Dealing With Patients With Challenging Behaviors

Caregiving is already a challenge for family members. However, it becomes even more daunting if the patient is not fully cooperative. That can become even more stressful when dealing with wards who might be outright combative. Home health care provider Amavi guides better dealing with these situations. 

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Understanding Why Patients Exhibit Challenging Behaviors

The first thing that you need to know is what exactly constitutes challenging patient behavior. While your ward might sometimes exhibit uneasy behavior, they might not be considered difficult. That is because such behaviors are often temporary, lasting only a few minutes. 

With some patients, however, those behaviors can become recurring. This results in a strenuous relationship with their caregiver, which hampers the care process. Furthermore, this can result in a rift between you and your ward. 

The Types Of Difficult Patients

While each patient is unique, you can categorize their difficult behavior into four types. Note that these categories are not set in stone. Your loved one might exhibit behavior found in different types. But by determining the main one present, you can approach the situation better. 

Resistant Patients

These are patients who will resist any form of care administered to them. They will often be angry at you for no apparent reason. You might often notice them with clenched fists or furrowed brows. They might also start shouting at you as you approach. This confrontational attitude can often deter you from proceeding. 

The Clingy Patients

This type is the opposite of the first one. They become too dependent on you and act clingy. You will notice them calling out to you even for small things. Depending on their condition, some patients might indeed require continued assistance for even small things. However, the clingy patient will have ever-increasing demands. That makes it harder for you to do your other tasks. 

Manipulative Patients

Some patients can also become manipulative to get what they want. They would often guilt-trip you into following their demands. Worse case is that they might use threats. Often, this manipulation is in an attempt to circumvent restrictions. They might also use it to get other family members to their side. 

The Destructive Denier

The fourth type of difficult patient is the one who denies that there is wrong with them. While denial is indeed a common occurrence, this type of patient will still do the things that are harmful to them. For instance, a patient with lung cancer might try and continue smoking. This behavior can often lead to complications that can be avoidable. 

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The Common Difficult Behaviors That You Will Encounter

Now that you know the types of difficult patients, you should also know what behaviors to watch out for. Some of the common ones to be aware of include the following.

  • Overreaction: They might respond in a strong manner even to trivial matters. 
  • Repetitive behavior: Your ward might start doing certain things over and over.
  • Aggressiveness: They might start pushing or shoving you. The patient might also use abusive language. 
  • Paranoia: Your ward might start becoming suspicious of their surroundings. 
  • Restlessness: The patient might become agitated and start moving around. 

These behaviors might indicate more significant issues that you have to deal with. As such, it would be a good idea to seek professional help immediately should you notice these. 

Identifying Potential Triggers Of Difficult Behavior

Another vital part of creating a management strategy for these behaviors is identifying where they start. Here, it is worth pointing out that such actions is not due to malice. Often, it is mainly a response to their condition. 

Some of the most common triggers include the following.

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Physical discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Pain 
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Uncomfortable environment

The presence of these triggers can indicate a more serious condition. Thus, it would help to consult your doctor before determining how to best respond to these. 

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Ways To Engage A Patient With Difficult Behavior

When confronted with difficult behavior, you have several different options on responding. 

  • Redirect: Draw your loved one’s attention to something else. 
  • Reassure: Make them feel cared for and that you are ready to help them. 
  • Relocate: Move your loved one to a different environment if it is the one triggering their behavior.
  • Reconsider: Put yourself in their shoes and consider how you might act. 
  • Provide: Meet their needs.

Here, be careful in choosing an option for a given situation. Your goal is to tell your loved one you are not trying to avoid their behavior. Instead, the move should come naturally for them. 

Developing Positive Communication With Your Loved One

Another important step when dealing with a loved one’s challenging behavior is maintaining positive communication. Here, it can sometimes overwhelm you end up exhibiting negative sentiments yourself. 

To avoid such situations, you should always remain calm. Understanding what your loved one is going through helps a lot here. Here, remember that what you are doing will help them greatly. With that, you can maintain a more positive attitude and give them statements that help them. 

However, also be transparent with them. If they feel you are faking it, they might revert to the negative actions. Thus, inform them of any situation that might affect them. Through a genuinely positive attitude, you can help them come to terms with these situations. 

Managing Specific Behaviors

Aside from the above general approaches, you should be ready to deal with more specific behaviors. Here, consider the unique combination of behaviors that your loved one has. That will help you better approach their situation. 

Dealing With repetitive Behavior

If your loved one keeps repeating a behavior, you can try redirecting them into doing something else. For instance, you can encourage them to try a new game or go out for a walk. Be patient if they do not immediately warm up to the new activity. 

Dealing With Aggression

If your loved one is exhibiting aggression, your best move is to redirect their attention. You would also want to reassure them that you are on their side. Help them better understand where their aggression comes from and how they can better cope.

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Getting Help From The Best Home Health Care Provider

At some point, your loved one’s actions might be tough for you to handle on your own. Getting help from a home health care provider is always a good idea. At Amavi, we work with expert clinical psychologists to better understand our wards.

Through consultations, we can help you better understand what is going on. From there, we devise a care regimen that would best suit them. Our team will also assign an expert caregiver to assist you. Contact us today and get the best home health care for your loved one. 


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