• 24 September 2020
  • 5 min read

How We Can Make A Carer's Job Better

  • Paula Watts
    Social Care
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Mat Martin
    • Zuva Chinhori
    • Richard Gill
    • Anne Gale
  • 2
  • 548
"I cannot think of any other job role that requires this broad and varied skill set."

After commenting on a previous blog, we asked Carer Trainer, Paula, to expand on her points. With 33 years' experience Paula, believes recognising the commitment of Carers could be the first step.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

The Commitment Of Carers Is Rarely Recognised

What Do Carers Want From Their Job?

Improving The Pay Of Carers

How Can We Improve Shift Patterns?

Staff & Resident Ratios

Introduction

To start with what is the criteria required to work in the care industry?

There is no formal requirement for any qualifications or any particular experience to enter into the care industry.

They just need to have a caring nature.

What message does this send out to those applying to work in care and to society as a whole?

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Care work is not just about turning up, washing and feeding people, it is about meeting the holistic needs of those requiring care.

Looking at the tasks required to meet individual holistic needs it is obvious that care work is probably the most highly skilled job that does not receive the recognition it deserves.

I cannot think of any other job role that requires this broad and varied skill set.

The Commitment Of Carers Is Rarely Recognised

I have daily contact with Carers in my role as a trainer.

I also have over 33 years’ experience working in health and social care.

I often hear the term ‘I am just a Carer.’

Unlike Nurses they are not regulated.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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PIN numbers for nurses are prized as they show a level of commitment that reflects the training they have undertaken.

The commitment of Carers is rarely recognised or rewarded, certainly not at a national level.

The opportunity to raise the profile was apparently missed following the outcomes of The Cavendish Report.

What Do Carers Want From Their Job?

Perhaps we first need to start with what Carers want from their role.

Carers tell me they want to deliver the best care possible, to include dignity, respect and compassion in every aspect of their jobs.

Most of the people they care for are in Late Adulthood/Decline and Death stages of their life and their end is inevitable.

The Carers role should be to see their residents safely delivered from this life.

In the interim though, the Carers are under so much pressure to complete paperwork, carry out their role in a task led not person-centred way as there is always so much to do.

To improve the role of Carers their worth needs to be recognised.

How can this be done?

The pay they receive is pitiful by comparison to other skilled workers.

Improving The Pay Of Carers

Carers should receive regular increments for the training they do, experience they have and the additional skills they acquire.

The increments should be recorded through a national skills matrix where it could to lead better recognised qualifications that could be used by those wanting to either go into nursing, more senior roles or even to be a better Carer.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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Study time for these qualifications and training should be classed as time on shift as it is work related and necessary to the role.

By being recorded at a national level, prospective employers could see where the Carer is in relation to training and therefore save the industry money that could be better used elsewhere.

How Can We Improve Shift Patterns?

Shift patterns and hours worked should be reviewed at a national level.

How can medication be safely administered when the Carer is on day four/five/six in their shift pattern that usually involves twelve or more hours on shift often without a break?

How can a service be safely delivered when staff are exhausted?

The inevitable outcome of this is emotional burnout, higher risk of abuse or neglect and good staff leaving the industry deflated and disillusioned.

Where does the accountability lie when this happens?

Usually with the Carer at both a formal and more importantly a personal level.

They care so much but have little power to change the system.

Hours should be reduced to allow for Carers to rest, recoup and prepare for the next shift.

I know of care facilities that have adopted the 3 shift pattern, working 6-2, 2- 10 and 10-6.

The managers in these facilities can show reduced rates of agency staff being employed.

Staff calling in sick is a rarity.

Carers finish their working day and have time to see to their own and their family’s needs and so arrive in a more positive state of mind than their counterparts who work longer hours.

This in turn leads to a more positive working environment which can only lead to better care.

Staff & Resident Ratios

There should be legal requirements regarding staff to resident ratios.

Within this the individual’s inevitable decline should see care hours increased to incorporate the extra needs relating to advancing dementia, reduced mobility and/or end of life care so these needs can be met effectively.

I have been told that quite often Carers are seeing to the more active residents and those who’s behaviours challenge rather than those who need their hands holding or who have a need for emotional contact.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on improving the job of a Carer and what I've said - let's chat there!

Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!

About the author

  • Paula Watts
    Social Care

I have over 33 years’ experience working in Health and Social Care, and currently work in Carer Training. I deliver bespoke training courses to nurses, carers and ancillary staff across the south of England in a diverse range of disciplines, my favourite subject being adult safeguarding. I believe that carers and the care industry should receive the recognition they deserve.

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About the author

  • Paula Watts
    Social Care

I have over 33 years’ experience working in Health and Social Care, and currently work in Carer Training. I deliver bespoke training courses to nurses, carers and ancillary staff across the south of England in a diverse range of disciplines, my favourite subject being adult safeguarding. I believe that carers and the care industry should receive the recognition they deserve.

  • 2 Comments
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    • Anne Gale 26 days ago
      Anne Gale
    • Anne Gale
      26 days ago

      As my home has suffered some losses the staffing levels have been cut so when someone phones in sick we ... read more

    • Zuva Chinhori 28 days ago
      Zuva Chinhori
    • Zuva Chinhori
      28 days ago

      Great article Paula and good points made about Carers being exhausted and that leading to neglect and abuse. There’s a ... read more