Ultimately, a caregiver is someone who can provide the necessary physical, mental and emotional support to clients. Because this means a daily fluctuation in expectations and the requirement to “bring your whole self”, being a caregiver is incredibly rewarding, critically important to the quality of life of the individual you’re caring for, and also challenging. For this blog post, I’m going to focus on the primary duties of caregivers in the home care setting.
- Effective communication – You, and often only you, see your patient’s physical, mental and emotional baselines. You notice changes and have to communicate that to your team. You need to update family members when they ask how Mom is doing. You have to calm Dad down when Mom is sick and in the hospital. Phrasing conversations effectively–and with accuracy–is a big part of meeting the needs of your client.
- Companion care – This is the most basic level of care, and also one of the most crucial because it has the most power to minister to the spirit and soul of your patient. You’ll talk, listen, and provide proactive ideas. This is the area where you can be most creative and be the spark that helps your patient “Live Life to the Fullest”. You’ll assist with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) such as:
- Grocery Shopping
- Light housekeeping
- Going out for meals
- Nail care (painting nails)
- Personal care – This is the next level of care which focuses on meeting the physical needs of the patient. You’ll assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as
- Oral hygiene
- Sitting – Surprised by this one? Don’t be! The value of your presences is priceless. You may be with a client to ensure safety, particularly in the evenings/nighttime. Think of it as sitting with a purpose, with your “whole self” being ready to meet the needs of your patient.
Home Care vs. Home Health Care vs. Hospital Care: Why the Differences Matter
If you’re considering a career as a caregiver, it’s important to know some specifics about the different ways care can be delivered so you can better understand the role you will play.
- Home care and home health are not the same.
- Home care is a general term typically used by people to talk about care provided in the home. Legally speaking, in most states (including Delaware) home care means companion care and limited personal care (no transfers, for example).
- Home health care is typically a higher level of care, with all care overseen by a nurse (meaning that the hours count towards your license). Home health care is more clinical and more skilled than home care and comprises all levels of care: Companion, personal (including transfers), and nursing care.
- Staffing needs for home care/home health care are different than a hospital’s or nursing facility’s. Home care clients are most comfortable with as few “new people” coming in as possible. They value routines. They want to minimize “turnover fatigue”–the strain felt when having to show many people how to do things. Shift changes, staffing substitutions, and new faces are normal in a facility but not in home care. What does this mean for our caregivers? It means reliability and consistency are a priority for our caregivers. Simply put, we look for caregivers who are dependable.
Are you seeing yourself as a home caregiver? Perhaps you’re looking to launch your career or considering a career change. We’d love to talk to you. Let’s connect! You can learn more about a career with Silver Lining Home Healthcare here.
Here’s to life to the fullest,
Tiffany Rubin, Governing Board Member
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