How to interact and communicate with Families

How to interact and communicate with Families

In order to be our best when interacting and communicating with families, it helps to know what they expect of us. Below is a list of qualities and successful attributes expressed when interviewing with family members.

What is a Home Care Worker

1. Qualities of home care workers

a. Dependable

b. People oriented

c. Honest

d. Objective

e. Caring

f. Patient

g. Respectful

h. Knowledgeable

2. Success as a Home Care Worker depends on one’s ability to:

a. Work without constant supervision

b. Get along well with clients

c. Organize time in order to complete all the necessary tasks

d. Be observant and sensitive to the client’s physical, social, spiritual and cultural needs


Most human beings live in some sort of family. It may be an extended family with several generations in the same house. It may be a single-parent family. It may be a unit made up of friends who live together and regard themselves as a family. Different cultures define family in different ways. In the broadest sense, a family is a unit bound together by common interests and working to maintain the well-being, and meet the needs, of all members.

Changing Family:

About 75 years ago, families made up of several generations were common. Grandparents, maiden aunts, and orphaned children returned to the extended family home and were incorporated into the functioning family. Families were also bigger, with many more children. With all these members, necessary tasks were divided, and everyone benefited.

Today, families have changed in many ways and for many reasons.

* Families are smaller

* Women go to work

* Roles are not as carefully prescribed

* Family members do not always live near each other

* People live longer

* The sick can be cared for in institutions

* Society now assumes some of the care of the sick and elderly

Each family has needs and rules of its own. As you enter a family to care for one of its members, you become aware of how the family operates. Do they care for one another? Do they punish their members with violence? Do they speak lovingly to each other? Do they stop speaking to one member when they are angry? Do they tease members? As well as you can, it is your responsibility to work and care for your client within the framework of his family. If you change the client substantially and bring in too many new ideas, you may not be welcome.

You are encouraged to discuss your observations with your supervisor so that the service plan can reflect the family’s values. If there are activities you do not understand or that make you uncomfortable or that you consider dangerous, report them immediately to your supervisor.

Culture and the family:

Many factors influence family function: size, economic resources, needs of each member, culture of members and the country in which they live. This may cause conflict between family member roles and the relationship and expectations of the health care team.

Health care workers must be culturally competent, which means have basic knowledge and understanding about the culture of their client and the family.

Family Members and their roles:

A role is a part a person has in his/her family or situation. Each member of a family has many roles. Sometimes these roles are learned from older members of the family; sometime, if there is no role must be shaped to the best of the person’s ability.

Generations in the middle:

In many homes, your may find a family member in “the generation in the middle”. This often is a woman about 45-50 years old who cares for her mother or father; 70-75 years old, and mothers her own children, often teenagers. She may also work and have a husband. This generation is often in need of special understanding and assistance, for its members must always balance the needs of others in addition to trying to meet their own needs. In this special situation, as in others, it is important to understand family dynamics and work to maintain them, so all members can survive without hurting one another.


All families have some money, which they spend according to their own rules and beliefs based on family history, family needs, culture and state of the client’s disease. Many families will spend on things of which you personally do not approve. You will often find yourself being asked by one family member or another to comment on how their money is spent. It is important to act in a nonjudgmental way and not to inflict your opinions about money on the client or their family.

How to interact and communicate with families



1. One Successful trait of a home care worker is the ability to work without direct supervision.

2. One major change about family dynamics is that family members are living less.

3. Many factors influence family function: size, economic resources, needs of each member, culture of members and the country in which they live.

4. A large reason family dynamics have changed is that it typically takes 2 incomes for a household to survive.

5. Typically the males carry the responsibility to care for family members.

Answer key:

1) T

2) F

3) T

4) T

5) F