How to Become a Caregiver

Nurse Next Door

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Caregiving is one of the most rewarding healthcare careers. Not only is there a great demand for Caregiver services with excellent salary and Caregiver compensation, but it’s also a feel-good role, as you’re supporting some of the most vulnerable folks in our society to live their best lives.

What is a career in caregiving like?

Being a paid Caregiver could be your dream job if you want to:

  • Make a positive difference in people’s lives. In your Caregiver role, you’ll be giving companionship, attention and emotional support to people who need it most.
  • Enjoy a flexible schedule in any number of hours. Caregivers enjoy flexible working conditions, and can work as few hours, or as many hours as desired.
  • Experience professional growth. As you develop in your career as a Caregiver, you’ll continue to learn and grow over time. There are many training opportunities and services available for Caregiver support.
  • Be in a high-demand position. Now more than ever, paid caregivers are needed in our society. There are plenty of rewarding job openings available.
  • Help people who need it the most. As a Caregiver, you’ll help people who have a disability, are ill or are an older adult care recipient. Some clients require ongoing support, while other may only need short-term, non medical assistance. Caregivers work with clients who have complex and chronic medical conditions, cognitive or physical disabilities, and people requiring end-of-life care.

If this sounds good to you, read on to learn more about what’s involved in the day-to-day and how to become a Caregiver.

What is the role of a Caregiver?

A Caregiver with Nurse Next Door provides personalized senior home care services for older adults requiring ongoing support or short-term assistance at home or in an assisted living facility. In general, clients can require companionship, meal preparation, homemaking, personal care and nursing. Additionally, they may have chronic or complex medical conditions, physical or mental disabilities, and they can require end-of-life care.

In-home caregivers are important as they provide essential and important daily living support to elderly clients. This role can be challenging. But if you are passionate about helping those in your community, making a positive difference in the lives of others and supporting family caregivers, it’s an incredibly rewarding line of work.

No day is ever the same as a Caregiver! As an in-home Caregiver provides services that nurses, doctors and sometimes family members can’t, which is spending hours and quality time with their clients. Whether it’s at home, helping clients clean their space, going on social outings, enjoying physical activities, and assisting with medication reminders, caregivers provide their clients with a combination of practical support and companionship.

Caregivers create happier aging experiences and client-focused care in both home and community based services settings. They bring peace of mind to their clients and their clients’ families by providing a premium care approach. On the daily, caregivers assist clients with activities: Meal preparation, personal care, light housekeeping, errands, companionship and transportation to name a few.

Working as a Caregiver typically means that you will be working on your feet. You may be required to help transfer and move clients and their equipment. If you like working on your feet and are an active individual, this is a great career.

Logistical requirements of responding to your Care Designer, or case manager regarding scheduling inquiries and updates are also needed. Prior to every visit, caregivers review the client’s care plan, and all records and assignments are completed accurately.

Elevating client experiences is always encouraged. As care is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you may be scheduled for early morning, afternoon, evening, or overnight services to meet your clients’ needs.

becoming a caregiver with nurse next door.

Is Caregiver certification required?

Proof of care certification is required to become a Caregiver. There are several skills and qualifications required to succeed in Caregiver services after completing Caregiver training.

Interpersonal skills are needed as it’s important to know yourself, what you’re capable of, and interested in before making the decision to enter a Caregiver program.

Interpersonal communication skills are required to be a successful Caregiver. In order to communicate with clients their family member(s) and coworkers, not only do caregivers have to be able to speak to their clients, they also need to attentively listen. As a Caregiver, you are your client’s best advocate.

Empathy is needed. When a client is in pain and needs help, caregivers respond with an urge to help. A kind and compassionate personality sets the tone for the client’s care and experience.

Physical stamina is also a prerequisite for caregivers as physical tasks are performed daily. Caregivers may have to lift or turn clients, or carry their equipment for them.

Patience is also a necessary condition. There are many situations where caregivers must exhibit patience, to meet clients where they are at and let them know they’re there for them no matter what. It’s important to stay calm and at ease if clients are struggling, which is generally easiest with a steady and emotionally stable personality type.

Technical Skills are last on the list but crucial to the role. There are a number of important technical knowledge skills to learn about through education and training. There are many skills that will be learnt on the job, but the following section outlines the skills acquired during training to become a Caregiver.

Why is Caregiver certification important?

The education in place through a variety of schools and training centers standardizes several skills for caregivers before they enter the workforce. Caregivers with certification have learned how to:

  • Assist with personal care and daily hygiene tasks.
  • Recognize abuse and care for the mental, emotional and physical well-being of clients.
  • Prepare meals, manage non medical household activities and provide respite care.
  • Help clients dealing with cognitive impairment and disability services.
  • Recognize and assist with developmental disabilities, confusion, delirium, dementia care, Alzheimer’s disease and mental health illnesses.
  • Promote client self care in an end-of-life and palliative care setting.
  • Transfer clients using proper transfer and mobility techniques with assistive devices.
  • Care for and prevent various types of wounds, infections and complications.
  • Effectively communicate with clients and their family members.
  • Navigate the healthcare system and become familiar with different workplace settings and services.
  • Understand the goals and main responsibilities of the Caregiver and support family caregivers.
  • Apply the principles of health care ethics and legislation and be able to refer to a care support group if needed.

Each state and province has different Caregiver training requirements for caregiving certification. Check with your local government and national association requirements to be sure you’re obtaining the correct education and training for the province, state or territory that you plan to work in. Continuing education will also be part of your daily work once you’ve entered the job force.

How do I become a certified Caregiver?

The great thing about becoming a new Caregiver is that the specific training needed is not as intensive as other health care programs, but you still learn all of the necessary skills to become an effective Caregiver after graduation. Starting a career as a Caregiver doesn’t take long and therefore the tuition is at a lower cost. Most programs take under six months to complete and only require a high school diploma for entry.

The path to becoming a Caregiver may look different for everyone, especially if you are interested in a certain line of work. But, if you’re interested in becoming a Caregiver in the U.S., Canada and Australia, there are some specific programs that you should take first. Spend time researching which care program best fits your needs, budget and lifestyle before applying.

Before enrolling in a program, think through the type of services you would like to work in. This may be difficult at first, but start off by doing research, talking to people in the industry and anyone affiliated with the professional association of caregivers in your area. Think about why you want to become a Caregiver and what you are passionate about. You may also want to work as a volunteer caregiver at facilities like VA medical centers, exploring the role that way first. Or consider joining caregiving support groups, a family caregiver alliance or even becoming a family caregiver first.

Is there career growth in caregiving?

With an ever increasing number of people living longer but not being able to care for themselves in their own homes or their family member in their older age, there will always be a demand for qualified caregivers. This is especially true for nursing homes and your local residential care facility. In basic terms, for as long as people are aging, there will always be a career for you as a Caregiver. The latest employment reports predict steady growth in this field, mainly because of an aging population and shrinking health care resources. This allows for there to be a steady increase of Caregiver job opportunities and support groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Especially now, with the advancement of medical science and technology, there are decreased mortality rates among elders all across North America and Australia. Caregivers play a crucial role in offering care to those who need it, and those who want to enjoy independent living, longer. They play a huge role in the healthcare field, assuring happier aging for those who cannot fully care for themselves in their golden years, and helping them to celebrate their aging.

It’s also important to note that choosing caregiving as a career is a very selfless decision. It’s in high demand because there are more people in need than workers available. Because of this, there are many job opportunities for care services. If you are someone who is passionate about helping others and wants a rewarding career, get started on your Caregiver journey today to enter the field in less than a few months. If you are interested in additional growth later in your career, you may be able to use your Caregiver training to ladder into being a certified nursing assistant.

You can apply to our open Caregiver positions to get started and make lives better, today.

 

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