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Care assistants

(30 Posts)
sumofparts Wed 22-Nov-17 13:04:04

I'm thinking of changing career to go into a caring profession.
I'm not entirely sure what yet but I very much like the idea of working with the elderly and I see there are lots of roles advertised for care assistants working in client's homes.
Can anyone give me an insight into what these jobs are like and what the pitfalls might be?
It seems like they are quite keen to get people in as they offer a lot; dbs, uniform, training etc is this because the staff turnover is really high? And if so is it because of poor working conditions, over work, etc.
Also do you think this experience is a good grounding to train and further a career in care?
Thanks very much in advance if anyone can give me the lowdown!

FormerlyFrikadela01 Wed 22-Nov-17 13:13:18

Care work generally has very high staff turnover. It's physically and mentally exhausting, poorly paid, you will be extremely overworked, you will be expected to do more than is physically possible on the time available, some clients will be lovely others will treat you like shit and it can be utterly thankless. Plus the obvious actual work of looking after personal cares etc.

It's also incredibly rewarding and those of us that enjoy it (I'm now a nurse but spent 7 years as a carer both home care and in care homes) stick around despite all of the above because knowing you've made a difference in someones life when they're sometimes at their lowest is amazing.

Problem is most care agencies will take absolutely anyone on and because of this it's seen as low value work... granted the actual tasks required can be done by pretty much anyone however a good carer is more than the tasks they perform.

sumofparts Wed 22-Nov-17 13:52:33

Thanks for replying @FormerlyFrikadela01
Would you say that the community work or the care home work is a better place to start?
I do really like the idea of making a difference in people's lives but I've got no illusions about how hard and unglamorous it would be.
I suppose I wonder if there's any way around the less reputable employers.

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 14:01:28

I start work as one next month! Care/support worker

sumofparts Wed 22-Nov-17 14:07:03

Hi Ollivander!
What will you be doing? Is this a first job or have you done similar before?

randomer Wed 22-Nov-17 14:09:53

Hello. Please be aware care is a business. Client pays agency 20 an hour. Agency pays carer 10. You will rarely see the same people regularly.

HonestOtter Wed 22-Nov-17 14:11:06

@FormerlyFrikadela01 Has summed it up in a nutshell! It's all dependent on the company you work for, ask around for recommendations before committing to anything

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 14:15:46

First time! Domiciliary care so going to people's houses, making food, assisting them out of bed etc etc. Standard duties really

MissBax Wed 22-Nov-17 14:17:23

I was a carer for 6 years before training as a nurse. I personally loved the work, but as PP said it is exhausting for many reasons - it's a business so you will be utilised as a tool for profit making, it's unsociable hours, if it's community work then it's even worse because they don't take into account the travelling from house to house. You might have your first visit at 7am and last at 10pm, you won't be given long enough to get what you need done, they can be shitty with holidays/sickness etc.
Have you thought about care home work? Or as a health care assistant in the NHS?

mustbemad17 Wed 22-Nov-17 14:21:41

Just finished after working 18months as a care co-ordinator. We dealt with people in their own homes, not just elderly folk but anyone who needed us.

* it is really rewarding. Knowing you are enabling this person to stay in their own home (in my case) is amazing. You become a major part of their day & an integral part of their routine

*you get some decent training out of it, and many agencies offer NVQ's to staff if they want.

* it's bloody hard work. You do a lot of heavy lifting & rolling, even with equiptment it takes a huge toll on you. We have had slipped discs, torn shoulder cuffs, general bad backs, knee injuries. Wear & tear is high on your body.

* many agencies take on a lot of service users without allocating a decent amount of time to them; bigger agencies especially can have staff chasing their tails trying to fit everybody in. It can lose direction & becomes less about the service user & more about meeting a tight schedule.

* if you work community care it will have a massive impact on your car! The wear & tear factor is huge.

Can't think of anything else top of my head. Pay sucks. But I miss it massively. I miss my service users, I miss my colleagues & I miss that feeling of being an important link in the chain

randomer Wed 22-Nov-17 14:56:46

You will probably be on zero hours contract which means your lively hood depends on the whims of which ever witch is running the office that day. There is very little care in care. If you have a picture of a rosey cheeked granny or a suited and proud gentleman sharing a cup of tea with you forget it. Also the clien may have little to occupy themselves, other than carers. Some become adept at playing them off against each other and inviting gossip.

custardy Wed 22-Nov-17 15:01:05

I worked in a care home for young people. Great fun. There was high turnover but I built up relationships with service users, other staff, and learnt a lot.

I quit because I had a false allegation against me (proven false but the damage was done) and I had a recurrent wrist injury and my back was regularly painful (at 23!) so be careful. I think the best jobs are where you can build up a relationship with the people you're helping. I had someone who HATED me... and given enough time I ended up being his favourite! All I can advise is don't go in with rose tinted spectacles. An older relative of mine was inspired to work at care home and she's been promoted a couple of times and loving it! Also, don't forget you probably have to work christmas and new year too.

randomer Wed 22-Nov-17 15:07:37

Oh yeah. I forgot the false allegations and the seriously mentally ill clients. And I mean serious and dangerous.

retirednow Wed 22-Nov-17 15:41:19

IMO you should start as a care assistant with the NHS, they have community and hospital based jobs, just google NHS jobs website. You start off on a lower pay but you get holiday pay, sick pay, training etc. which you often don't get in private carehomes. Plus you get to see a lot of interesting things, many different types of patients, work with other professionals such as nurses, doctors, physios, occupational therapists. There are routes into nurse training doing this and also into other related jobs, I think you would be much better doing this than starting out in a care home or private community as there are fewer perks and less opportunities.

retirednow Wed 22-Nov-17 15:50:44

I mean there are fewer perks and opportunities in private care! False allegations can be made against staff, you can get accused of stealing things, it's very disheartening. You are safer in the NHS where there are always staff around and the support system is much better. I know that some care agencies just send a new member of staff to work in a carehome without having received any manual handling training or assisting with eating/drinking training so they can't do much hands on care. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:58:46

I echo to go into the nhs if you can. Aside from anything else the pay and benefits are really good for entry level care assistants compared to private and you get increments on that and enhancements for unsociable hours. As an example my dp is top of band 2 (standard care assistant band) and comes out with around £1400 a month after tax/NI/pension.

In the time working in private I became a senior care assistant with significant responsibility (completely in charge of the home in the absence of the manager, giving out meds etc) and was earning less than 50p above minimum wage. I also had to arrange my own specialist dementia training despite working in a dementia unit. This wasn't a poorly run home, they were operating in line with other homes I worked in whilst doing agency work.

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 16:23:47

I'm starting with a company, full training etc, no care home work
I know it's going to be hard but having lost my NHS job of a decade, got to do what I need to do sad

randomer Wed 22-Nov-17 16:37:14

I hope it's a decent company and you like it.

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 16:45:52

Me too. They seem pretty good so far, and you get an hour at each place so not 15 mins and rushing off

randomer Wed 22-Nov-17 17:28:40

Zero hours contract?

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 17:35:10

Yep. However I actually enjoy working the unsocial stuff grin so late shifts. Which means a lot more likely to be work for me
CQC registered etc and one of only 10 in the area to have framework or something?

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 17:36:56

I'm qualified for nothing, having lost my job that I've had since I was 22. So it's pub work or care. I'm absolutely broken hearted by it and I have a mortgage to pay, so I'm taking the work that's available
Feel very very lost, as no idea what can I actually do with the skills I have

retirednow Wed 22-Nov-17 18:36:17

Framework or something?

retirednow Wed 22-Nov-17 18:39:21

All homes should be registered with the cqc but reports are not always up to date and homes can change very quickly with staff and managers leaving. pp, what skills do you have, so sorry you lost your job, it must have been very hard.

Ollivander84 Wed 22-Nov-17 18:42:04

I can PM you, would rather not post too much! Yeah they said something about only 10 care agencies that had achieved/got the framework for something. I was filling in a form at the time so didn't get the gist of it!

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