Establishing Rapport With Care Facility Staff

When a loved one lives with Alzheimer's disease, they may need support from a care facility. With many staff members caring for your loved one in this setting, building rapport with staff takes time and creativity.

The Facebook community recently discussed the question: "What recommendations do you have for establishing good communication and rapport with care facility staff?" Respondents shared many helpful ideas!

Establish a path of communication

Finding ways to communicate with staff was a common response. Many different staff members work in a care facility at various times of the day, so setting up communication patterns to ensure consistent care is helpful.

"I placed a dry-erase board in my mother's room so the staff could let me know anything my mom needed or any issues or concerns. And I could leave notes and questions or requests for them. The staff liked it; that way, any shift could have access. And have a reminder of anything that went on during other shifts. Her care team could also let me know if she needed toiletries or anything. Each shift could leave an update."

"I let them know they could call me 24/7 if my dad had a problem."

"Learn the workers' names and call them by name. Build a relationship with them. Sympathize with them and show your gratitude."

"I made it a point to get to know the staff personally. Made for better care for my mother."

Display personal information about your loved one for the staff

Many respondents said they created "about me" boards for their loved one with Alzheimer's disease. These are boards posted in the care facility room to help the staff get to know the resident better. Because any person on any shift could learn about the resident this way, staff did not have to rely on the previous care shift to tell them about the person.

"I made an 'about me' board that I relabeled from a school board; it gave her birthday and age, all kid's names, how many grandkids and great-grandkids, and siblings with notes as to living or dead. Favorite foods, TV, hobbies, pets, past jobs, and things she may enjoy. That way, any new staff could see this and learn about her."

"I had a like and dislike form about my dad. I filled it out and posted it in his room."

"I used a laminated sign (and we updated it as needed) listing his favorite and least favorite foods, top song choices for his CD player, and things he liked to do along the way when he had outdoor walks. We taped it on the wall beside his comfy chair, where staff, nurses, and visitors could see it."

Show your appreciation for the staff's care

Taking time to show appreciation for the staff also builds rapport. Bringing them treats and saying "thank you" helps the staff feel valued. Also, volunteering to help out with special activities shows gratitude for the staff, and it helps support the programs the care facility offers your loved one.

"Bring cookies and say thank you. Remember you took care of one person; they have many more."

"Sometimes, when I visited late at night, I brought the staff pizza. I made them cakes, cookies, and told them every day how much I appreciated them. I put a big bag of candy in my mom's room for the staff. They would come in to get candy, which meant more people coming into my mother's room for her to see."

"I would have pizzas delivered once a month or so to feed the staff. They loved it! I would go on field trips and help with their activities."

Thank you appreciates everyone who shared their insights on this topic! Building a good relationship with the staff at a care facility helps ensure the best care for your loved one.

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