“Caregiver / Client Boundaries”

Boundaries create a healthy caregiver-client relationship by setting physical and emotional limits. In home care, it is wonderful to see emotional bonds begin to develop. However, when professional boundaries are not respected, problems are likely to arise.

Possible reasons for boundary problems include:

  • Personalities
  • Mental disorders
  • Cultural differences

Signs of boundary problems:

  1. Caregivers giving too much personal information to the client or family,
  2. Caregivers communicating directly to the family instead of the office,
  3. Caregivers discussing their schedules with the client or family instead of referring them to their Scheduling Coordinators
  4. Caregivers cancelling visits with the client instead of referring them to management,
  5. Giving ANY kind of advice including medical,
  6. Repeated gift giving from client or family, or from caregiver to client,
  7. Clients asking personal questions of the caregiver, and
  8. Client or family expecting visits or social time outside of the care setting 

All employees must:

  • Realize what their role is
  • Consult a supervisor if they have any questions
  • Handle issues as they happen, such as acknowledging the importance of feelings, but responding in a professional manner, and
  • Seek professional counseling if needed.

Knowing what to share with a client and what not to share with a client can often be tricky. You will be spending a lot of time with your client and probably develop a friendship with them. However, maintaining boundaries and professionalism is just as important. When a caregiver shares too much information they can often jeopardize their professionalism. The below sections will give you a general idea of items that you can share and what you should not share. You will need to determine for yourself how much information is the right amount to share.

 What is ok to share

  1. Name
  2. Why you entered the field
  3. How long you have been in the field
  4. Hobbies
  5. Interests

What is not ok to share…

  1. Where you live
  2. Personal health problems
  3. Personal relationship or family problems

Your central purpose for having a good relationship with your client is to provide quality care. You don’t necessarily need to ask very personal questions. If they share personal information with you that is ok. Be polite and listen.

Be Courteous & Respectful

The word “courteous” means: “to be polite, respectful, or considerate in manner.”  Professional caregivers are all of these. This means that you take your shoes off at the door (unless they tell you not to), not putting your feet up on their coffee table (like what I did one time and was asked off the case the next day), leaving dishes out or anything else that could be considered discourteous.

Remember that their house is not your house. Treat it like a work area because it is. Be courteous.