Being a Care Assistant
Delivering care with compassion
Care assistants have the power to transform the lives of the elderly and young, those who are physically disabled or people who may be cognitively impaired. Across the UK every day, care assistants head out into communities of all sizes to deliver home care and live-in support to those who require it the most.
In your neighbourhood or surrounding area, there are bound to be people that need reliable, compassionate care. If you’re enthusiastic about helping others and unafraid to get your hands dirty, care work may be just the line of work for you.
When applying for any of the jobs listed through Your Care Job, full training is included for those who are new to the field although we always welcome seasoned carers. All care assistants are supported by their local branch and management teams to ensure care staff receive the help and guidance they need to do their job properly.
What does a care assistant job involve?
Care assistants help people with all sorts of practical tasks such as shopping, housework, laundry and helping with paperwork and personal affairs. In most cases, though, the help that care assistants provide includes supporting people with their personal care needs.
Personal care is intimate support that might include helping a person to wash or dress, to use the toilet or to prepare meals. It could also involve helping people to take medicines or manage incontinence.
We make no bones about it; personal care can be messy so if you think you can’t handle nudity or having to deal with bodily fluids and the mess that they can cause, care work probably isn’t for you.However, remember that there was a first time that every care assistant had to help someone change a soiled pad or wipe their bottom and, take it from us, it’s something you get used to very quickly.
Working with people who are unwell can also mean that eventually most care assistants will also have to deal with people that are dying, or might even arrive at someone’s home to find that they have died. This is sad at best and traumatic at worst but the companies we work with will always make sure both that you are prepared to cope with the death of a client when it happens and that you get the support you need afterwards to process and move on from the experience.
Even clients who are quite well might live in conditions that are not those you might expect in your own home. Care assistants may well find that they have to work in homes that are messy or not particularly clean and whilst they are able to help people to improve their living standards (by, for example, helping with cleaning), they also sometimes have to accept that some people ‘just live like that’!
The most rewarding work
Why are we telling you this? Well, it’s important that we don’t pretend that care work isn’t sometimes messy, upsetting and tiring – it is. But it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs anyone can do.
As a care assistant, you have a unique opportunity to bring a ray of sunshine into the life of someone that may be isolated and lonely or in pain or distress. You can bring peace of mind to family carers that, as much as they would like to, can’t always be there with their beloved mum, dad or grandparent. You can bring hope and inspiration or even just company, kind words and a cup of tea. And at the end of hard day, you will sleep well knowing that you have made a real difference. That’s not a job – it’s a vocation.
If you think you can rise to the challenge, apply today to be a care assistant in your area.
Care assistant job description
The range of tasks that a care assistant may carry can be pretty vast. The following is a summary that should help you understand how diverse your role could be.
In general, the support provided by care assistants is of the kind that might be undertaken by a caring relative and does not include tasks which would normally be undertaken by a qualified nurse.
The typical range of duties is listed below, but it should be remembered that the list is not meant to be complete – in theory, the range of things a care assistant might be asked to do is limitless.
Personal care includes tasks like:
- Helping to get up or go to bed
- Helping to bathe, shower or wash
- Helping to wash teeth or care for dentures
- Washing, drying or styling hair
- Assisting with make-up and grooming
- Helping to dress
- Cleaning or assisting with glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids
- Skin care or shaving
- Helping to use the toilet
- Managing continence
- Monitoring and managing skin condition (such as pressure sores)
- Help to use or care for prosthetics, calipers etc.
- Helping to stand, walk or change position
- Help with daily living aids or rehabilitation
- Help with exercise
- Help to prepare and eat meals and drinks
- Night sitting, day sitting or respite care
Personal care may be delivered at any time of the night or day.
Practical support covers a broad range of tasks other than personal care such as:
- Tidying and washing up
- Managing food and household stocks (e.g. rotating food in fridge)
- Cleaning (vacuuming, dusting etc.)
- Making and changing beds
- Emptying bins and recycling
- Laundry and ironing
- Support with household management and personal finances (budgeting, bills etc.)
- Support with maintaining personal relationships (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, entertaining visitors)
- Escorting on activities outside the home
Practical support is usually provided during the day, but may be required at other times.
With appropriate supervision and training, care workers may be required to support with healthcare tasks such as:
- Taking medicines
- Catheter care
- Stoma care
- Bowel care
- Use of eye drops
- Application of ointments
- Cutting of toe-nails/podiatry