As a frontline worker you will find that the relationship between you and the client is a key element of the process of engaging and working with them. Connecting with and actively engaging your clients will make them feel at ease when they link with your service. There are a number of things we can do to build trusting relationships with service user:
Be patient centered in your service. This means understanding and acknowledging the clients views and concerns with regards to their care. It also means that where possible clients have involvement in any plans and decisions. One way of doing this is to make an action plan and this is. Engaging service users and involving them in this way will increase their motivation to reach these goals.
Boundaries are very important when working with people, especially if they are vulnerable. It’s important to establish boundaries in the first stages of contact. By setting clear agreements in the beginning, such as outlining the service you provide, it will allow you to referback to them again at a later point. If boundaries are being crossed, it is best to acknowledge this with your client as soon as possible.
Clients may tell us about experiences or thoughts which they have had. It is easy to be judgmental, especially if we are stressed with a heavy your case load or feeling tired. Opportunities for reflective practice such as journaling, peer support and supervision help us to look at ways to ensure we are open and aware of judgmental thoughts and manage these in a way that does not affect our relationship with the client. If a client feels judged, it they may also be less likely to share information in the future and this can make service provision more difficult with a breakdown in communication as clients limit the information they will share.
As a frontline worker you are likely to have a heavy caseload and the time you have with each service user is short. This may make it difficult to concentrate. Remembering to show clients that you are listening is important. Offering clients time, attention and respect gives a client an opportunity to voice their concerns and get in touch with their feelings. This in itself is often enough for people to get in touch with their own capacity and then work out what they need to do next. It is important that their opinions and worries are heard and that they feel that this matters to you. You can show you have been listening through body language, such as nodding your head and maintain eye contact and also by following up with something a client has said in a following session.