Care Work in people's own homes

(9 Posts)
saveforthat Mon 09-Nov-20 17:59:34

I've been on training to do this. Never done care work before. Training was condensed from 5 to 2.5 days due to covid, due to shadow an experienced carer now for 2 shifts. Has anyone out there made the transition from office to carer? Do you enjoy it? Any tips?

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Tue 10-Nov-20 12:03:35

I've never done (paid) care work myself but my disabled mother has had carers for years so I am pretty familiar and have chatted with lots of them over the years. Good on you for doing this, it is such a worthwhile thing to do, you have the opportunity to make such a difference to people's lives. It's definitely more varied, interesting and rewarding than office work. The carers I have spoken to are to be honest a bit of a mixed bag, some love it, some find it OK and stick with it because the work/hours suits them, some really don't like it and only do it because they can't get another job - these ones it usually shows in the quality of their work TBH!

You do need to know (as I'm sure you've already gathered) that care work of any kind is hard hard work, with domiciliary care often you are pressed for time and need to travel around a lot so can be stressful, its physically challenging and it can be heartbreaking/emotionally very difficult too. It's also chronically badly paid. On the plus side the hours can be flexible and can work well around school pick-ups or other life responsibilities and you are absolutely doing a good thing for society, if you are a people person there are great opportunities for chat and brightening up someone's day!

Tips - no 1 is take really really good care of your back and knees. Make sure you have been properly trained in any lifting required and you stick rigidly to how you've been trained - you may think 'oh it doesn't matter how I help this old lady get up, she weighs nothing' but when you've done the same lift 10 times a day 5 days a week for a year, believe me your back won't thank you for not doing it properly!

If you aren't naturally good at relating to your clients/patients developing a good 'manner'/ 'patter' can be really helpful. Remember a lot of your clients even if they have family etc., yours may be the only friendly face they see all day so taking even a few minutes for some inconsequential chat makes the world of difference to them. For a lot of people, particularly the older generation, having to have carers is a difficult experience, they may feel they've lost their dignity/independence, they may have unreasonable expectations that personal care should only be done by family, they may not understand the difference between a carer and a cleaner/domestic/'servant' and they may have dementia or other mental health type issues - all this can mean they come across as withdrawn, prickly, needy, vague, confused, demanding, unreasonable or downright rude! You need to develop a good thick skin and consistent pleasant polite attitude with them, not take anything personally and hopefully (if you are able to) build up a good rapport and routine. I know it's hard but do try and treat them like adults/people, even where they are being awkward, too many carers just take a bit of a 'brisk'/patronising approach where they just want to do what they need to do as fast and with as little fuss or interaction as possible, I totally understand why as they're on a clock and have X many more people to get to that day but that as much as anything else can sap the dignity and individuality of the client.

If your agency is good you should have someone, a supervisor, manager or mentor you can approach for advice, raise concerns or simply vent to if you need to - if your agency doesn't do this I'd look to move to a better one, there is a strong market/shortage for carers in most parts of the UK so don't be afraid to swap agencies if yours isn't treating you right!

saveforthat Tue 10-Nov-20 17:39:57

Thank you so much for that really comprehensive reply Maxelly. Very helpful I wish you had been there on the training course.

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QueenPaws Tue 10-Nov-20 19:25:16

I went from call centre to carer
Keep food and drink in your car plus baby wipes for a quick clean up and a spare top if you get one depending on uniform. I also kept deo in case I needed it!
Struggled with smells at first so I used to eat fishermans friends or have vicks up my nose

Fake confidence if you need to, single calls when I hadn't been before were always a bit nerve wracking! Read the care plan/notes, talk to other carers. If you get a double run you tend to find someone you really enjoy working with and it's like a dance, you know exactly what the other is doing and what you're doing

If you wear deo or perfume, stick to the same scent. It really helps if you go to someone with sight problems or dementia, I cared for someone who was blind and she said she was reassured when she recognised people by their smell (and voice of course!)

Talk. A lot! Some people enjoy the sort of banter between two carers on a double run, and you get to know people so you can ask how's your son, what happened in Corrie, how's your leg, did you go to your appointment, was the new drink nice, how are the plants doing..

Find the tiny things that matter. It could be anything from someone that likes talc on their feet, to putting pepper on a meal, or knowing someone likes their vest inside out so the seams don't rub

You'll get families that really look after you. One would tell me "you've been cooking chips again", spray me with febreeze, and shove a bacon sandwich into my hand on the way out

saveforthat Tue 10-Nov-20 21:51:21

Thanks Queen

OP’s posts: |
Anthilda Wed 11-Nov-20 20:20:22

@QueenPaws The world needs more people like you! What a lovely approach you take to a very demanding and underpaid job.

And good luck @saveforthat. I hope you find your new role rewarding.

Chickenfingers Tue 17-Nov-20 19:28:06

I'm looking at doing exactly this with a potential redundancy coming up so thankyou for posting, saved me a job.

Do you mind if I ask, do you have any previous experience or are you completely new to it? Wondered how you found getting the job, if it was easy. Ta.

saveforthat Wed 18-Nov-20 19:29:13

Hi Chicken. After the shadowing I decided not to go ahead. I had no previous experience whatsoever and was surprised how little travelling time was alloted. The experienced carer seemed very stressed and drove at breakneck speed between clients. I also had doubts about my fitness to do this even part time. Nothing but admiration for those that do. They are shockingly underpaid.

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Chickenfingers Wed 18-Nov-20 19:47:18

That's such a shame and thanks for being honest. I do wonder if I'm cut out for it physically and mentally, but being in office work has really deteriorated me too so I wouldn't mind having something more active.

I hope you find something else you'll enjoy instead.

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