Care Professional Tips: How to Support Client Families

When you become the Care Professional for a client, it’s not just the client who you work with. Supporting families is also an important part of the process.

When you become the Care Professional for a client, often it’s not just the client who enters your life. Interacting with the families (and sometimes, friends) of a client is often a normal part of the client/Care Professional relationship. Whether your client has family living nearby or many miles away, it’s important to know how to work with them while you are supporting their loved one.

The Client and Their Family – Every Care Call is Different

Every client is different, and so are their families. Here are the basics when it comes to dealing with the family of a client.

  1. Some families seek extra care for their loved ones because they aren’t able to do so themselves – they might live far away, have other commitments, or be otherwise unable to assist their loved ones. It’s important not to make presumptions about the situation between a client and their family, or their motivation for enlisting help.
  2. Many family members (often grown-up children or a spouse) reach out to companies like Home Instead when they need some support in caring for elderly loved ones. This might be providing care alongside what they do themselves, or you might find that a family member arranges external care so they can have some time off – this is particularly the case when family members live together, and the carer needs a bit of a break.
  3. Recognising the differences between the families you have contact with can have many different levels. If your client comes from a culture or religion different to your own, there might be significant differences which impact the way they receive care. This should be laid out for you in the care plan from the beginning of their journey with Home Instead. For example, people of a Jewish background might not consent to the use of artificial nutrition (such as a feeding tube) in those receiving end-of-life care. Being aware of differences such as these will ensure that you aren’t making presumptions about the type of care they receive; instead, it grants dignity and respect to the client and their family.

Tips on Supporting a Client’s Family

Family members are vital part of a client’s family – they might be the ones who have arranged Home Instead care calls, and so you can expect to have dealings with an immediate family member for most clients that you support. Here are our best tips for creating strong relationships.

  1. Listening is the most important skill for a Care Professional, whether you’re listening to a client or their family. Don’t make presumptions – always listen first and make sure you’re clear about what the situation is.
  2. One of the selling points of Home Instead is that we guarantee our clients will have a regular Care Professional assigned to them, rather than a different person each time. Having a familiar face who they know and trust will put the client (and their family) at ease. Even so, for some clients who require a more extensive care package, you might find yourself as part of a team who care for a client. Whether you’re the predominant Care Professional or part of a group, it’s important to build a relationship with the family of the client if you can.
  3. If you’re looking for local places to recommend to your client’s family to get out and about, Merton’s Memory Café is a good place to start. Pop in any Tuesday morning for a chat.

Going the Extra Mile – Tips for a Great Care Professional / Client Family Relationship

Here are a few extra tips to help you form a smooth and productive relationship with your client’s family.

  1. Tip 1: Remember the little things. If your client’s daughter tells you that she has a job interview coming up, try to remember to ask her how it went. If your client’s grandson is studying at university, remember to ask about his progress. Making mental notes about the things that are important to your client and their family will help to secure a firm bond and build friendly relationships.
  2. Tip 2: Gauge the requirements of each individual. Some family members are looking for a lot of reassurance, perhaps if this is the first time they have had to manage the care of an elderly/unwell family member. Other client families will be more confident and require less input. Work out what your client and their families need to make sure everyone is confident with the situation.
  3. Tip 3: Separate fact and opinions. Sometimes client families want to know your opinion on their family member – do they seem well to you, how does the progression of their dementia compare to other clients, are they eating enough, etc. While you might be an experienced Care Professional, remember to answer questions within your means and not give false information. It’s fine to say “In my opinion…” where appropriate, but it’s also important to signpost family members to the appropriate authorities (such as the GP, Care Manager, etc). Making comparisons between clients should be done within the limits of confidentiality.


Some clients will have family members that you see regularly, whereas others will be names you can’t put a face to. Whatever the situation, work to get the best outcome for your client as you support them in their own home.

If you are passionate about caring, perhaps a role in care is for you. Click on the link to get in touch to find out more.