Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
There are many opinions about this...
1. Paid caregivers should never be friends with their clients/ residents/ patients
2. Most clients/ residents/ patients would rather receive care from someone they had a friendly relationship with.
Professional caregivers are trained to avoid personal relationships with their clients. There are lots of good reasons why this policy is standard in health care agencies: emotional investment could skew clinical judgment, agency staff might make private arrangements for employment, thus leaving the agency out of the picture, or the caregiver might give ‘unequal’ quality of care to favored clients who are also friends.
The concerns are legitimate, but is there a way to be friends without offering favoritism. There are many versions of friendship in our lives, work friends, church friends, friends from your children's school, friends that have been friends forever, friends from the gym etc... In each of these relationships we interact in a different way. The long term friends may know everything about you, newer friends may not.
The friendships we have with our residents are caring, kind, considerate and thoughtful, the friendships offers enrichment to both the resident and caregiver, through conversations, moments of success and through harder times. The friendships we develop with residents and families, enrich us not because the residents or families want to do this, because it just happens.
Each family, each family member, each resident enters our community with their stories of their lives. We get to know the happy times, the hard times and everything in between. Each day we are touched by the texture of the lives of all that we serve, and are inspired by it to to more.