What does a professional carer do?

06 Jun 2018

What does a professional carer do?

Home carer, live-in carer, support worker, support assistant… there are a lots of job titles, but what do they all mean? What do care workers actually do when they’re helping people at home? It seems less than helpful to start with “it depends…” but in this case, it really does depend: professional carers provide the support the people they work with need to enable them to live independently, to cope with a long or short term illness or disability, or to be comfortable at home during their final weeks or months. Carers come from a wide range of backgrounds and may be hired for their particular professional skills (such as nursing) or may perform more general support tasks.

What does a home carer do?

Home carers typically don’t have a professional medical background. They usually work with people in their own home and perform day-to-day tasks which the person needs help or support with. This is often described as hourly care, as many companies charge per hour of time needed. Support provided might include:
– help with bathing, dressing and grooming
– preparing meals, feeding and clearing up
– administering medication
– household admin, such as paying bills
– enabling social activities
– enabling professional activities
– assisting with mobility and transport
– support and note taking during appointments, e.g. doctor’s visits
– light household duties, such as laundry or changing a bed

What’s the difference between a home carer and a live-in carer?

A live-in carer provides home care support to one individual or family in their own home and lives on the premises. This means that they can provide support and assistance overnight if required, as well as handling day-to-day tasks as described above. Live-in carers should not be expected to be on-duty or on-call 24/7 – if care is needed around the clock, a team will need to be set up to ensure that the carer is able to get some rest and respite, including adequate sleep. A live-in carer is a great alternative to moving into a care home for many people and can provide an excellent balance between support and independence.

Who decides what a carer does and doesn’t do?

The exact tasks a home carer or live-in carer is responsible for is usually discussed and agreed between the carer and the person they are supporting. Many agencies have specific lists of tasks that they will or won’t carry out, and may give set amounts of time in which to accomplish those tasks. This can make it easier for both parties as expectations are clear and a replacement carer can step in if needed, or can make it harder as flexibility is limited. Carers working with particular charities or institutions, including the NHS, may also have set limits as to what services they can offer, while independent carers working directly with individuals and families may be able to offer a wider range of support or more tailored services. Care needs range from a few minutes a day to 24/7 support, and as a result care work varies enormously too.

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