Part of the caregiving process is being in tune with the client's emotional needs. Caregivers make a real difference in the lives of their patients and their families, but not everyone is made for this job. Caregivers must master a comprehensive list of qualities and skills to be successful and provide the best possible customer care. Discover below 11 unique skills you need to become a caregiver.
Showing compassion means being able to attune to other people's distress and to feel a desire to alleviate it. This attribute is at the top of the list because many home health care clients are in distressing and even painful situations (recovering from surgery, losing their memory due to Alzheimer's disease, etc. Therefore, being affectionate and empathetic is an absolutely essential quality for caregivers). Compassion may not be a “difficult” skill like clinical knowledge or time management, but it's no less vital to the work of caregiver.
To help you hone your observation skills, check out our 43-Step Home Safety Assessment. Download it from your local Caring Senior Service resource library. Working as a caregiver is a very social job, and you'll be interacting with people all day long. You don't have to be an extrovert to work as a caregiver, but it certainly helps.
Having a high level of social skills will greatly help you establish a good relationship, build trust and, otherwise, foster a strong and open relationship with your customers. These interpersonal skills will help not only you, but also your clients, as many home care patients can feel isolated. Interacting with a caregiver can help to allay some of those feelings of loneliness. Caring Senior Service National HQ 201 East Park Avenue, Ste 200 San Antonio, TX 78212. It is essential to be able to articulate something as simple as a daily schedule or as complicated as talking about health problems and observations with the person in charge, family members and health care providers.
Communication is key to ensuring that everyone involved in the care relationship receives clear and accurate information. Caregivers perform a variety of physical tasks, from carrying food to vacuuming and helping people get around. Caregivers are often on their feet for long periods of time. Having a basic level of physical strength and endurance is important for maintaining your own health and that of your family member or client.
Showing compassion means being able to attune to another person's distress and to have the feelings and desire to alleviate it. Kindness, empathy and a caring heart are absolutely “essential” qualities for caregivers. Caregivers play an important role in the lives of both their patients and their loved ones. People who truly shine as caregivers have specific qualities and abilities that make them the perfect person for this job.
If you want to be a professional caregiver, such as a CDPAP assistant, continue reading to learn more about caregiver skills and responsibilities that are absolutely essential for anyone who wants to be successful at it. There are certain skills that are particularly important for caregivers in order to achieve good outcomes with patients. Some of these skills come naturally to certain caregivers, while others can be learned. Most professional caregivers are strong in certain skills and slightly weaker in others.
Caregivers who are passionate about their work will find a balance between the necessary skills that will allow them to shine in their work. Empathy is about truly attuning to and understanding your patients. The ability to empathize is truly the foundation of caregiving, because if you can't understand, through empathy, what your patients are going through, it will be difficult for you to provide them with the right care. Although, as a person, the caregiver may never have experienced what his patients are going through, empathy allows him to use his imagination to learn about his patients' problems and challenges in order to provide better care. Empathy consists of imagining yourself walking a mile in the patient's shoes.
If you can empathize with your patients and imagine how they feel in the various situations they face, you are likely to provide them with high-quality care. Everyone has a hard time being patient, but the best caregivers tend to master this skill better than other people. When these emotions manifest, a patient caregiver can work with the patient to overcome them rather than fight them. Excellent communication skills are a must for caregivers.
In fact, communication is necessary not only between the caregiver and their patients, but also between the caregiver and the patient's loved ones. Caregivers are on the front line with patients, meaning they see, hear and experience different aspects of the patient's life and health status that other members of the caregiver team may overlook. By communicating clearly with appropriate team members, as well as with the patient's loved ones, caregivers can improve patient care and actively promote overall well-being in terms of the family system and the patient's physical health. Caregiving as a profession is never boring because there are always new challenges to overcome.
The ability to solve problems for you and for patients is an important part of a caregiver's job. Over the course of a normal day, caregivers often have to change their plans, prepare nutritious meals, or help patients transport them to medical appointments. When a patient is suffering and the person caring for them empathizes and recognizes their pain, they can show compassion even if the patient or their loved ones are extremely angry or upset. Compassion is about doing to others what you would like them to do to you in the same situation.
Learning to measure a patient's blood pressure may not be the same type of skill as showing compassion, but in many ways, the ability to show compassion may be even more important than certain skills learned, such as taking vital signs. A positive attitude lends itself to positive results. The most successful caregivers tend to be very positive people for a reason. When caregivers are positive, life is more pleasant and easier for everyone around them. A positive attitude can lift the spirits of the caregiver's patients and infect all members of the care team, as well as family members.
If you have a positive attitude about the work ahead of you, the quality of the care you provide will improve significantly. Your patients will feel your positivity and most will respond to it in a positive way. While it's important to be positive with patients, caregivers who have a positive attitude toward their work are likely to generally find that their time at work flies by. Positivity attracts positivity, so all staff benefit from the positive attitude of a caregiver.
Sometimes patients try to hide information from caregivers if they fear that their health is deteriorating, but caregivers who pay attention to details tend to notice changes in their patients' behavior and health status and other signs that may give them clues about the change. The caregiver can then search for information or contact the medical team about the changes. It's also important to write down what you see both in writing and speaking directly with other members of the care staff. Caregivers who observe what may not be obvious to other people and then effectively communicate about what they have seen can not only save lives but also make their patients' lives more comfortable by showing that they truly care.
Not everyone wants to sit behind a desk. Caregiving is an active job, and caregivers must perform numerous tasks throughout the day, from helping patients eat and bathe and perform activities of daily living (ADL) to carrying food and lifting patients. It's not uncommon for professional caregivers to spend many hours on their feet, so anyone doing this job should have good physical strength and endurance. Caregivers tend to enjoy being active and moving around a lot because it allows them to pass time quickly and keep their work interesting.
Good social skills are essential in this line of work because caregivers need to develop a good relationship or a sense of trust between their patients and everyone involved in the patient's life. The caregiver's interpersonal skills will help ward off the patient's sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness. These interpersonal skills help the patient stay connected to what they need. People who are always looking for ways to help by doing whatever it takes for their friends or family members will be great caregivers.
In addition to the innate or learned skills that caregivers must possess to be successful in this profession, there are certain responsibilities that caregivers have with respect to their patients. These responsibilities help the patient to carry out their activities of daily living (ADL) with dignity and comfort. Caregivers use empathy, initiative, and the diverse skills that make them good at what they do to manage the responsibilities listed below on a daily basis. Bathing patients helps keep them healthy because good hygiene and good health go hand in hand.
Caregivers may need to give bedridden patients sponge baths. Other patients may be able to bathe in a shower or bathtub with the help of the caregiver. Bathing patients in a way that makes them feel comfortable and dignified is an important responsibility for caregivers. In some centers, patients receive sponge baths throughout the week and one bath tub per week.
There are a number of potential challenges that caregivers face when bathing patients. Patients with contractures or wounds can be especially difficult to bathe and sometimes caregivers will need to follow specific instructions to care for the patient properly. Even if patients have contractures, it is essential to bathe contracted parts of the body to help prevent the onset of decubitus ulcers (decubitus sores).). Patients who wear plasters will need additional help bathing and caregivers will be asked to follow the nurse or doctor's instructions to avoid skin problems as a result of inadequate hygiene.
However, regardless of the patient's health problems, bedridden patients benefit in many ways if they are bathed regularly by a specialized caregiver. Outpatients present different challenges for caregivers. These patients are at risk of falling before, during or after bathing. While outpatients may be able to bathe themselves, caregivers should monitor the time they bathe to prevent falls and other types of accidents.
In facilities where specialized bathtubs and bath chairs are used to raise and lower patients into the water, caregivers should ensure that patients are tied to the chair with straps to prevent serious falls. As ground water always presents a risk of slipping, this is an important concern that all caregivers should consider when bathing. Many patients will need the caregiver's help to: get dressed. Every patient is different and there are different ways to make it easier for patients to dress according to the patient's specific problems.
For example, a woman with a painful shoulder problem may have difficulty tucking her arm into her long-sleeved, button-down shirts. This woman may find it easier to adapt to clothes. In this case, the caregiver may recommend to the nurse or family members that the patient wear this type of clothing to make it easier for her to dress. Dressing patients who are confined to bed requires special skills that caregivers can learn.
If the patient is unable to sit, it may be necessary to dress him halfway and then roll him over his clothes using a special technique to dress the rest of the clothes. With the help of a partner, caregivers can sometimes dress bed-bound patients with sufficient muscle tone by sitting them on the edge of the bed. As a general rule, patients should be allowed to dress themselves to the best of their ability to preserve their current level of independence. Allowing patients to dress alone may require patience on the part of the caregiver, as the patient will inevitably take longer to perform the task than it would take for the caregiver to do it for the patient.
However, whenever possible, it is important for the caregiver to set aside time so that the patient has the opportunity to dress for himself. The ability to dress for oneself is a sign of independence that contributes to the patient's self-esteem. Caregivers should be kind to patients when dressing to ensure that the patient feels the caregiver's dignity and concern throughout the process. If the patient is willing to talk, getting dressed can be a time for caregivers to talk to their patients.
A light conversation between caregiver and patient during this time can make this one of the most enjoyable times of day for patients. It's very common for caregivers to prepare meals for their patients, especially in home health situations. When caregivers must cook meals for their patients, it is important that they prepare the meals that the patient likes. And it's important for the caregiver to clean up after preparation. The kitchen can be riddled with pests if not properly cleaned and this can lead to health problems for the patient.
As a caregiver, you don't need to be a great cook, but you should have an idea of what's healthy and what's not, and you should be able to prepare simple meals like mac and cheese, spaghetti or sandwiches. If you happen to be a fabulous cook, that's great, but caregivers need to make sure they meet specifications when cooking meals for patients because, often, the budget for healthy meals at home is quite strict. Cooking isn't just about cooking, but also about cleaning and sticking to a tight budget. Many patients take a variety of medications throughout the day, and often caregivers are responsible for ensuring that the patient takes their medications according to the schedule prescribed by the doctor. The patient's medications play an important role in the patient's health, so those responsible for helping him administer the medications should follow the prescribed schedule closely and take note of any adverse effects caused by the medication.
A clean space can be emotionally and mentally stimulating, but cleaning also promotes a patient's health from a physical point of view. Caregivers are often asked to do light cleaning in the patient's home to keep the space clean and clean. People who care for patients don't usually do intensive cleaning tasks, since weekly cleanings are done by a housewife, but between the dates the cleaning team is there, the patient's space should be relatively clutter-free and reasonably clean. Having a clean and comfortable home can help patients feel good and maintain a positive attitude that will affect their entire experience of being cared for by a professional caregiver.
The person you are caring for may face a variety of challenges, from mental to physical difficulties. These challenges can affect your ability to communicate, complete tasks, and more. As a caregiver, you exercise patience by slowing down to strive to communicate and provide quality care, even if you're not sure of the specific challenges you'll face that day. Supporting older people to move forward at their own pace is important to help them maintain their sense of independence.
Empathy allows you to connect, understand and share the feelings of another person. If you can't understand, through empathy, what your client and family may be going through, it will be difficult to provide appropriate care for that person. Having empathy as a caregiver makes it easier to provide genuine care and build strong relationships. Empathy is important when building relationships in all aspects of life. No two shifts or home visits are the same, and caregivers must have a flexible mindset to be able to handle these changes with elegance. In fact, caregivers must often record patient progress in terms of different health goals for other members of the caregiver team.