Home / News / What does it mean to work in home care?
Today, 22nd September, we are celebrating home care and live-in care as part of the inaugural Celebrating Homecare event. This initiative, developed by the Homecare Association in conjunction with The Care Workers’ Charity, celebrates the incredible difference that home care makes in peoples’ lives every day.
To mark the occasion, we have spoken to members of our home care team in order to learn more about what it means to be a home care worker.
What is home care?
Home care is when a trained care worker provides support to people within the comfort and security of their own home; allowing them to live safely in the knowledge that assistance is on hand when they need it.
Home care is usually considered the first step on the care ladder. It can be delivered on a regular basis, or as a respite service that allows family members to take a break from their own care role.
Other types of care such as live-in care and care homes, may be better options for those who require full-time support.
What does a home care worker do?
The role of a home care worker can vary considerably from day to day and between different service users. The type of support provided is determined through a personalised care plan.
Washing, dressing and cleaning may go hand in hand with helping the client get to an appointment or go shopping. Helping someone get up in the morning, to take their medication, or to feed and exercise their pets are other ways in which a care worker may assists people to manage daily living needs.
However, it is not all about physical assistance. Home care workers provide important emotional support and companionship to their service users. For many, it is the chance to form strong and rewarding bonds.
Home care is about helping the individual to retain their independence by working with them. It means supporting them in living their lives the way they want to and providing that important sense of companionship. For many, it is more than just a job.
Home care is more than a job
This was the prominent message from our conversation with home care worker, Venus.
Originally from the Philippines, Venus explained that caring for older people within the family had always been a part of Philippine culture and that to care was part of her personality.
She explained that:
My job seems like not a job, it seems like looking after my family and doing it for them.
– Venus, Home Care Assistant
For Venus, to care comes from a natural instinct to help others. What’s more, it is an opportunity to build close, meaningful relationships with those she cares for.
Home care is about companionship
That sense of companionship is a vital part of home care.
Sharing hobbies or joining service users for a cup of tea and a chat are important aspects of a home care worker’s role.
This has been particularly prevalent during the Covid-19 pandemic where many elderly and vulnerable people have been left isolated and lonely.
That sense of companionship is a shared experience between service user and carer. For Harry, a part-time home care worker at our Christchurch branch, home care is a chance to meet and be a companion to others. This was why he came out of retirement to become a home care worker.
It’s good, I meet lots of people, lots of extraordinary people that you wouldn’t normally meet.
– Harry, Home Care Assistant
Retirement can often feel like an isolating experience. However, through his care work, Harry has been able to meet new people and feel part of a larger team of care staff and healthcare professionals within his community.
With flexible shifts, he can work at his pace while slowly transitioning into a well-deserved retirement.
Home care is about career progression
It is a common misconception that there is no career progression in care. However, as Filipe has shown, this is not the case.
Filipe is Agincare’s only Dual Registered Manager with the CQC, and is currently running the Bridport and Dorchester home care branches, as well as Trailway Extra Care scheme in Blandford, Dorset.
Born in Portugal, he has spent the last 14 years with Agincare. In that time, he has progressed his career through a dedication to the array of training available in the care sector.
Social care courses and apprenticeships, such as those provided by Training Now, are ideal for those looking to progress their career.
Social care diplomas from City & Guild can range from a GCSE equivalent Level 2 Diploma through to Level 4, which is equivalent to a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma.
Filipe puts his success down to a combination of training, qualifications and, most importantly, character.
Care is a vocation. The technical aspects can be taught but you can’t teach empathy and compassion, you either have it or you don’t.
– Filipe, Dual Registered Manager
In the care sector, recruitment remains focused on personality and values. It is not necessarily about the strength of your CV.
That instinctual passion for care, as seen in individuals such as Venus, are just as important as the skills learnt through training.
Home care then, means having a career where your natural disposition carries as much weight as the qualifications you gain.
Home care is a rewarding career
Ultimately, home care is about working hard every day to make a real difference and feeling emotionally rewarded for it.
Home care worker, Holly, expanded on this in an interview last December:
It’s a really important part of our society, it’s a huge, huge part of life which kind of goes unnoticed. And it shouldn’t, because it’s amazing and it’s so rewarding and fun and challenging; and brilliant.
– Holly, Home Care Assistant
Since talking to Holly, there has been an outpouring of public support and recognition for the care sector. Events like Celebrating Homecare are helping to cast a light on the important work that carers up and down the country do every day.
Like Venus, Harry, Filipe and Holly, you can discover the rewards of a career in care. You can make a difference.