Those that work at Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs), or other assisted living facilities, often find themselves speaking with resident family members to varying degrees. Just as it is important to communicate clearly and appropriately with residents to help ensure they have the best experience possible, the same applies to interacting with those individuals’ loved ones and/or legal guardians. At InsureMyRCFE, our team has extensive experience in the RCFE field as well as valuable insights to share. If you own or operate an RCFE and are interested in improving communication with residents’ family members, please continue on for some useful tips.
Be a Good Listener
We sometimes forget that listening is a critical part of two-way communication. Family members moving their loved ones into RCFEs often have a number of questions they want addressed, as well as some concerns. They may feel a bit apprehensive about the situation overall, or be worried about how their loved ones will adjust to the new environment. As such, one of the best things you and your staff can do is listen intently, and reassure family members that what they’re saying is being received clearly and treated with due consideration. The last thing you want is for residents’ family members to think that they are being ignored or otherwise being disrespected in any way.
Maintain a Pleasant and Positive Tone
With communication, the way in which messages are conveyed and discussions held can be as important as the actual message content itself. It perhaps goes without saying that while some residents’ family members are easy to interact with, others can be far more frustrating and difficult. Regardless, you as the RCFE professional want to consistently maintain an even tone and calm demeanor when speaking with family members. This is particularly important when family members seem distraught or otherwise agitated. Speaking clearly and calmly in these kinds of situations can help defuse tension and help make the interaction far more positive than before. Do your best to convey empathy and make your conversations as pleasant and productive as you can.
Keep Communication Clear and Consistent
Just as you and your team strive to communicate clearly and consistently with residents, you’ll want to do the same when speaking with family members and legal guardians. Making sure that you are conveying information in as clear a manner as possible helps to avoid misunderstandings or general confusion on the part of family members. Consistency in communication is equally important, as you want to make certain that family members remain up to date with all of the latest developments. The families are depending on you and your team to keep them fully apprised of everything they need to know. Communicating consistently helps to build trust, and can contribute to operations running smoothly.
We hope that this guidance on communicating with residents’ family members and legal guardians proves useful to you. If you’re interested in learning about how we make it easy for RCFEs to get the comprehensive insurance policies they need to thrive, please give our office a call at (805) 413-5668.