Working in a care home can be an incredibly rewarding job, but it does require some specific skills. Whilst many careers focus on academic abilities, care home staff are often recruited based on their personalities. We’ve put together a helpful guide on the six main skills needed to work within a care home as a care assistant, so you can see if you have what it takes.
If you want to work in a care home setting as a care assistant, you’ll need to have a naturally caring nature. Whilst working as a care assistant, you’ll be required to care for the physical and mental health of multiple residents. Some might require help with carrying out hygiene tasks, whilst others may need support with a progressive illness or learning disability.
It’s absolutely essential that you’re compassionate and respectful to every resident, helping to provide them with a safe environment. As a care assistant need to ensure that the residents feel comfortable approaching you and that any issues they have are solved. Of course, at times, the job may get difficult, which is why it’s important that you have a genuine enthusiasm for caring and helping. Whilst working in a care home, your number one priority is to focus on the needs and wellbeing of others. For this reason, you’ll need to maintain energy and drive throughout your shift.
Having good communication skills is a vital trait for many reasons. Working as a care assistant involves communicating daily with both team members and residents. Communicating with other staff members could involve discussing any concerns or developments you may have noticed, or coordinating future plans together.
On the other hand, communicating with residents is extremely important for their wellbeing as a whole. A friendly conversation could be all it takes to lift someone’s mood, especially since socialisation is so important within care settings. Communicating with residents also involves asking them how they feel and if there’s anything they’d like support with. It’s important that these questions are asked in an appropriate and effective manner.
Organisation is key when working as a care assistant. Since you’ll be caring for a number of different residents, it’s important that all their care requirements and details are kept fully up to date. The people you support will rely on you to provide the right care and the right medication each day. For this reason, you’ll need to manage your time, keep track of all developments and have a good memory too.
Whilst this may seem daunting at first, you’ll have a whole team there to support you. Plus, most care homes carry out a variety of training sessions to help you build up these valuable skills.
Moving into a care home can be a difficult change for people. You may have to care for residents who are emotional or asking to return back home. This is why sensitivity and empathy are key qualities for a care assistant. You’ll need to understand how each resident really feels and support them with any issues accordingly.
Through listening to their concerns and doing what you can to help, trust can be built and a relationship formed. It’s essential that the residents feel they have someone to talk to and someone who will listen to their concerns. That’s why care homes seek naturally empathetic people who will listen, understand and comfort.
It could be argued that this is the most important skill of all for a care assistant. Whilst working in a care home, you’ll be required to undertake a lot of training to help progress your career. Therefore, it’s essential that you have a willingness to learn and a desire to gain new skills. Unlike some careers, when applying to become a care assistant, your current academic qualifications are not the only thing taken into account. Instead, your personality and eagerness to learn is viewed as more important.
Whilst many care homes offer voluntary training on a wide range of topics, they’re also required to offer mandatory training. This ensures that all care staff stay up to date with the recommended practices and legal guidelines.
Reliability and trustworthiness are key skills for a care assistant to have. The residents of a care home will need you to be punctual, efficient and always on hand when needed. For vulnerable residents in particular, this sense of reliability is crucial. They’ll need you to provide a sense of security and stability, establishing a regular routine each day.
Plus, the senior care team will expect you to show a sense of reliability too. You’ll need to ensure you keep care plans up to date, liaise with other team members and raise any concerns that may arise. If you’re unable to make a particular shift, you’ll need to let staff know in advance, allowing them to prepare for your absence.