Dealing with families in aged care - a case study

27 Jul 2018 2:33 PM
Dealing with families in aged care - a case study

Hazards and risk management are a large part of an aged care workers job. They can be stressful to manage. The following case study demonstrates that when xxxx hits the fan, learn from it, and wear a raincoat for the next time. lol

The WHS unit in the Cert 3 course is very comprehensive and focuses on risk management and different types of hazards. These hazards include physical, environmental and workplace injuries. However, the following case study will show that two other hazards, and the subsequent risks, should be added to the unit content - Dealing with families and poor communication.

Families are a vital part of a resident’s care team and should be working with the team to ensure best quality care. Many families visit their loved ones in nursing homes and assist with feeding or take their loved ones out for a social occasion.

However, some families are a genuine hazard. They can be demanding and expect staff to jump at their every command. This adds extra stress to the care worker’s day, extra jobs and if there is poor communication then XXXX can hit the fan.

Case study

The medical risks were high, the hazards were frequent, the family very demanding-and the carer was brand new to the unit.

The wrong meal was made up by the kitchen. The care worker, in a rush, did not check the resident’s dietary requirements and gave the meal to the family to feed the resident. WRONG!


The resident did not suffer as the family picked up the mistake but the fallout on the manager was huge and the care worker was moved to another section.


In this case, poor communication between the kitchen, management and the care worker was a hazard as well. There was no sit down meetings between all parties just lots of angry texts and phone calls. This added to stress levels of the care worker who was only just learning the routine of a high care dementia unit.

Lessons were learnt all-round. Demanding families can be a hazard and the risks can be high. Changes can happen very quickly in aged care so good communication lines across every department are essential.