Working as a professional caregiver can be a rewarding experience. You can provide quality care for your patients, in their homes, and help them lead better lives. As a growing number of people across the country approach their twilight years, the demand for professional caregivers is rising.
People are choosing to spend their last days at home, instead of in unfamiliar hospital settings. While working as a caregiver can be a stable career path, it can lead to frequent burnouts as well. Caring for an ailing or elderly patient can be emotionally exhausting, especially where the patient is not expected to get better.
You can also find yourself working long hours, by yourself, in the homes of your patients. While it’s true that you’ll get the opportunity to build personal relationships with your patients and their families. You won’t get the same support structure you would get in a hospital setting, from other healthcare providers. This is why starting out as a caregiver can be a daunting experience.
If you’re new to caregiving, then here are seven tips to help you succeed at work:
1. Talk To Your Patients
The key to providing quality care to your patients is understanding their needs. When you talk to your patients, ask them about their health, their likes, and their dislikes. Ask them to tell you if they notice any changes in how they’re feeling. This can signal important changes in their health as well.
Try to keep notes on the condition of the patient, to better monitor how they’re progressing. Ask your patients if they need help around the home, or if they prefer that you spend more time with them. Remember that your patients will be just as alone as you, so your support will be important to them.
2. Ask Questions
If you’re ever unsure about what’s expected out of you, know who you can get in touch with to have your questions answered. If you work for a home health care agency, then your supervisor should be able to help you in dealing with most problems. If you’re an independent caregiver, then keep the number of the patient’s doctor and supervising nurse handy, in case you need to ask them any questions.
3. Get Support For Caregivers
As a caregiver, you’re expected to provide a lot of support. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t need support as well. If you find it difficult to do certain tasks by yourself, then you can ask your agency to send you a buddy. If you’re an independent caregiver, then consider networking with other professional caregivers. If you ever need someone to cover for you for a few hours or to help you at work, you should have a few people you can call.
By building a professional network, you also ensure that you get referrals, providing you with a steady stream of work. Consider investing in caregiver insurance as well. This is because working as a caregiver can leave you vulnerable to certain career risks, such as getting sued by unhappy patients. When you have caregiver insurance, you have the coverage needed to protect both your career as well as your finances. If you would like to learn more about caregiver career, then click here.
4. Socialize With Your Friends And Family
As a caregiver, you’ll be spending long hours alone, caring for the patient. This can leave you socially isolated. Over time, you can develop feelings of loneliness, anxiety, stress, and even depression. This is why you should take time out of your weekly schedule, to spend time with your loved ones.
5. Take Care Of Yourself
When you don’t feel good yourself, you won’t be able to provide quality care to the patient. This is why before you focus on taking care of your patients, you’ll need to take care of yourself first. Ensure that you’re eating well, and that you’re sleeping for at least eight hours every night. Remember to take time off from work, to rest and recover as well.
Just taking a single day off from work in the week, can leave you feeling rejuvenated.
6. Always Lock Your Car
For caregivers, their car becomes their office. This is because caregivers store everything they need for the day, in their cars. Having a car is indispensable when you’re a professional caregiver, as you’ll need to travel to the homes of your patients. Be careful however, about locking your car. Never leave your car doors unlocked, even if only for a few minutes.
Carry a few extra scrubs with you in the car as well, as well as a change of clothes.
7. Be Patient
Earlier in your career as a caregiver, building patience will be the hardest task. You’ll need to help your patients with the same tasks, every day. Patients who have diseases like Alzheimer’s will need special care. You should be patient and compassionate in how you approach your patients.
As you work as a caregiver, you’ll be able to develop the skills needed to excel in your career. From being patient to taking care of your own mental and physical health, this guide helps you learn what you can do to become a successful caregiver. Use the tips in this guide to become a better caregiver, even if you’re new to the profession.