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To think speaking English 'well' may not be necessary for carers?

(79 Posts)
SameDifference Sat 03-Aug-13 18:29:43

My latest blog post covers the immigration debate from the point of view of this immigrant who grew up in Britain, and Chris Bryant's example of carers needing to be able to speak English well.

I don't think speaking English well is as necessary for carers as it is for other immigrants. Here's why:

insancerre Sun 04-Aug-13 17:00:04

for all the reasons already listed
looking at it from a different angle, here is what the law says about caring for young children
from the EYFS
*Providers must ensure that staff have sufficient understanding and use
of English to ensure the well-being of children in their care. For example
settings must be in a position to keep records in English, to liaise with otheragencies in English, to summon emergency help, and to understand
instructions such as those for the safety of medicines or food hygiene*

gordyslovesheep Sun 04-Aug-13 16:56:48

at 16 you would have not been allowed to do any personal care - so I am not suprised you feel caring is just ironing and making tea - actual real care work is more complex and requires good communication skills

creighton Sun 04-Aug-13 16:44:02

people need to speak good English for their own benefit even if they can carry out their 'duties' as dumb mutes. being servants/carers to other people is only part of their existence.

zatyaballerina Sun 04-Aug-13 14:51:53

Of course it's necessary they speak a good standard of English to do their job properly. Communication is essential, as is being able to read and understand instructions for medication etc.

BigBoobiedBertha Sun 04-Aug-13 13:52:35

How many care homes are there where the main language spoken is something other than English? Hardly any.

How many carers are there whose first language may not be English? A significant amount I should think.

Can you see the massive mismatch in numbers here? You might find a handful of carers, literally, who don't need to speak English well, who can deal with the patients and who have supervisors who deal with the world outside of their care home but out of the total number of carer jobs there are that has to be a tiny, tiny minority.

Those who don't have English as a first language can of course do the job but only if they learn a good level of English too. It is very useful to employ people who have another language but you can't do without the language of the country you are working in. Doesn't matter if it is this country or somewhere else in the world. I wouldn't go and work in France for example, and expect to get a carers job because although I can get by in French, I couldn't be trusted to know enough to work with vulnerable people who need me to get things absolutely right or have their lives put at risk. It would be too dangerous, even if I worked in a home for British expats. The home would be working within the French system, no matter what went on inside its doors.

Katese11 - I don't really call ironing or making tea a care job - I think you care confusing the argument by including that example. I think we are all talking about actual care work with patients, even the OP whose argument doesn't stand up at all.

ThreeMusketeers Sun 04-Aug-13 10:13:24

OP, you are completely and utterly wrong.

How could you possibly come to a conclusion that people who care for vulnerable individuals should not be required to be able to clearly communicate with people under their care????

One can't begin to imagine why would anyone think that a person who needs a carer wouldn't expect their carer to fully understand their wishes/requirements/medical needs?

Utter lunacy or lefties gone completely mad.
Same thing really.

Emilythornesbff Sun 04-Aug-13 10:12:49

I find the assertions of your blog on this subject quite offensive and demeaning to both those who need and those who provide care.
Really, what an irresponsible misuse of free speech.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sun 04-Aug-13 09:59:06

Yabu. Of course it's vital. They could be the most lovely person in the world and take amazing care of their patients but just imagine the horrendous position they would be in if they were unable to understand fully regarding medication or what someone couldn't eat and something happened. They would feel like crap the rest of their lives and someone could die as a result of a stupid avoidable mistake.

Of course being bilingual would be of huge benefit. Being able to translate to families or the patient and be of huge comfort if they spoke the same language. But instructions and medication is in English and they need to be able to understand.

dollyindub Sun 04-Aug-13 09:57:41

Good communication with vunerable people, whether it's children, disabled people or the older population is absolutely essential.
Everything else aside (meds, note writing, liaising with the MDT etc) being able to chat with and reassure someone who may be in pain, may be depressed and lonely, and could be having some very intimate/embarrassing care needs being taken care of is paramount.
I find your attitude patronising and ignorant.

katese11 Sun 04-Aug-13 09:56:49

I understand that, but what I was trying to say was that I was never in a position where I was alone with a resident - it was more like a kitchen hand job, but my title was still "carer". Hence wondering if the op had the two confused.

And working a) in retail on Oxford St and b) as a volunteer English teacher, I've come accross plenty of people whose grasp of English is shaky at best. They still managed to turn up for work/class on time.

Am not trying to start a fresh argument, just wondering if the op had the low-skill, low-contact "carer" job in mind. And was slightly annoyed that you quoted me just before the "but" which, as all good pedants know, changes the meaning of a whole sentence.

Mrsdavidcaruso Sun 04-Aug-13 09:48:52

It is very very important that carers speak english, my late FIL was deaf
and suffered from confusion due to a catheter, I had to intervene a few times when he was in the care home as he couldnt understand what his carer was saying and got upset.

Trigglesx Sun 04-Aug-13 09:45:41

I did read the whole sentence, but you're thinking with the idea that you're working the job and not using English. But look at it practically - how would you know exactly what your job entails when you started, or who your supervisor was, and what procedures to follow in an emergency, or what to do if someone was trying to tell you they were very ill and needed immediate assistance of medical personnel? Think about it from the moment you walked in to the job on your first day and you couldn't understand English or speak it - be honest, you'd be completely flying in the dark and no help whatsoever in an emergency.

katese11 Sun 04-Aug-13 09:38:49

Err, can you read the whole sentence before quoting me please?! Literally all I did was make cups of tea and iron. Yes, that could have been communicated to someone with no English....I barely saw a resident except to take a cup of tea to them. But I also said that that job is completely different to being someone's primary carer...was just wondering if the op had the two mixed up

Trigglesx Sun 04-Aug-13 09:35:13

Re carers, I worked in a care home when I was 16 and can safely say I could have done that job with no English

Oh please. Ridiculous. You are saying that you could work in a care home without speaking or understanding English? Maybe if you wanted to do a piss-poor job.....

katese11 Sun 04-Aug-13 09:25:40

I'm a Mumsnet blogger too, and I think the new guidance was that we could link to blog posts if they were relevant to a discussion already being had. I'm not sure whether starting an AIBU with a link is in that spirit.

Re carers, I worked in a care home when I was 16 and can safely say I could have done that job with no English...but I was one of a team and a v junior one at that. It's a world of difference to being solely responsible for someone. I made cups of tea and ironed sheets like a badass tho...

LuisSuarezTeeth Sun 04-Aug-13 09:13:30

I think that is your view totally blown out of the water OP.

To suggest that carers' English standards need not be very high is ignorant and downright dangerous. Your vision is very narrow here and you seem to be confusing your own issues of ethnicity to suit a general need.

Should we be able to match carers to clients by language? Yes if possible. But the carer MUST have good English as well.

KingRollo Sun 04-Aug-13 08:30:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sashh Sun 04-Aug-13 08:23:54

Care plans
Medication doses and times
Visitors log
washing preferences - bath/shower/favorite soap + religious preferences when washing
GP contact details
medical history
general notes on care received
food preferences

All of these are in English, or did you think carers just wiped bums and changed clothes?

LegArmpits Sun 04-Aug-13 07:45:37

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MrsKeithRichards Sun 04-Aug-13 07:35:22

mumsy not everyone is asked to working in care and those that aren't should never be forced into it.

It's one thing resenting your job and being pissed off when you're stacking tins of beans on a shelf. It's quite another when it's an actual human being you're dealing with.

Absolutely agree with Paula

Trigglesx Sun 04-Aug-13 07:35:12

*Just as ethnic minority clients have a need for native speakers and a right to request such carers from a council, so of course should English people have every right to request carers who speak English fluently as of course they have this need.

It's just that the fluent English speakers don't have to be immigrants.*

And what is this "native" speakers and "English speakers don't have to be immigrants" nonsense? You know, some people who have English as a first language actually take the initiative to LEARN other languages. shock Just as some immigrants may speak English fluently, if they've made the effort to learn.

God, talk about living life with blinders on. You don't have a clue about the job of a carer, and you seem to think that only non-immigrants speak fluent English and only immigrants speak a foreign language. Ah, living the life of everyone put in their own little box. hmm

Trigglesx Sun 04-Aug-13 07:30:43

All patients need a carer that speaks (and reads and writes) with a good grasp of English. Patients that do not speak English have a right to request a carer that speaks their language AS WELL, or the right to ask for a translator to allow them to communicate with their carer properly. But to say that it is acceptable, in any way, that a carer speaks only a foreign language and not much English, is completely and utterly wrong, as well as showing a huge lack of understanding of the role of a carer.

If you cannot take the time to understand the huge problems this would cause, then perhaps it's best you educate yourself on the subject before you blog about it.

Pagwatch Sun 04-Aug-13 07:18:08

I shouldn't have the right to request a carer who speaks excellent English.

It should be the default position that carers speak English fluently.

Perhaps you mean that people should have the right to request a carer who speaks another language fluently, if the person requiring care speaks another language.
That might make sense.
Your op does not.

exoticfruits Sun 04-Aug-13 05:28:06

YABU. It is absolutely essential that they speak good English, for all the reasons already listed.

MidniteScribbler Sun 04-Aug-13 05:20:03

Even if a person is only caring for a person/s who speak a language other than english, there are many aspects to the role that require a good grasp of english. Dispensing medication, communicating with other HCP, monitoring care plans, operating equipment, liaising with the community on behalf of the person (taking them to the doctors, shopping, etc), paying bills or liasing with community, legal and government agencies. A carer without english language skills could lead to the person being cared for to be even more isolated from the community than they were to begin with.

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