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Dealing with Difficult Service Users

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Dealing with Difficult Service Users

7th September 2019

Most of the time, service users are a delight to work with, since they understand that you are there to help. Occasionally, however, service users can get frustrated at their inability to help themselves.

A recent study carried out by the University of Stirling found that abuse against staff has become an expected trait of the job, with many care workers thinking of it as ‘normal’. The abuse is usually thought to be caused by service user’s own agitation and fear, but it has been shown to have a negative impact on employee health and morale.

Strategies to Cope with Abuse

It is important to us that our Lotus Home Care staff let their service users know that abuse is not okay. This works both ways, and if a service user is feeling uncomfortable, they also have the right to speak out. If you are likely to be nervous when faced with an abusive service user, it can be a good idea to practice saying strong, affirmative statements, such as “I insist on a little respect”.

Sometimes, the verbal abuse can be part of a long, nasty rant. In that case, it is better to say nothing at all. The service user will end up feeling silly if they do not get the reaction they expected and are unlikely to repeat the behavior often. Whenever possible, call for another member of staff to come and witness the abuse with you. There is a safety in numbers and this silent comradery helps to boost your own self-worth.

If you are certain you have done nothing wrong, it might be worth talking about the abuse with the service user later, when they are calmer. Try to get to the bottom of their dissatisfaction and see if there is anything you can do to help – that is why you are there, after all.

Professional Lines of Enquiry

Every care provider should have a policy that deals with abuse, verbal or otherwise. Care staff should make themselves aware of this policy, so they know where they stand. There should also be somewhere to make a note of abusive incidents, so that other care workers know about it and that management can take further action if necessary.

At Lotus Home Care, we understand that verbal abuse can be an unfortunate part of the job, but it shouldn’t take away from how rewarding the role is. We ensure all our staff are fully trained in every aspect of care, so that verbal abuse is quickly and swiftly dealt with. If you are interested in working for a company that cares, contact us today.

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