As a caregiver, it is natural to get to know those you care for at a personal level. Your clients may share stories and talk about their lives. This can be good for establishing a relationship. However, it can also be a problem when you learn information that causes you to have a bias toward clients or their family members.
Common Causes of Bias
Certain facts are likely to lead to the growth of bias, including the senior’s or family’s:
- Race or ethnicity
- Political beliefs and prejudices
- Criminal or unethical activity
- Physical disability, disease, or mental illness
- Education, employment, or social status
- Sexual orientation or gender identity
Being aware of these factors can help you avoid harboring prejudices of your own, including positive preference toward someone.
Before taking a caregiving position, it is important to find out as much relevant information about the senior and family as possible. Avoid putting yourself in a situation where you will find it difficult to offer proper care and respect to those you serve. You may also want to work out your own prejudices through education, job training, or therapy so you can maintain a professional attitude no matter for whom you provide senior care.
If you are already in a position and discover unfavorable personal information, you need to know how to manage your bias. This is especially important if you are related to the client, as it is much easier for family drama to affect your work. It can be helpful to remember the following:
- Your purpose. Your job is not to judge, counsel, or gossip with your clients and their families and friends. Your purpose is to provide high-quality health or personal care.
- Professional boundaries. When inappropriate topics arise, set boundaries. Express that you would not like to know that information or that it is none of your business, and then change the subject.
- Time. What happened in the past should stay in the past. If you learned that your client cheated on a spouse or spent time in jail years ago, that is irrelevant to the present situation. It is not fair to make a judgement based on an incomplete picture. Remember that some people change and others like to hold grudges.
Remembering these principles can help you to forgive and forget anything you hear that may cause bias. Focus on being compassionate toward your clients, especially during this difficult time at the end of their lives, and let Home Helpers assist you in becoming or finding the best caregiver for the situation.