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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:

SameDifference Sat 03-Aug-13 18:30:15

Sorry this is the working link

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 03-Aug-13 18:35:09

Yabu sorry.

You're not wrong that there may well be immigrants in care home who would prefer carers who spoke their own language. That's fine. It doesn't negate the fact that carers will need to possibly speak to their families who don't speak that language. All very well and good being able ro speak to the person needing the care, but how would the carer speak with the family members. The carers will need to liase with managers etc who may not speak that language either.

CaptainUndercrackers Sat 03-Aug-13 18:39:59

YABU. As Alis said, carers don't just have to speak to the people they're caring for. They may need to feed back to managers, social services, family members etc. And surely it is better for them to speak English (as well as any other language they know) as then they are not trapped into working in a specific care home. What if their boss is an arsehole - if they speak English they can look for another job, access employment law information, get support. Without English language skills their options are woefully limited.

BrokenSunglasses Sat 03-Aug-13 18:42:34

It might not be necessary in the minority of cases, but for flexibility in employment it is beneficial. In the majority of cases I'd say it's more than beneficial and is actually essential, seeing as how many people that need carers can be isolated and get their main source of conversation from their carers. It seems common sense to me that carers need to be able to understand their clients, so if a carer can speak two languages and share another language with their clients and speak English too, then great. But I don't think we should say that carers don't need to speak English well. Everyone needs to speak the language of the country they work in if they are going to have long term employment.

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 03-Aug-13 18:42:42


It's necessary for carers to be able to speak English.

Given a straight choice English is needed to be able to liaise with outside agencies and follow written instructions as well as record accurately in writing for anybody who needs to access information to be able to get it and for it to be coherent. Also a carer is required to have a lot of training (manual handling including use of hoists, first aid, food hygiene etc.) that would be impossible to undertake without a certain level of English ability.

Carers with no experience of a clients preferred language isn't ideal, but key phrases and words can certainly be learnt.

Crinkle77 Sat 03-Aug-13 18:43:24

Agree with the other two posters. I think that if you work in a caring profession it is essential that you can communicate with the people you are caring for. They may be old, ill and vulnerable and being able to talk to their carer and to feel reassured is vital.

BellaTalbert Sat 03-Aug-13 18:49:47

I have worked in care for over 17 years and have worked with many colleagues that have English as a second language. Having a good understanding of English is essential in working within care. To work in care you either have to have or be working towards NVQ Level 2 in care you cannot do this if you don't understand English. How can you follow instructions, give medication, apply creams or actually communicate with the person that you are supporting? I specialize with supporting adults with learning disabilities where the ability to communicate is absolutely essential.

Binkyridesagain Sat 03-Aug-13 18:51:55

Are you just trying to get hits to your webpage? it seems that every thread you start gives a link to your blogging site.

If you want a debate on a subject why not just post a thread without a linky?

SameDifference Sat 03-Aug-13 19:01:35

I'm in the Mumsnet Bloggers Network so they allow me to post links. If people choose to click, great. I also read and note any comments/opinions in threads here where I am likely to get views different to those of my regular readers.

BigBoobiedBertha Sat 03-Aug-13 19:02:51

YABU. Unless the carers are only going to care for people who speak their own language and work with others (doctors, social services etc) who speak their language, being able to speak English well is essential.

Somebody who is dealing with a debilitating illness or disability may not have the energy or ability to tune into an accent the way that somebody who is fit and well could. My father has Alzeheimer's - no way would he be able to cope if his carers couldn't speak English well or had a very strong accent. He would just not understand. If it were me, as a fit and able person who realises that communication maybe an issue, it would be easy because I could ask questions, check we both understood each other and I could get used to a strong accent, but you can't assume that those who need care can do the same.

NatashaBee Sat 03-Aug-13 19:10:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DanceParty Sat 03-Aug-13 19:16:19

I would love to see a Carer who couldn't speak English well find their way around my daily complex medication system !

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 03-Aug-13 19:20:38

You are allowed which is fine but it does get annoying when people post their link constantly.

Binkyridesagain Sat 03-Aug-13 19:23:57

You might be allowed to post links to your blogs but posting in AIBU often suggests that you would like to open a discussion or debate regarding the issues you are blogging about, which you do not appear to do. You make a thread, post a link and then there is nothing from you.

deleted203 Sat 03-Aug-13 19:28:45

YABU. I can see many elderly people not wanting a carer who doesn't speak English. Communication is a vital skill when looking after anyone who is ill, disabled or vulnerable. You need to be able to reassure people, comfort them and make them feel that they are in good hands. Being cared for someone who does not speak their language would be distressing and frightening for many elderly British people. My MIL is 86 and has never been abroad in her life, for instance. Being cared for by someone who couldn't speak English would panic her that she wasn't getting the right medication - or that she couldn't discuss her worries with them.

hiddenhome Sat 03-Aug-13 19:31:52

What, are you nuts? Good verbal communication is essential in any aspect of caring for another person.

I care for the confused elderly and communication with them is tricky enough with a good command of English.

SameDifference Sat 03-Aug-13 19:35:31

I write from the point of view of someone who personally needs/would need carers- that's why I only thought from the point of view of the people needing care and their families.

Those who raised the point about needing to communicate with health professionals are right, of course. This was not a point I remembered when writing the post.

Rufus43 Sat 03-Aug-13 19:35:32

YABU. I agree with sowornout some older people have difficulty understanding through hearing loss or confusion no good adding to their distress

TiggyD Sat 03-Aug-13 19:36:54

They will still need to understand the regulations they're operating in a nd be able to liaise with other revevant dudes.

YABU to not post your whole argument to get people to look at your blog. I would never to that to get people to look at my blog.

paulapantsdown Sat 03-Aug-13 19:48:09

YABU and incredibly silly to even make the suggestion.

My brother is severely disabled, both physically and intellectually. He struggles to understand and be understood. I know from bitter experience that adding a carer with a poor grasp of English into that mix is a recipe for misery all round.

peacefuloptimist Sat 03-Aug-13 19:48:44

Hi. Didn't go on to your blog but I know many carers who speak English as an additional language. My question is what level of English do they need to have to be considered as speaking English well? Do they need to be fully literate? Do they need to speak English without an accent so it's easier for clients yo understand them? What is speaking English well exactly? The ladies I know have differing levels of proficiency in English but all are able to communicate with their clients and managers. However they would struggle to pass an English GCSE which is what someone born here would need to do to prove they are proficient in English. I hope I'm making sense. I would hate to think good carers would be forced out of their job for not being able to pass an arbitrary test despite their proven track record.

livinginwonderland Sat 03-Aug-13 19:50:03


Alisvolatpropiis Sat 03-Aug-13 19:52:54

My grandfather requires carers. They can all speak English well.

There isn't much one can do about an accent after a certain point. People with English as a first language can find themselves in a position in the position where people don't always understand outside of the area the accent is from.

WorraLiberty Sat 03-Aug-13 20:01:57

It's a no brainer

Of course they need to speak English well

Medication-wise in particular, it could be a matter of life or death.

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