Life as a home care worker can be immensely rewarding, but also rather stressful and complex. With enough time on the job, you’ll be able to get a good handle on most situations. Here are some tips for people new to the job.
Plan Trips and Meals
A bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to alleviating some of the stress associated with being a home care worker. Plan trips and meals well in advance so that you are never forced into rushing your duties. The more relaxed an atmosphere is at a client’s home, the more effortless their care is likely to be.
Take Time to Listen to Client Input
Ultimately, the people that will have the best input regarding changes that need to be made to care will be the clients themselves. Take time to listen to client input and give them as much control over their care as it is possible to safely do. As a carer, it is your job to facilitate a full life, not dictate it. Treat clients as your equals and give them as much autonomy as possible.
Use a Fuel Card
Many home care workers use a vehicle in the course of their day. They may use their own vehicle or a vehicle owned or leased by their clients. Because care staff are usually responsible for refueling vehicles, but not for paying for fuel, the expense-handling aspect of the job can get a little tricky to navigate. Getting a fuel card for carers can help to simplify the expenses process and save clients and staff money in the long run. Fuel cards enable the purchase of fuel without the use of cash, debit, or credit cards. The client or carer is then charged every week and receives a report detailing the nature of all charges, making them easy to attribute.
Caring can be an immensely stressful job. It is important to remember that you are a person with needs, desires, and faults, just like your clients. Many clients appreciate the experience of seeing their carers as equals they can genuinely relate to. If you are afraid of being yourself around your clients, you are more likely to feel the impact of on-the-job stress in the long run.
Caregiver burnout is a recognized condition that occurs when a person completely submits their personality and needs to the needs of another. To avoid burnout like this, you need to be able to express yourself healthily and reciprocally. Expressing yourself to a client is not always appropriate. You need to be in contact with other home carers, friends, and health professionals that can help you deal with negative feelings during your work.
If you come up against a situation that you have never dealt with before, or been trained to do, it is worth seeking advice from more experienced carers. Maintain the networks you (hopefully) developed in your training and call upon your peers when you need them.