Caregivers don’t always have it easy. It can be a rewarding job, but caregivers also find themselves up against many challenges. Therefore, there are certain things caregivers need to be successful. We’ll share the qualities you’ll need if you’re seeking caregiver jobs. And, the key elements of caregiver training and caregiver support that help caregivers succeed in the workplace. We’ll also share some advice for families about caregiver duties, communication and more.
What are the qualities of successful caregivers?
Caregivers need to be empathetic and patient. But, perhaps most importantly, they need to be interested in learning and open to feedback. Because caregiving is a continual learning process and each client is different, the ability to learn from feedback is essential. (We’ll share more about what companies and clients can do to provide useful feedback, too.)
A caregiver should be open to finding out how clients like things done. Caregiving is highly personal and this can make or break the experience for the client. Elder clients are already facing a great deal of loss of control as it is.
Caregivers should enjoy variety in their work. This is not a job that you go to every day and perform the same tasks again and again. Even your workplace itself often changes from day to day or week to week. You’ll have different clients over time and their needs will change. Caregivers have to be adaptable. For someone who likes varied tasks and a bit of freedom and creativity in the workplace, caregiving is an ideal career. Check out some inspiration from caregivers about why they love what they do.
Training for Caregivers’ Success
Proper training is essential for caregivers to be successful. This has always been a top focus at EasyLiving. We built our own caregiver orientation and training program. Our caregivers get access to free, online/mobile training modules for continuing education. We also provide on-site training and supervision. For example, we go out to the home to demonstrate how to use medical equipment and review/test caregivers on their on-the-job skills.
Always find out about your home health company’s training program. They should meet all state requirements, but also have an emphasis on training in both philosophy and practice. Just as caregivers need to have an interest in learning, the company should always be working to improve.
Sometimes families ask us for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for home care. They don’t realize there are different qualifications for caregivers, including CNA and HHA (home health aide). Both can manage the types of tasks elders need, but often HHAs are better equipped for a home care environment. CNA training tends to be focused more on care in facilities. So, for example, a CNA may not learn tips and techniques for giving a bath in a typical home’s tub. They may learn about helping a patient in a hospital bed and handling a shower in the accessible showers most facilities have. Home health aides, as mentioned above, need to be very adaptable to manage different setups they may encounter in homes. HHA training and experience, along with the training we provide, help make the caregivers ready to handle the clients’ needs in a non-institutional environment.
Talk to the home care company about how they select, screen, train and match caregivers. Their staffing teams are typically skilled at making a good match so that you get the right skill set for your needs.
The Next Ingredients of Successful Caregiving: Preparation and Feedback
When your family plans to bring a caregiver into the home, being honest and upfront will help everyone have the best experience. Think beforehand about what Mom/Dad really needs, where you see things going, your concerns, etc. Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation or hide things. To be fair, your aging parent may be doing a bit of this with you so it can sometimes be hard to know exactly where things stand. Getting a care management assessment ahead of time can help. The care manager may see things you don’t and can also ask insightful questions to help build a careplan that will work.
This also falls to the home care company. Rather than just send someone out to handle the task you call about, they should ask you questions. And, listen. They should build a personalized care plan. All of this helps ensure a caregiver understands expectations and can handle your needs.
The Tools for the Job: The Home Environment
To help make sure your caregiver has what he/she needs to be successful in the house, you might want to read the following:
How to Prepare Your Home for a Senior Care Worker
Five Etiquette Rules for Having a Caregiver in Your Home
What Caregivers Want in 140 Characters or Less
Feedback: The Path to Better Care
Sometimes clients hesitate to give feedback. They know the caregiver does a lot for them and they don’t want to seem ungrateful. Or, they don’t know how to approach giving feedback. For this reason, we proactively seek feedback in a couple of different ways. Therefore, the burden isn’t on the client. We know feedback is essential for us and our caregivers to improve…or just to better meet your specific needs.
We absolutely want to hear feedback. And, we know things change. This is why we follow up and make care plan adjustments as needed. Our clients are real people, who are aging and facing changing health conditions. Adaptability is something we, as a company and as caregivers, need to practice constantly.
Here are some tips we’ve learned on getting your caregiver to respond positively to negative feedback. (Though we consider all feedback positive!)
If you’d like to experience the EasyLiving difference:
Learn more about becoming an EasyLiving caregiver and apply for caregiver jobs now.
Contact us to discuss your home care needs. We’d love to find the right caregiver for you and help you to have the most successful home care experience possible.