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Not everyone is suited to working in care. For the most part, it takes a certain type of person to be able to deal with some of the harder parts of the job, as well as to be able to give their all to it. 

Thinking about becoming a caregiver and want to know if it is a job that is suited to you? To help you to make the decision, we have put together our guide on the main skills that are needed to become a high-quality caregiver.  

What are the skills of being a caregiver? 

As we have already mentioned being a caregiver, no matter the type of care that you provide, does take a variety of skills. In order to give the job the best that you have, these skills should either be naturally possessed or are something that you can work on and develop over time.  

Not only do they help to ensure that you are able to provide those in your care with a high level of support, but they also help you to manage your own self, time and emotions in what can sometimes be a hard and challenging job role.  

Skills you need to be a caregiver

So, what are the main skills that you need to be a caregiver and why are they important?  

Cleanliness

Not only is it the role of the carer to ensure that those who they care for are well looked after with the issues, illnesses or needs that they already have, but also to protect them too. An infection or an illness that may seem run of the mill to you or me could have a devastating impact on someone who is either already ill or who is elderly. 

This is why cleanliness is an important skill to have if you are a caregiver. You need to ensure that you follow basic hygiene rules so that you are minimising the chance of spreading any germs around to those who you are looking after.  

Communication skills

When you work in care, you are going to need to communicate with a variety of people. This includes those that you are providing care to and also those in their families too. You need to be able to communicate effectively with all these different types of people and also ensure that you meet (and understand) what can sometimes be the complex needs of those people in your care. 

When you add into this that you also need to be able to communicate with the rest of your team (so that you come together as one cohesive unit), you can see why communication is so important. 

Compassion

If you don’t have compassion, then caring really is not a role for you. You need to feel some form of compassion towards those that you care for and want to do your best to make them feel as well as you can. You want them to be comfortable and not to be suffering from any pain, be that physical or mental.  

You also want to try your best to be a listening ear when they have things that they want to share and simply need someone to talk to and have it feel like they understand them.  

Empathy

One of the main things that you need to have when you are a care worker is empathy. You need to not be just sympathetic towards those around you, as this isn’t always the right approach to take. Instead, you need to be able to look at things from their point of view.  

When you have empathy, you are going to be able to have a great understanding of how the person in your care is going to feel and why they may exhibit the behaviours that they do. It will also help you to be able to provide them with a level of individual support and care.  

Flexibility

If you are looking for a job where no two days are the same, then working in care is right up there. Every day that you work is going to be different, with its own challenges and obstacles to overcome, even if the tasks that you are completing are much the same. 

This means that you need to be as flexible in your approach as possible. Know that sometimes things are going to be a bit different to what you have faced before, and you are well on your way to succeeding as a carer. 

You also need to be flexible in the times and days that you work. Unfortunately, care doesn’t stop just because it is 5 pm, and there is a good chance that you will find yourself as a part of a rota system.  

 Observant

There can be times as a carer when you are faced with a person who is not “their usual self” these out of the ordinary actions or behaviours can sometimes be a sign that there is something is amiss with them and that perhaps they are unwell or have something that they need help with. 

If you are not observant, then how will you ever be able to pick up on the small changes that show that something is not quite right with that person?  

Organisation

More often than not, you are going to have a variety of different tasks and activities to juggle when you work in care. All of them are going to need your focus, and for the most part, they are all going to be time-critical and important to complete. This is why organisation is key. 

You need to be able to think about all the different points that are on your to-do list and ensure that they are all allocated their own time. This may mean that you need to dash from job to job, but if you are properly organised and know what to do (as well as when to do it), then you should find it much easier to tackle. 

Patience 

Those who require care usually have physical and/or psychological health issues, which means that you need to approach them and their situation with patience. When you are patient with them and exhibit calmness, then this will help them to feel comfortable and calm too. This is particularly true for those who have dementia who can sense you becoming agitated and then, in turn, become agitated too. 

It is not only those who have psychological issues that require patience, but it is also important for those who have physical issues as they are going to find it much harder to do things and may be slower, which means that you have to wait for them.  

Physical strength & stamina

It is hard work working as a carer, and a large part of your job is going to be physical tasks. Whilst these can be made easier in a variety of ways, it definitely has to be said that you are going to need to get used to being physically active day in and day out. 

Even if you feel worn out, your job means that you are going to need to get yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there into the world. Therefore, if you are planning on being a carer, then you are going to need to be someone who is physically strong, and that has enough stamina to keep them going.  

Problem solving skills

No matter how long you have worked in care, there are always curve balls thrown at you, and there is a good chance that you won’t know what to do in the situation. If you have never faced this kind of situation before, then there is a good chance that you won’t know what to do to fix things. 

This is where good problem-solving skills come in. You want to be able to take a step back from whatever the problem is and think about how you can take steps to fix it. Some of these may be obvious, whilst others are slightly outside of the box.  

Reliability

Those who you care for are going to know that it isn’t always possible for you to be around, but for the majority of the time, they will see you every single day or week. They will get used to seeing your face and knowing who it is that is coming to help them.  

This means that a key skill of being a carer is being reliable. If you are not sure that you are going to be able to fully dedicate yourself to the role and always be around when you are needed, then it might be worth thinking about whether care is really for you.  

Time management

When you have a lot to cram into one day, you are going to need to be able to properly plan out what you need to do, where you need to be and when you need to be there. This means that you need to work on your time management skills.  

Time management allows you to think about what it is that you need to get done that day, as well as how you are going to go about getting it done. You can plan out what tasks you have on your to-do list and consider how long each one is likely to take, therefore planning out your day properly and ensuring that you use the time you have as well as you can.  

Skill in care training 

Whilst many people will possess these skills. Naturally, there are also people who find that the skills needed to be a caregiver are something that they need to work on developing. For these people attending a skill in care training course. 

These courses will cover the basics of becoming a caregiver and give more information on the skills that are required. It will give tips and techniques to not only develop those relevant skills but also to ensure that they are best applied to the work that the caregiver does on a day-to-day basis.  

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