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Skilled care: Why looking after others requires a special touch

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There has long been debate about the notion of skilled care.

In many cases, acting as a family or professional carer is wrongly considered a responsibility that requires few developed skills. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Family and professional carers change lives. Even a comparatively low-level care requirement requires someone with a variety of unique skills and attributes.

Skilled care: perception vs reality

In this blog, we'll look at some of the reasons why this inaccurate perception has emerged. Then, we'll introduce you to just some of the invaluable skills carers demonstrate on a daily basis.

Misconceptions about providing care

Too often, commentators describe care work as low-skilled, or as simply a labour of love.

Not only does this vastly diminish the role of professional and family carers who work tirelessly to ensure the best possible standards for the people they care for, it's unhelpful for people receiving care, too.

Though inaccurate, this perception could have developed due to misunderstandings relating to a wide range of factors, such as:

  • Informality: Care is often provided on an informal basis (e.g. within family groups or couples), so is seen as an extension of existing relationships.
  • Repetitiveness: Many tasks need to be completed on a regular/daily basis; however, these tasks only cover a limited part of what it means to be a carer.
  • Training requirements: Certain entry-level care roles require a lower degree of certification than some other jobs in the health/social care sectors.
  • Delegation: Carers are the people who are there day-to-day, but will report medical aspects to doctors for diagnosis and follow their advised treatment plan.

Key skills all carers need

Every day, we see the huge variety of skills both family and professional carers need to demonstrate to ensure they maintain the highest possible standards.

Clinical care skills

Carers are an extension of the diagnosis and treatment process. They act as a vital communication channel between doctors, specialist resource providers and the person receiving care.

Advising doctors and interpreting treatment plans

Carers use keen observation and communication skills to report any incidents to doctors, or to explain how a person's condition is developing over time.

Doctors can then use this vital information to initiate/adapt recommended treatments and care plans. However, carers will need a working knowledge of areas such as medication management and manual handling to put this into practice.

Ongoing training

To ensure they are able to provide skilled care in line with all the latest research and recommendations, professional carers are required to undergo regular training sessions.

This furnishes them with a variety of skills considered best-practice for helping clients maintain the highest possible quality of life. Even the process of completing these training modules requires a healthy supply of diligence and accuracy.

Emotional skills

Carers must be able to control their emotions, putting the needs of the person they're caring for before their own.

Carers often become close companions. So, watching the condition of someone they have a bond with deteriorate can be immensely challenging.

The challenge is often even greater for family carers, especially when conditions such as dementia are present. This can result in the person receiving care becoming agitated or distressed without clear reason, or in memory problems that re-characterise long-established relationships.

Physical skills

The physical skills required to provide care are probably the best known.

Carers perform a range of tasks each day, often involving manual handling or some form of strenuous exertion. As such, they need to know how to carry out these tasks without risk to themselves or the person they're caring for.

Providing care is anything but unskilled work. Help us remove this negative perception and continue celebrating the amazing work performed by carers up and down the country.

Find out how transformative skilled care can be by calling on the friendly team at The Good Care Group.

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