Fulfilled living in later life
10 skills and qualities you need to be a carer

Wednesday 1st June 2022

10 skills and qualities you need to be a carer

Caring has been unfairly labelled by some as a low-skilled role. Our Operations Manager Jane Trimarco highlights the skills and qualities that show it’s anything but

In our homes we rely on brilliant carers to look after our ‘family members’ (as we call those who live with us). It’s a demanding but highly rewarding role which requires a huge skill set. To do the role of a carer you need to:

1) Be adaptable

The needs of our family members come first. That means you need to be able to change quickly from one type of activity to another. You might move from a practical task like assisting someone with a shower to joining in with chair exercises in the lounge. You’re there not just to support physical needs, but emotional and spiritual needs too.

2) Pay attention to detail

During handovers at the start and end of every shift it’s vital that information about our family members is communicated accurately. Not only do you need to make sure you pass information on, you also need to listen carefully to what others say and act on it.

3) Show initiative

You might be the person who spots something no-one else sees. You then need the confidence to act. At Pilgrims’ Friend Society we support our carers through training. This is so that you are equipped to make good judgement calls. There won’t always be someone on hand to ask.

4) Be physically fit

As a carer you could be on your feet for an eight-hour shift. You need to be able to cope with that. If you have a good level of physical fitness and stamina this could be the role for you.

5) Follow instructions

Many of the tasks within care homes require specialist training to be done safely. This includes everything from using hoists and lifts, to washing and assisting with food for family members who require support. You need to make sure everything you do is done in line with procedures.

6) Have a good sense of humour

We don’t want grumpy people who have only applied for the role because the job centre has sent them. We want people who see the fun in things and help brighten the day for our family members. As a carer you’re there to help empower each family member to live their best life and help make new memories.

7) Show excellent customer service

Every carer is an ambassador for a home. You could be the person who greets a prospective family member and their loved ones. How you act, be it in person or over the phone, could make all the difference to whether someone chooses to come and live with us.

8) Be a team-player

Everyone has their ups and downs. As a carer with us, you’re be part of big team that supports each other, helping out if someone is struggling or being on hand to share ideas. Each care home is one big family where everyone is supported and celebrated for what they bring.

9) Be willing to learn

We’re committed to training our staff thoroughly. As well as working towards qualifications in health and social care, those who work with us are trained in The Way We Care, an approach to care unique to Pilgrims’ Friend Society.

10) Empathise

Last, but by no means least, carers need to be able to empathise. This means taking the time to get to know each family member as an individual, a principle that underpins The Way We Care. Through knowing each family member’s history and interests, a carer is equipped to care for each person really well. During end-of-life care, a carer might sit and hold a person’s hand or make sure they have their favourite hymn to listen to. These things really matter and can make a person’s last moments precious.

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