What makes a good carer? 11 skills & qualities of live-in carers

Dec 1, 2020

Live-in carer skills

As a company providing care and support for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, we recognise what makes a good carer. It is vital that when we are recruiting our live-in carers, we find individuals who are able to demonstrate our core values and who possess the specific skills to be a carer.

Far from live-in care work being ‘low skilled’, as has been mentioned by politicians in the past, we view it as a highly skilled professional vocation. For our clients, their ENA carer becomes one of the most important people in their life, sharing their home, time, and often very personal elements of their life and health. For this relationship to work, we know that our live-in carers need to demonstrate our values and have a specific skill set.

We define our values as:

Enabling

Enabling our clients to achieve the greatest level of independence possible by providing high-quality, person-centred care, using the ‘mum’ test to define all our live-in carer duties.

Nurturing

Ensuring everyone’s needs are fostered by applying good listening skills, a caring nature and showing compassion and empathy for every individual.

Aspiring

Aiming to aspire to greater things, listening to feedback and treating everyone individually and as an equal.

All of these values underpin the skills we look for, which include:

Empathetic

Our clients and carers often come from very different backgrounds, but what enables the best bonds to form is the ability of our carers to emphasise with our clients. It’s vital that our carers are able to understand their client’s challenges, as well as their goals and dreams, and be the person who ‘walks in their shoes’ to provide effective, personalised support. The most empathetic individuals are intuitive, enabling them to know when to step back and empower the person to do something and when to work side-by-side with the person to support them effectively, thus ensuring the person can enjoy maximum independence and autonomy.

Flexible

The working hours of live-in carers must be flexible. Care work changes from day to day, hour to hour and sometimes minute to minute, which means being flexible is imperative to ensure the person’s needs are always being met. Whilst our care plans form the structure that underpins our support, they are never ‘set in stone’, and all of our live-in carers are expected to show flexibility in their response to the person’s needs. It’s the level of personalised flexibility we are able to offer that makes live-in care such a unique and supportive type of social care, in contrast to the more rigid structures that are often seen in care home environments.

Excellent communication skills

Communication is at the heart of care and support. Without effective communication, be it verbal or non-verbal (body language, gestures or other communication methods like pictures, sign-language etc), care and support won’t ever meet the person’s needs. Therefore, we only recruit carers who are good communicators, not just when they are initiating communication or responding to their client’s communication but also when it comes to listening, which is a hugely important and often overlooked skill.

A real love of people

Our live-in carers tell us that they’ve come into this work because they love people, so it’s no surprise that we value a love of people as a key skill when we are recruiting new carers. Our clients are amazing people with great stories to tell and achievements to celebrate, and who in many cases have overcome adversity to thrive. A love of all things that make each of us human is, therefore, a vital skill for an ENA live-in carer.

A can-do attitude

Care work is often unpredictable, surprising, challenging and occasionally messy. Being able to embrace all of this and more with a hands-on, can-do attitude is a key attribute all of our carers need to have. For us it is vital for our clients to know that whatever their day may bring, their carer will approach it with professionalism, positivity and an attitude that whatever the person needs they will find a way to deliver it.

Respectful

We recognise that a good carer is respectful, treating a client as an individual, not just as someone who needs live-in care. Fundamentally, this arises through the ability to see the care through the eyes of the patient, respecting their possessions and personal space. This is crucial, because if people don’t feel respected, they can stop enjoying life. We all have our own privacy and needs, so it is imperative for our carers to ask for permission before starting a care activity. Our live-in carers will also take the time to listen to their clients, enjoy conversations and build a rapport with them. They will also ask their client how they would prefer to be addressed and involve them in decisions relating to their care.

Passionate

We employ carers who have the right skills to be a carer and who are also passionate about how they can make a difference to a person’s life. They care deeply about their role, providing the best care due to the alignment between their values and their career. A good carer will monitor their client’s wellbeing closely and will therefore want to provide the highest quality of care to ensure their client is happy and comfortable. Being passionate about the job provides the carer with motivation and an eagerness to learn. Being a carer can also come with challenges, and passion for their job means that the carer is more likely to remain focused and optimistic, understanding the connections between basic tasks and the importance of their client’s wellbeing.

Patience

Patience is most definitely a virtue when it comes to the work involved in live-in care jobs. Irritability or anger could upset clients and affect the carer’s ability to do their job. Our carers are patient when dealing with issues caused by a client’s mental or physical health and diminished capabilities (our carers may find they have to repeat themselves many times). The client may find it difficult to explain what they need, or they may move very slowly.

Patience is also needed when dealing with ill-mannered medical staff or complicated health insurance providers. And they can even find themselves patiently reassuring frustrated or anxious family members. Carers also need the patience to ensure they have quality time to talk with the client, even when they are working against the clock with a tight schedule and other urgent tasks that they need to attend to.

To find out more about working for ENA Care Group, please call 01707 383 033 or email .