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In our most recent webinar, ‘The Caregiver in the Room: Considerations for Providers Working with Families,’ our facilitator, Leanne Knobloch, Ph.D., asked participants to share their experiences and thoughts.

Below are two of the discussions from this webinar concerning communicating with care-recipients and ways they face of care recipients is threatened.

What would you add to the following discussion questions?

What are the challenges of communicating with a care recipient in front of a family caregiver?

  • Family speaking for patient, not allowing patient to talk
  • Confidentiality
  • Honesty
  • The care recipient is being disrespected or left out of the conversation
  • Care recipient isn’t totally forthcoming due to caregiver involvement
  • Occasionally, the caregiver has asked us ‘Please do not say anything to the care recipient about this….BUT here’s why I’m worried…”
  • The care recipient may be embarrassed about the caregiver sharing/talking in front of them
  • Concern that recipient feeling like a burden
  • Confidentiality, patient empowerment
  • Caregiver and recipient often have very different perspectives of what’s happening and speaking in front of each other can cause conflict and misunderstanding.


Dr. Knobloch discussed ‘Protecting Face’ and detailed how a ‘face threat’ occurs when someone contests, rejects, or criticizes our desired public image.

With that in mind, consider this discussion question.

What are some common ways that the face of care recipients is threatened?

  • No one asks them their opinion directly
  • Desire to fully participate/independence
  • Treated like their opinion doesn’t matter
  • Disability becomes their perceived image
  • Autonomy taken away
  • Dependent/powerless
  • Not respecting their ‘wishes’
  • Revelation of certain behaviors – specific comments or interactions with family – previously ‘private’ or anonymous choices
  • They ask but don’t realize care recipient’s mental ability to not answer correctly
  • When talking with family about specific issues that are uncomfortable
  • People make judgements on decisions made if it isn’t done the same way they would have chosen to do it. I have couples who each think they do a better job than working together, making each other feel guilty.
  • Fear of being judged or misunderstood.


Throughout the webinar participants were also asked the following questions:

  • What are ways to protect the face of care recipients and family caregivers?
  • During a recent session, you notice that a family caregiver is showing signs of burnout. What could you say to support him/her without threatening the care recipient’s face?
  • When you encounter distressed care recipients or family caregivers, how do you help them see their situation in a new light?


Check out the webinar recording to find out what they said!


We would love to hear your thoughts about these discussion questions. Do you agree with the responses participants left? Is there any further insight you would add to these questions?

Leave your thoughts below in the comment section!

 This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on May 5, 2017.