Caring for older or vulnerable people is an incredibly rewarding career path, letting you provide a valuable helping hand and cheery face to those in need. The role can bring a number of challenges though. Knowing what to expect before you take a position and finding ways to overcome potential problems will help to make your career as a care worker run much smoother, so that you can enjoy the opportunity to make a positive difference.
When the Service User Resists Care
If a service user is new to homecare or assisted living, they may be more resistant to you delivering care as a care worker. For older people, this is commonly due to a fear of losing their independence, so it is essential to reassure them and find ways to accommodate their preferences around your own care duties.
A large part of your role as a care worker is to build and maintain trust – if you can build and maintain a good relationship with the service user, it is often easier to fulfil your duties and ensure their personal happiness at the same time.
If a service user is resistant to your care it is important to remain calm and relax the situation. Sitting down and talking to them, asking them directly how you can help with their needs, is a chance to validate your position and responsibilities as a care worker. Once you actively show your support and concern for their wellbeing, they are much more likely to cooperate.
Arranging Transport to Each Appointment
Many care worker roles will specify that you need to be able to drive in order to take the position. Having your own means of transport can indeed make the job far easier – you will have the flexibility of handling your own travel without having to rely on public transport.
However, there are still career prospects as a care worker if you cannot drive, but it may make things a bit more difficult. It is your responsibility to be able to get to your calls so the best advice would be to plan your days in advance so that you can work out your route between each care call, sourcing the necessary transport. Depending on the locality of the service users and the accessibility of the area, you may be able to walk between calls on some occasions.
Regardless of how you plan to travel between appointments, you will need to work out how long it will take so that you ensure you arrive on time, accounting for periods of heavy traffic where applicable.
Managing Varied Shifts and Hours
Time management skills are vital as a care worker. You will be required to organise your time so that you attend all of the necessary care visits in a single day. Due to the nature of the role, many service users will need aid at varied hours of the day so your working pattern is unlikely to ever be a routine 9 to 5.
You may need to work longer shifts, irregular hours, and during the weekends, so this is something you must consider before taking a role. As a result of this, some care workers find it challenging to fit in personal responsibilities around work. By planning your time in advance and learning to balance your work life and your personal life, you are more likely to be successful – and satisfied – in a care worker role.
Communicating with External Healthcare Professionals
As you will be seeing service users regularly, you may be the first to notice changes to their health or circumstances. If this is the case, you are responsible for liaising with the necessary office staff and external healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors or social care workers.
Knowing who to contact in these occasions is essential. You may not need to be in direct contact with external healthcare teams but be able to report back to your care agency or employer, who will then communicate directly with the necessary people. From the offset you should understand what the protocol is for these situations so that you are readily prepared.
Coping with a Decline in Health
It is not uncommon to build a strong relationship with the service user you care for, so it can be particularly upsetting if their health takes a dramatic decline, especially in the case of older or very ill people. Coping in these situations can be difficult and it may impact upon your other duties as a care worker. Finding the right balance between compassion and professionalism is a good way to prepare yourself for these sudden changes if and when they happen.
Start Your Care Worker Career
We have a number of care worker positions across the country, so with our help you will be able to find the ideal position to fit your preferences and lifestyle. Find out more about what it means to be a care worker before applying to your next role.
At CRG Homecare we are here to help you through the full recruitment process and provide ongoing support when you are in a role. If you need help with your job search or the application process, do not hesitate to get in touch with us using our online form.