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“When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself” ― Earl Nightingale


Hospice is intensely personal, especially when it comes to visiting patients in their home. Patients and family members can be living under intense pressure. Hospice professionals can be challenged by a near infinite number of situations that can trigger a judgmental attitude.

Maybe you’re a spiritual counselor faced with someone who’s beliefs are the polar opposite of your own. You could be a social worker observing fraught interpersonal relationships coupled with financial stress and lack of support leaving children in the home with less supervision and attention than you think they need. Or you’re a nurse dealing with family members that are making different choices than you recommend such as not wanting a DNR, wanting more pain meds, wanting fewer, whatever.

Working intimately, all day every day with a vast array of family situations, each with their own needs, cultures and more, can be a challenge. Maintaining a non-judgmental outlook can be difficult but is imperative to delivering quality care.

4 Tips To Developing A Non-Judgmental Attitude

Tip #1. Be Mindful

Judging others is almost an autonomic response, like breathing. It happens unconsciously. Our judgment of others can occur before we even realize that we’ve made a judgment. Expanding your Mindfulness skills may not prevent you from feeling judgment, at least not at first, but it can help stopping you from saying the wrong thing in the moment.

Remember, trust is built in drops and lost in buckets. If you respond negatively in the moment, you can’t ever get those words back. And an unthinking negative response can undo the good you and your team have done and even limit the good you can do in the future.

Recognize your feelings and stop. Pause. Do not respond in the moment. Wait while you examine your own feelings and  try to understand or create a reasonable explanation for where the other person is coming from. There is always room to give people the benefit of doubt.

Click to read the Hospice Tools Article for more tips on how to develop mindfulness:

Tip #2. Accentuate The Positive

Judgments don’t have to be negative. You can judge for good as well. This takes practice and importantly, you need to feel positive in order to make positive judgments.

The positive or negative charge of our judgments all too often reflects our own emotional state rather than a dispassionate assessment of the situation. If you find yourself judging others negatively, recognize what the situation triggers in your self-reflection of your own life.

When you feel positive judging other with a good nature is easy.

Check out the hospice tools cheat sheet for a quick dose of positive energy:

Tip #3. Ju-Jitsu Judgment

Turn judgments around from fleeting negative emotions to practical goals. Recognize that you’re feeling a negative judgment and have a criticism, but being critical is not a goal. Use that trigger to recognize that with a concrete achievable goal, you can deliver better care.

If the family has a different opinion on the use of opiates, use that judgmental feeling to recognize that you need to better educate the patient and family on the use of meds.

If the patient has a spiritual belief or lack of belief that is opposed to your worldview, recognize your own internal struggle as a challenge to expand the spiritual language and tools you bring to your patients.

Whenever you are struck with a negative feeling of judgment, try to imagine what you are judging, why you feel that way, and how you can transform it into a positive lesson.

Tip #4. It’s Not About Right or Wrong

Judging other is not about the facts. Your reaction to other people’s behavior or choices is most often reflective of your own feelings, not an unbreakable universal truth..

Recognize that your judgment is arbitrary. Had you felt differently that day your judgment may have been different. It is your perception that determines if and how you judge others.

And we’ve all been judged. Try to remember how it feels. And try to remember how it feels to be supported, especially by people who may not have the same background, culture, or education. Feeling supported and heard is a powerful tool for a caregiver. Give your patients and their family members the gift of being heard.

For tips on how to show your patients that you hear them, check out the article here:

Practicing these skills and developing a non-judgmental attitude will create better outcomes for patients and their families while improving vital hospice CAHPS scores.

 Find out more about Hospice Tools, the powerful EMR, timesheets, & billing solution delivering user-friendly charting, improved compliance, smooth operations, maximized billing and more.

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