Assisting families with continence questions

    The origins of family questions and concerns

    The family of a loved who is in an aged care facility may be experiencing several thoughts and emotions. They may be relieved that their relative is now receiving the care they now need however there will also be feelings of stress due to the witnessing of the decline of a loved one, possibly some financial stress and often guilt about having to place their relative into care.
    It is also common that some find it stressful that they now have the responsibility of making important decisions for their relative. They are looking to you as the expert to help them feel comfortable in their decision making

    How to reassure them

    • Confirm that their relatives will be treated well and that you will be ready to answer their questions.  

    • Ensure that you listen to their needs and try to determine the real reason for the complaint – remember it is often due to some guilt felt about not providing the care themselves.

    • Remember to always be sympathetic to concerns, incontinence is a tricky subject to discuss

    • Reassure them that your job is to ensure the comfort of their relative at all times

    • In regards to Incontinence, you can explain that each new resident is individually assessed for the ability to go to the toilet, the need for an absorbent product and also the best product for them

    • Let them know that our aim is social continence ie we aim to ensure with use of protection that their relative can participate in activities, still go on social outings and feel dry and comfortable when they have visitors.

    Listen effectively to encourage dialogue

    In any conversation, listening is as important as talking. Sometimes that’s all the family wants. They want to be heard and to have a voice in the care their loved one receives.

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    Follow these 5 steps to handle family concerns

    • Listen effectively to encourage dialogue

    • Respond with feedback to let the family member know you understand their concerns

    • Look for the need behind the problem

    • Plan a resolution to solve the concern and prepare reasons to support your ideas/actions

    • Work hand in hand with the family to find the best solution

    For more information on incontinence see our Education and Knowledge section