
You see, around 90% of communication doesn’t come from your mouth.
So if you sit there, listening and looking bored, your patient will recognise this in a heartbeat.
You should sit up straight, make eye contact and acknowledge by either nodding or giving empathetic responses.
Cover all of these elements and you’re guaranteed to be a successful and personable care worker for many years to come.
Keep in mind who it is you’re working with and who it is you’re caring for, it really does make all the difference.
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