Dealing With Emotional Barriers.


Controlling Your Feelings

        Being a Personal Care Worker can be stressful and demanding, both physically and emotionally. To stay motivated and to provide quality care, keep a positive attitude and take good care of yourself.

        When you feel overwhelmed, ask for help and be open to suggestions. Consider ways to work smarter (not harder), and use your time wisely. Balance work and your personal life. Leave personal problems at home, and leave work-related issues at work.

        Being a Personal Care Worker requires a sincere desire to help others and a genuine interest in the sick and aged. You must be able to treat all people with dignity, including people with physical, mental, or emotional problems.

        Your attitude affects the behavior and well-being of the clients. Whenever you feel frustrated, try to understand why you feel that way. Do not take out your anger or irritation on others.

        If your feelings are out of control, do whatever is necessary to secure the area, explain that you are up-set, and excuse yourself at the earliest opportunity.

        Never express anger toward the clients. Find a quiet place until you are in control of your feelings. If you are unable to cope, ask your supervisor for advice.

        Always treat clients with patience, caring, empathy (sharing another’s emotions), concern, and kindĀ­ ness. The clients’ well being is your primary concern. If you have a problem coping with difficult behavior, ask your supervisor for help.

Set your feelings aside, and always provide the best possible care.

        Good interaction with the clients is vital. Emotional barriers can block communication and prevent positive interaction. As a PCW, it is important not to let your feelings interfere with providing the best possible care for each client.

        Everyone has the same basic needs, but each person is different than anyone else. Differences in the way people look, think, or behave sometimes cause misunderstandings, fear, or frustration. You may have negative feelings about certain beliefs, religions, races, cultures, backgrounds, or experiences. RegardĀ­ less of your personal feelings, each client has the right to quality care.

        Listen to clients with an open mind. Respond to problems or complaints in a caring and courteous manner. Supportive feedback strengthens self-esteem and builds good relationships. Following are examples of caring responses to problems and concerns.

  • Tell me more about the problem.”
  • “How can I help?”
  • “You seem upset, and I want to help you.”

        Avoid being defensive. People tend to lash out whenever anything threatens their self-esteem. Defensive behavior can destroy relationships and affect work performance. Respond to hurtful comments in a calm and controlled manner. Try to resolve issues without feeling angry or hurt. If you make a mistake, admit it, learn from it, and move on.

        If your supervisor offers suggestions, accept the comments without feeling defensive or making excuses. Constructive feedback is an opportunity to improve your work performance.

        Make clients feel good about themselves, and avoid situations that make them feel defensive. Create an atmosphere in which clients feel accepted and confident to talk freely about their thoughts and feelings.

        Consider your attitude toward illness and health care. As a PCW, you will interact regularly with people who depend on you for physical and emotional care. If you enjoy helping people, being a PCW is very satisfying. If not, you should consider another career for your own sake as well as the clients’ well-being.

        Avoid the following behaviors that are emotional barriers to communication:

  • Acting impatient, irritated, or annoyed;
  • Ignoring, acting bored;
  • Threatening, shouting, or using harsh language;
  • Judging or giving advice;
  • Arguing;
  • Interrupting;
  • Changing the subject;
  • Belittling;
  • Being defensive.