5 Qualities of an Exceptional Caregiver
Taking on the role of a elderly caregiver can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but also one of the most daunting. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are compassionate, caring and empathetic, it’s the perfect career path! Caregiving is something that should not be considered lightly and there’s a difference between good and exceptional care. What does giving exceptional care look like? How can you become a caregiver that provides exceptional care? Below are some of the key qualities that are present in exceptional caregivers, something every client deserves.
Empathizing with your client allows you to understand and actually share what the other person is feeling and going through. This will help you build a relationship and good rapport with your client, and naturally will bring out all of the key qualities associated with caring, such as: compassion, love, kindness, respect, consideration and warm heartedness.
An exceptional caregiver will not sit back while their client may be disadvantaged due to their illness, current state of mind, or general lack of health literacy (lack of knowledge within the medical field). As an exceptional caregiver you are the voice of your client, and must speak up for the best interest of your client. This can sometimes be difficult as the person you may be speaking up to could be a co-worker, a client’s family member, a physician or even a friend, but remember: when a client’s care is in your hands they are your priority no matter how difficult a conversation may be.
In general ethics is about doing the right thing. An exceptional caregiver holds high standards for themselves and the work they do. There will be many times throughout your career as an elderly caregiver where an “easier” way or a “short-cut” may be presented as an option. These can be tempting, especially if you had a demanding day and are exhausted yourself. Studies have shown if you take one short-cut one time that you will continue to take it again and again, an ever-revolving cycle of continuing to make that poor decision. A way I like to push through a hard day when a short-cut may seem tempting is by asking myself “If this was my loved one, what would I do?” I guarantee this small sentence will put the situation into a much greater perspective and make you think twice about taking the easy way out.
On a regular basis you must sit back and evaluate yourself. How has your work ethic been? Have you been abiding by your own personal standards? Are you feeling burnt-out at all? We are all human and bad days come and go but it is your responsibility to recognize those bad days and learn from them. How can you change your actions if presented with similar scenarios again? Self-reflection allows you to grow as a caregiver and learn from past experiences, which in return, will help you to provide better care to future clients.
They say patience is a virtue, well whoever “they” are, they’re correct. Often care is given to our elderly population. In general, as we age we slow down, add in an illness or injury and this individual will require a little more time to do daily tasks. An exceptional elderly caregiver will work with their client, promoting independence and dignity. Allow your clients to do as much for themselves as possible and assist them where needed. If you find yourself rushing your patient, or providing inadequate care based on time constraints, think of that little sentence: “what if this were me, what if this were one of my loved ones?”
Remember that taking care of another person is an honour. It should be something you are passionate about and love to do. You should take pride in your job and always look to achieve the best for your clients while striving to be the exceptional caregiver.
If you’re an exceptional elderly caregiver, Nurse Next Door would love to have you on the team. Click here to apply online!
If you’re interested in taking the next steps to become a certified caregiver or nurse, check out Stenberg College.