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Top Tips for Transitioning into Providing Care for a New Family

If you’ve recently been hired to provide in-home care for a family, it may be an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Working with a new family means learning how to best communicate with them while providing outstanding care to the client.

Families that are in need of a professional caregiver or home health care nurse are either hiring a professional for the first time or are looking to hire because the previous care provider wasn’t a good fit. Either scenario can be highly emotional and difficult for a family. It’s important to be patient and honest while remaining confident in your abilities as a home care provider.

Be Open and Ask for Information

From the moment you meet a new family, you need to be transparent about your practices and what you are able to provide. Speak with the family about their expectations of you and be specific about the services you will provide to them.

Ask for the phone number of the person who can be contacted should you have a question or if an issue arises. Get a list of the client’s health care providers’ contact information and ask the family to display emergency numbers in a prominent place in the home (such as on the fridge).

Get to Know the Client

While it’s important to have a trusting relationship with a client’s family and loved ones, your relationship with the client is ultimately the most important. A good relationship with your client can impact his or her wellbeing and can reduce potential stresses of the job. Ask the client’s loved ones to fill out this card and to tell stories of the client to help you better understand the person you’re helping.

Related: What Families Want Caregivers and Home Health Care Nurses to Know

Write Down Medications and Confirm Them Multiple Times

As many as 40 percent of patients over 65 have had medication errors after leaving the hospital. Even if providing medication is not a part of your job, it’s important to understand how medications could affect the client and it’s critical to know them in the case of an emergency. If you will be managing medication, get clear, written instructions from the family and confirm them multiple times. Some medications need to be taken during certain hours of the day and not all are taken the same way.

Managing medications can be challenging, so you may ask the family to invest in a pill organizer or to look into services such as PillPack which packages the medications by how and when they should be taken.

Understand the Equipment & Provide Insight

Your client may need Durable Medical Equipment (DME) such as a wheelchair or oxygen equipment. If you are unfamiliar with the equipment, do your research and ask the family to show you specifics on how the equipment should be handled. Even if you are familiar with the equipment, you should still go over the details to ensure the safety of you and the client.

Remember that you are being hired because of your expertise. If you have ideas on ways to rearrange furniture or pieces in the home to make the client more comfortable, share them with the family in a friendly manner. The family may not want to make changes, but speaking up will display your thoughtfulness and desire to care for the client.


You should be extremely proud of yourself for being hired and invited into someone’s home. You’ve worked hard and now have the important job of providing care for a client who is loved. While you may be nervous, trust that the family hired you because they have confidence in your abilities. Be patient and honest, and know that you will soon grow comfortable with the new family.

If you enjoy helping others and making a difference in people’s lives, working for Preferred could be a perfect fit. Learn about Preferred and view our current openings.

Resources for Feeling Good on the Job:
The Best Podcasts for Home Health Care Workers
How to Manage Stress as a Home Health Care Worker

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