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Live in care: what qualifications and training should I look for?

When you are in the process of choosing which live in care provider you will use (either for yourself or for a relative), it is important to understand the level of training received by your professional carer and the relevant qualifications they hold to ensure they are able to provide a high quality elderly home care service.

Both health and social care qualifications and professional training are at the heart of any high-quality live in care service. Carers who have received comprehensive training are well-placed to offer an excellent standard of elderly care. This is especially important when selecting a home care company for an individual who is living with a complex condition, such as dementia or Parkinson’s.

General qualifications and training for live in care workers

A specialist home care company with exacting standards will ensure that its staff are equipped with a broad range of skills and qualifications to help them care for individuals in their own homes. The industry is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who stipulate that any carer working with the elderly complete four statutory modules; Moving and Handling, First Aid, Food Hygiene and Safeguarding.

However, any prospective live in care provider should offer a broader range of training if delivering a high quality home care service, including:

  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Communicating effectively
  • Health and safety
  • Personal care
  • Infection control
  • The ageing process
  • End of life care
  • Dementia care at home
  • Parkinson’s care
  • Depresssion care
  • Medications administration
  • Cooking and nutrition

All of the above really are at least the basic requirements for a high quality home care service. Together, they comprise of what is needed to provide care that ensures an individual’s physical safety and comfort, a healthy and well balanced diet, optimised health and enhanced wellbeing.

The care regulator, CQC, also requires any professional carer delivering a home care service to be enrolled on or working towards enrolment on a Diploma in Health and Social Care (previously an NVQ qualification). Check with the live in care provider that they are delivering this programme of training to ensure their carers have this qualification.

It is also important to understand what provision the home care provider makes for ensuring its carers receive on-going or advanced training to ensure best practice in service delivery. Home care providers who are delivering high standards will have an established programme of professional development in place for their care team.

Specialist training for live in care workers

Carers who specialise in dementia care should have completed an in-depth training course to ensure they can effectively manage and support a person living with this condition. Ask what specific training carers receive for delivering dementia care in the home.

If an individual is living with Parkinson’s disease carers should be trained to understand the importance of drug medications management and should be able to use strategies to meet the communication and cognitive challenges of this condition. Again, ask the home care provider how they train carers in supporting Parkinson’s disease in the home.