How Can You Manage Challenging Personality Types in Aging Services?

October 5, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Communication and documentation are key to minimizing risk when dealing with aging services residents and family members with challenging personality types, said Jonathan Rubin, JD, senior partner, Kaufman, Borgeest & Ryan LLP, speaking September 27, 2016, at the annual conference of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management in Orlando, Florida. He and his cospeakers discussed and outlined strategies for three personality types that are commonly encountered in aging services. Passive-aggressive people express hostility indirectly; "they're unwilling to be upfront or candid," said Jose Guzman, RN, BS, MS, CPHRM, DFASHRM, assistant vice president, Hudson Insurance Group. Therefore, he said, "you need to directly confront the passive-aggressive behavior." Although they often deny having concerns when first confronted, it is important to "still offer a solution" and emphasize that you are willing to discuss their concerns. Narcissists "have an inflated sense of their own importance," said Carol Doty, BSN, RN, JD, partner, Kaufman, Borgeest & Ryan LLP. They are concerned only with how they personally will be affected and may tune out information that they feel does not matter to them, she added. Communication strategies include using a discussion checklist to guide conversations, being direct and concise, explaining why the issue is important to them personally, having them repeat back what is said, and reiterating instructions. People with the Schadenfreude personality type are those who feel pleasure in others' misfortune.

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