If you are considering getting home care assistance via a private carer using direct payments, rather than via a home care company through your local authority, you may be concerned with how you identify who is the best person for the role.
How do you know they are trustworthy? How do you know they are trained? In fact, without a reference from someone else, such as a manager from a past job, or from someone you know, it can be very difficult to be sure you’ve made the right choice.
In a world where elder abuse does happen, you have to be certain your loved one is going to be treated right.
We came up with five ways to tell that someone is going to be a good carer for the person you love.
1. Good care workers genuinely care about people
Caring is all about wanting to help people, no matter how gruff or complicated those people are. People who genuinely love to help others don’t care less if those folks are in a bad state; they care more.
Care workers are there to enable others’ independence; to provide assistance for the chores and activities the person can no longer do for themselves. It’s about liking and respecting other people, doing the jobs the way the person likes them to be done, because having respect for others means they must be allowed autonomy.
How do you tell in an interview situation if someone genuinely cares about people? You should be able to tell from the enthusiasm displayed by the candidate; from their stories of other care jobs, and their general demeanour. If they appear caring, they usually are.
Some people can be quite abrasive, but their concern for the needs of the person, and their desire to ensure all needs are catered for, will shine through. For example, rather than trying to reduce their workload, they will ask if there is anything else needed. That kind of thing.
2. Practical care workers are effective workers
Although not all care workers are naturally practical, if they are, it helps. Practical people notice when something needs doing; they also notice when something is wrong. They can see how to do something unfamiliar, and often it will be the most effective way.
Impractical people don’t always have those skills, but if they have been receptive to training, or if they are shown very specific routines, they should be able to carry out all jobs andtasks as you might expect.
Asking a potential care worker for evidence that they are practical could be difficult, but they should be able to talk about how they deal with unexpected events that crop up, unusual requests, such as clearing out intermittent hearing aids, or coping efficiently with an unexpected cleaning burden.
3. No squeam
Squeamishness has no place in social care. The reason for this is that old age can be grotty, however careful and clean we try to be. It can provide a lot of bodily fluids and unfortunate incidents, and in these cases, which are unpleasant for the person receiving care, it is essential the care worker is as cheerful, positive, and practical as ever. No-one wants to be faced with an unpleasant incident and then also with a care worker who expresses distaste for cleaning it up.
Squeamishness is hard to spot in an interview, but if the person admits their stomach can be a little weak at times, asking them what strategies they have to help themselves get through difficult moments could help you sort the wheat from the chaff. At the end of the day, if they’re happy to chat away while clearing up the problem, and will continue to treat the person they care for in a respectful manner, that is what you want.
4. Efficient workers
Although many care packages involve home care visits of no more than 15-30 minutes, that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to do. A large number of activities can be squeezed into fifteen minutes, but this is only easily achievable with a good routine and a care worker who is on their toes.
It is possible to help change a person’s pad, provide personal care, make breakfast, and prompt them to take their medications in fifteen minutes. Better still, if the care worker is efficient, they should be able to do all that without rushing the person they care for.
It isn’t easy to tell if the person you consider will be efficient or not. A reference could help, but perhaps asking them how they would order the required tasks, and how much time they think they would take, could help you identify those who are more likely to be efficient.
5. Awareness and observation
Good observant care workers are worth their weight in gold. Usually those who are more experienced, or more educated, are the ones who will be more likely to spot the minuscule changes in a person that can pre-empt a serious illness, be subtle signs of abuse, dehydration, or an injury that occurred before the worker arrived.
At interview, most people will claim to be observant, because they spend their livesbelieving they are. However, truly observant care workers tend to have more experience, because if they have seen something before, they will know what they are looking at. Education helps, because those who are used to reflective thinking tend to go over situations in their minds, and this can make them more reactive at the time.
Of course, some people are just naturally observant, too, so neither of those traits are set in stone.
If you would prefer to take the recruitment aspect out of your care experience, companies like Sahan Cares are experts in recognising good carers, and they also provide statutory and additional training. You can chat to a manager at Sahan Cares about your or your relative’s care needs on 020 8848 1380.