There are many individuals who struggle to carry out the daily tasks most people take for granted. This responsibility therefore sometimes falls upon a family member who is on duty 24 hours a day. Care assistants offer physical support to the elderly, disabled and ill, whilst providing respite for the people who take care of them.
Who can I work for?
Major employers are social services and private or NHS nursing homes. Care assistants also work for agencies, which place them in a range of caring environments.
Where and when can I work?
Care assistants are found in nursing homes and hospices, and they also visit clients in their own home. Some care assistants are employed during regular working hours but the majority of positions are within institutions that operate 24 hours per day. Care assistants usually work varying shift patterns, which includes evenings and weekend work.
What can I earn?
Most care assistants are paid by the hour, earning between £6-£8. A full time salary starts at the national minimum wage, currently at £12,400 per annum, with more experienced staff earning approximately £17k.
What are the benefits?
Care assistants are often exposed to potentially distressing situations but having the opportunity to make a difference to another person’s life is extremely rewarding.
Are there chances of promotion?
Committed care assistants can undertake professional development courses in hygiene and health and safety, and can also work towards an NVQ. The NVQ enables care assistants to progress into managerial or supervisory roles.
What will I be responsible for?
The primary responsibility of a care assistant is to ensure the client's general comfort by helping with personal care, such as washing, dressing, cooking and feeding. Care assistants are also required to help people with administrative tasks, such as paying bills, managing budgets, and letter or email writing.
What qualifications do I need?
Some employers require an NVQ in Health and Social Care, but often success depends on having the necessary skills and experience. Due to the vulnerable nature of the clients, all care assistants are required to undergo a CRB check.
Do I need any experience?
Having experience of working within a care setting is advantageous but some employers will accept new staff with an NVQ in Health and Social Care. Relevant work experience is essential when applying to work with specialist needs patients, such as those suffering with dementia.
What attributes are needed?
It is essential that a care assistant adopts a friendly approach and has the ability to be tactful and patient at all times. A care assistant must be physically strong to support and lift people when required, and have a good sense of humour.