A great home carer is priceless.
The emotional, physical and practical support they provide not only meets basic needs but can combat loneliness, build self-esteem and even prolong life.
It’s a challenging job that depends on the right combination of personality and experience.
So what does it take to be an outstanding home carer? And what personal qualities should you be looking for when researching the best home care services?
Here we outline the five essential attributes that can make a good carer a great carer: the qualities needed to build trusting relationships that make a world of difference.
Empathy and Respect
Caring for another human being is a serious responsibility. The relationship needs to be treated like any other: with respect, empathy and compassion.
A good mantra for carers is ‘put yourself in their shoes’.
Imagine being 70, 80, 90 years old and in need of personal care yourself. What would you find challenging? What would you miss from your younger years? How would you cope with potentially distressing changes to your body, brain and behaviour?
A carer who sees the person behind the client, who appreciates their life experiences and who can connect on a personal, one-to-one basis is invaluable.
Fail to do this and a carer may come across as patronising, however unintentionally: an approach that must be avoided to inspire mutual respect and understanding
Empathy and respect are central to quality home care. And having this compassion for the unwelcome effects of ageing, whether mental, physical or both, can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on wellbeing and health.
Research by Age UK shows that of the 3.6 million older people who live alone in the UK, 1.9 million often feel ‘ignored or invisible’. It also reveals that loneliness can be as harmful for health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
An excellent personal care assistant can play a significant role in improving these figures by delivering not just personalised care but the companionship necessary for the elderly to live the life they want.
Patience and Positivity
Old age can be a confusing and difficult time.
Tasks that could once be done without a second thought have become mountains to climb. Memory lapses are commonplace. Physical difficulties arise on a daily basis.
This can trigger frustration, irritability and even aggression. Emotions that carers must be skilled at dealing with gently and professionally.
The carer who can keep a cool head in these challenging situations is the one who’ll be delivering the very best home care service.
This crucial patience will help to diffuse, soothe and calm.
Hand-in-hand with patience is the importance of having a positive demeanour. The personal care assistant who turns up looking like they’ve got the weight of the world on their shoulders is unlikely to get a warm welcome.
Instead, an upbeat attitude that’s reflected on a smiling face and in a warm tone will make any visit a more pleasurable one. This is especially important for those elderly people who are struggling with isolation and depression.
And if a carer is faced with a healthy dose of un-cooperation from their client, whether they refuse to eat, drink or take a bath, this PMA will help to encourage getting the essentials done.
Reliability and Resourcefulness
Reliability is pivotal to a successful arrangement between carer and client. An outstanding home carer will turn up at the agreed time, have the courtesy to say when they’re running late and administer all essential tasks without fail.
Responsible for ensuring their client eats, drinks, takes the right medication and attends appointments on time, they must be dependable.
When it comes to elderly care, there’s no room for disorganisation. A delayed visit, tablet or meal will compromise the quality of care and could easily impact the client’s health and wellbeing.
The common sense that drives reliability needs to extend to resourcefulness. Being able to think quickly on your feet, deal with unexpected situations and react to sudden changes in a client’s physical or mental health is key.
Noticing when a client is showing signs of deterioration, such as decreasing appetite or increasing confusion, could prevent an unnecessary emergency.
This level of close observation is made easier when a client receives regular, repeat visits from the same carer. Choose private home care from Holm and clients can select which dedicated home carer they want to use, allowing a close bond to form more quickly.
Behavioural and physical changes, however subtle, will therefore be picked up more quickly thanks to consistency of personal care.
Care and Commitment
It should go without saying that an outstanding carer has to actually care.
And this goes deeper than just saying “I’m a caring person”. It must be reflected in actions and attitudes based on commitment to a job that’s as demanding as it is rewarding.
If a carer sees it as ‘just a job’, service levels will suffer. There has to be a genuine passion for helping people to the very best of their ability.
They’ll be dedicated to building a two-way relationship based on trust and respect. They’ll know their clients’ likes and dislikes, routines and regimes. They’ll give them choice and control wherever possible, protect their dignity and human rights, and encourage them to express their views openly.
This caring approach will extend to sensitively dealing with personal care requirements such as bathing and using the toilet.
All carers approved by and booked via Holm spend a minimum of one hour per visit, ensuring they all go well beyond the basics. Additional time means less rush, more chat and stronger relationships.
Experience and Qualifications
Beyond these essential personal qualities, gaining experience in caring for specific types of people can help a competent carer become a superb one.
Expertise in dementia care or a track record in looking after elderly people with learning disabilities can significantly elevate care standards.
Clients will have the peace of mind that their carer has the right knowledge, skills and experience to do an excellent job.
To facilitate this, Holm asks clients to select a specific caregiver based on their credentials and suitability. This ensures the very best level of home care service.
A dedication to continuous professional development is also desirable to further enhance skills and keep up-to-date with best practice. Building on existing qualifications reflects a commitment to learn and improve.
With these crucial qualities, caregivers can deliver the highest standards of elderly care.
Holm only welcomes the very best to join their team of self-employed carers. If they pass rigorous tests, they can register to offer their quality home care services to clients across Greater Manchester.
Here’s a recap of the five qualities needed by an exceptional home carer:
- Empathy and respect for the elderly
- Patience and positivity to build trusting relationships
- Reliability and resourcefulness to offer quality home care
- Care and commitment to deliver the best personal care
- Experience and qualifications to be a skilled home carer
Think you’ve got what it takes? Get in touch with our friendly team for an initial chat.
Looking for an exceptional, personal carer for your loved one? Search our website for your perfect match.