Purpose and Mission
Home care workers (or residential workers or just care workers) assist clients in their own homes or in assisted living facilities. Typical responsibilities include:
- Learning more about clients, their interests and needs
- assisting clients with daily personal care such as washing, dressing, using the bathroom and eating
- carrying out domestic chores such as housework, laundry and shopping
- working with clients to manage their budget, pay bills and write letters
- helping client families get used to new care-giver responsibilities
- working with other healthcare and social care professionals to develop individual care plans
- organising leisure activities
- accompanying clients to and from trips to their home for various reasons.
Most home care workers work for professional agencies today, so they typically report to a client supervisor or services manager. Some care workers may work directly for the client or a member of the client’s family.
With a few exceptions, most home care workers do not have direct supervisory responsibilities except as relates to the client. More experienced care workers may help train new colleagues, and have input into the performance evaluations in some cases.
Home care workers do not have formal qualifications in Australia, and may be trained on-the-job training and shadowing a mentor. Some employers prefer candidates with a certificate in health services assistance or health support services.
A Certificate II and III in Health Support Services and a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance are available at registered training organisations throughout Australia.
Traineeship in home healthcare are also offered in some areas. A health service assistance or health support services traineeship is usually a one-year program, and some schools offer care worker traineeships.
Responsibilities of a Home Care Worker
The primary responsibilities of a home care worker include:
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- providing personal care and support to clients with a broad range of needs, illnesses and disabilities
- understanding the care and support of the client
- undertaking the tasks client’s care and support plan in the least intrusive way
- encouraging the independence and motivation of the client
- offering input into the care and support plans of clients
- assisting clients getting up in the morning and going to bed at night
- assisting clients to wash, bathe and shower
- assisting clients to get dressed and undressed
- assisting clients with skin, teeth, hair and nail care
- assisting clients with toileting and personal hygiene
- assisting clients with their medication per their Medication Care Needs Assessment
- preparing food and drink for the client, keeping in mind the likes/dislikes, nutritional needs and cultural requirements
- performing light household domestic duties, including housework and laundry, as detailed in the care plan
- being responsible for the safe handling of property and equipment belonging to the client
- working to maintain good communications and develop effective working relationships with clients
- offering companionship and actively talking and listening to clients about their interests
- Helping the client maintain contact with their family and friends
- accompanying the client on trips into the community
- helping the client to manage their personal affairs
- ensuring a safe living environment for the client, while still respecting the client’s choices and rights.