HCBS Training

Solving Problems by Building Positive Relationships

two women talking
Helping Relationship Questionnaire

Despite a person's best intentions to help people improve the quality of their lives, every staff member will find themselves struggling at times because what they are doing doesn't work well for a person they are supporting. Both the staff member providing and person receiving services may feel frustrated and angry when this occurs.  It can be helpful to spend time focusing on and rebuilding relationships with others by creating more positive connections. Building positive rapport is an important skill needed to provide effective HCBS. The Helping Relationship Questionnaire (HRQ) can be used way to work on this issue when challenges between staff and people supported occur.

The HRQ is a tool that helps to build an alliance between the people providing and receiving support. The process begins when a staff person realizes they have more to learn about how a relationship is working from the viewpoint of the person who is receiving support. The staff member invites the person, either on their own or with support from someone else, to problem solve ways that are meant to improve the quality of a relationship. Connections can be improved by considering issues related to:

  • Dependability,
  • Trustworthiness, and
  • Genuine interest in the person receiving support.

To access this tool and other related resources, please visit the Module 8 Resource Page .

A Minnesota team was supporting a young woman, Jolina, who had a long history of receiving HCBS and had developed problems over time forming trusting, positive relationships with the staff people who supported her. Eventually, all the staff found themselves struggling to interact positively with Jolina. They found it hard to do things in a way that Jolina felt was supportive. Jolina’s staff were asked to meet with her one by one and let her know that they really wanted to work on improving their relationship. Jolina was invited to fill out the HRQ. The staff spaced out meetings with Jolina to review the HRQ results so that she did not feel stressed by the process. The goal was to make sure Jolina understood that her staff really wanted to know her better and were willing to change in ways that helped her. This process was the first step in improving supports for Jolina. Over time, Jolina reported that she felt that people were working hard to make more positive connections with her and that she felt more comfortable when staff members were around.