Our Guide to starting a new Live in Care client
Many people, particularly new to the idea of a carer living in their own home with them, will rightly be cautious and want to take the time to make sure that you are a good fit into the family home. They will want to make sure that you have the skills, experience and bed side manner that they are looking for. They want you to look after either themselves or a loved family member who is likely to be vulnerable, perhaps scared even. Of course, the other side to this is that you too should also satisfy yourself that you are able to meet the care needs as presented to you, that you have the experience to deliver care safely and with compassion. If these ingredients are brought together in just the right way then everyone will be happy and many Live in Carers feel like an extension to the family. In this guide we try to explain some of the valuable lessons we have learnt from years of experience.
Compatibility – Do you fit in with the family and will client like and respect you?
Everyone is different. We come in all shapes, sizes and varieties. Some times opposites attract and work well, perhaps a lonely socially isolated client client would love the breeze and fresh air brought in by an extrovert bubbling with fun but to others, content in the peace of their own environment this would be terrible. Try to gauge, working with a potential living in carer recruiter, if they are similar to you. Are the extroverted or introverted? Do they like talking and being sociable or do their hobbies lean to private ones, like reading. Do you share any similar interests? If you both like something you can share together then that will help a lot. It might be keeping up with the news, a religion or even gardening but whatever it is, finding common ground will make your relationship build trust and deepen over time, just like a real friendship.
Experience – If you are new to care consider this carefully.
It is incredibly important that you are fully aware of all of the care needs of the person that you will be looking after. It is equally important to be satisfied that you can meet them in a safe and competent way. This could be something like hoisting, or PEG feeding. Using Catheters safely and knowing how to recognise the signs that something more serious might be wrong. Be very open to your potential employer if there is something that you are required to do but haven’t any experience or might be a bit rusty. In many cases, a simple solution is available, often a district nurse or a family member can show you how to perform a task in the manner needed so don’t be afraid of mentioning anything that you are unsure of – it is important that you conduct yourself as the health professional that you are and seek help to keep your skills to the level required. If you are brand new to being a live in carer then be very honest with yourself about your current skill and knowledge levels and avoid anyone who is clinically or socially complex until you have mastered your craft a bit more. Consider working for a professional live in care company for a while if you are new. You will receive a lot of very valuable training and have the support of experts to help guide your practice and develop your skills first before working as a self employed 24/7 carer first.
Social Factors – your client is more that a symptom!
All of us have lead lives rich and full of personal meaning. As time goes by we often gather friends and family around us and are supported by the confidence and love. Not everyone is lucky enough and some people might find themselves dependent of family members who may not have their best interests at the heart of all of their choices. You will not only have to fit in with the person you are giving care too but you will also need to foster good working relationships with their close and extended family members too. Be yourself but also remember that you are a care giving professional. You will need to privately assess the needs of the family when considering to take on a job carefully. Some families will want to be in close contact with you and be directive and prescriptive with not only what you do but what time you do it and how it is done. Other families may be absent physically and emotionally and may want to let you lead of everything so that they are not brought in close to the situation in anyway. Life is a wide and complex journey and avoid judging anyone for their behavior whenever you can but be aware with your eyes wide open about the situation that you are going into and what the expectations are upon you. Remember too that your responsibility is to the person that you are here to look after. If you are concerned about anything, including social factors such as neglect then notify those you should immediately. IF you do not know how to do this then you should consider working for a Live in Care agency until all of your skills are up to the challenge of working privately.
Along with Safeguarding risks you should also consider all of the risk that you or the person that you are looking after might have. Are they manageable? Can you do anything to make it better? What are the consequences of something going wrong compared to the right we all have to take mild risks if we should so choose? Fixing down a loose rug and making sure that slippers fit perfectly are a great start but what if someone wants to play the lottery? What if instead of £1 a week they are spending £200 or £2000! what are the risks and are they fully aware of them?
We will explore these themes and offer more practical advice in deeper detail in our future posts. Please consider checking back frequently and perhaps subscribing to our content updates for more interesting and thought provoking topics. In the meantime, please enjoy being a live in carer. Life is a beautiful thing and by making someone’s life richer an more meaningful by letting them life in their own home during the twilight years you will be rewarded by a wonderful career. What ever happens, don’t lose track of the fact that you are helping someone and that can be more rewarding that any salary. Remember to pick you clients carefully and stay within your current skill set and you will be very happy.