How to get a domiciliary care job if you’ve never worked in social care before
Domiciliary care jobs are on the increase. As the population of the UK ages and more elderly people require domiciliary care, there are opportunities for people who have never worked in social care before to get a domiciliary care job. Words by Sarah Gill.
19th March 2012
You don’t necessarily need experience or training to get your first domiciliary care job, it’s much more important that you are caring, sympathetic and have a genuine will to help people maintain their independence and dignity while living in their own homes.
Many people become domiciliary carers after previous careers or because of an influence in their personal life. It’s an extremely rewarding career but it can also be hard work at times. You will need to be patient, meticulous and able to deliver an excellent standard of care in all circumstances.
Essential services provided by domiciliary care workers
Domiciliary care workers provide care to people living in their own homes. A person of any age can require domiciliary care, from a young child with a physical disability to an elderly person with mobility difficulties. Care can include assisting with bathing, dressing, preparation of meals and giving medication as well as some household tasks such as laundry and light cleaning.
As a domiciliary carer you will often have a number of clients to visit during your shift, each with different needs. You will deliver the required care to the highest possible standard, ensure the person’s records are correctly updated with the care you have provided and then move on to visit the next inidividual.
It’s important that each domiciliary care worker understands the part they have to play in the daily life and living standards of the person receiving the care. Dignity is a key part of a person’s wellbeing and care must be delivered with respect and a careful attitude at all times.
Progress your career into domiciliary care management
As an experienced domiciliary care worker you can often progress your career into a management role such as Domiciliary Care Team Supervisor or Domiciliary Care Manager by undertaking additional training in care management. The QCF Diploma at Level 5 in Leadership for Health & Social Care is the current industry standard vocational qualification for care managers, although the previous NVQ 4 in Care Management and the RMA (Registered Manager’s Award) are also still valid for registration with the CQC as a registered manager.
As the Domiciliary Care Manager you will be managing a team of domiciliary care workers overseeing all aspects of care delivery. You will often liaise with external parties including other health professionals as well as plan, implement and assess all care packages. Some managers will also be involved in the recruitment and ongoing training of staff.
Sandra Cooper, an experienced domiciliary care manager who recently took part in a short interview with Socialcare.co.uk, gave us her insight into the essential skills of a Domiciliary Care Manager. In order to be successful in the role you need to have, “Organisational skills, empathy, patience, strong management skills, an understanding of the needs of service users, and the ability to advocate.”
How to get started in domiciliary care
Anyone can apply for a domiciliary care job, whether you have previous experience or not. The most important qualities of a domiciliary care worker are:
- genuine compassion and desire help people
- patience in both actions and words
- excellent communication skills
- ability to work to a consistently high standard
- punctual and able to manage your own time and workload
- ability to advocate for the people you're providing care for
Many of these skills are acquired through other jobs, life challenges and experiences, so you can come from any background and still be considered for a domiciliary care job. When you apply for your first role in domiciliary care, it’s important to tailor your CV for this specific application. You need to draw attention to the skills you have and the times in your previous career or education when you acquired them. Voluntary experience is especially important to draw attention to so make sure you mention the type of work you've done and the skills you've gained from doing it. Try to use someone in an authority position from your voluntary work as a referee on your CV.
Once you’ve got a great CV ready to go you can start applying for jobs in your local area. Don’t feel you won’t get a job just because you don’t have experience, introductory training is always provided and you will often complete several shadowing shifts with a more experienced member of staff before you have to start work on your own. A new job is always going to be a learning curve, but you will be offered support by other colleagues and managers to ensure you have the resources to do your job to the highest possible standard.