Care Worker Job Description
Care workers provide direct care to enhance the lives of those who cannot take care of themselves fully. They may specialize in working with young children, the elderly, the sick, or the disabled. Each of these specializations involves different education, training, and slightly different duties. There are many general skills, qualities, duties, and responsibilities applicable to all care workers. Care workers are employed by the healthcare industry. They either work at healthcare facilities or they travel to the homes of their clients. They can also work in childcare facilities. The hours for care workers can span nights, days, or weekends, so it is a good option for those who don’t want to work a traditional 9 to 5 shift.
The role of the care worker is typically an entry-level position. They usually work under the direction of a nurse in a healthcare setting, or under a medical office coordinator if their job involves traveling to clients’ homes. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for home health aides and personal care aides, which includes care workers, is set to rise 40 percent through 2026.
Care Worker Duties and Responsibilities
Caring for those who cannot care for themselves fully involves a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. We broke down several care worker job descriptions to put together the following list of care worker duties and responsibilities.
Perform Basic Personal Hygiene Assistance
Care workers often work with those who cannot do things such as shower and use the bathroom without assistance. They are responsible for bathing their clients regularly and making sure they do things such as put on deodorant and brush their teeth.
Build Rapport with Patients
Care workers help their patients with many intimate tasks, so they have to be able to build rapport with patients to establish trust and comfort. It requires compassion and interpersonal communication skills.
Plan and Assist with Daily Activities
Most care workers assist with the daily activities of their patients. In a healthcare facility setting, this involves activities such as coordinating meal times, visitors, and participation in activities offered by the facility. Those who work with clients in their home are responsible for tasks such as ensuring the fridge is stocked with healthy meal options.
Communicate and Cooperate with Families
In addition to building trust and rapport with the patient, care workers must do the same with their clients’ families. Family members are unofficial care workers, and it is the responsibility of the care worker to communicate with these family members to provide the best possible care.
Work with Other Members of the Care Team
Care workers are always part of a care team, which can include other care workers, doctors, and nurses. They participate in meetings to create care plans based on patient needs.
Care Worker Skills
Care workers have to possess certain skills and character traits to succeed at and enjoy this position. One quality they must possess is compassion. It’s impossible to provide quality care if one doesn’t genuinely care about people. Another quality care workers must possess is the desire to work in an environment that varies from day to day. Each day with a patient presents unique challenges, so those in this position have to think quickly on their feet. In addition to these qualities, care workers need the following skills to find employment:
- Building relationships with patients and their families using interpersonal communication skills
- Performing basic personal hygiene tasks with compassion and a positive attitude
- Collaborating with other members of the care team to create and implement care plans
- Prioritizing daily tasks to ensure patients have fulfilling days
- Performing basic financial tasks for private clients
Care Worker Tools of the Trade
- Basic Household Items – many care workers, especially those in a private setting, use household items such as washers, dryers, and cooking tools on a daily basis
Care Worker Education and Training
The role of care worker is often used as a stepping stone for those pursuing a more advanced career. Those who work with children are typically going to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Those in the healthcare industry are often working to be a nurse or nurse’s assistant. The position only requires a high school diploma or equivalent.
Care Worker Salary
According to Payscale, the average hourly wage for care workers is $10.24. Those at the bottom of the scale make $8.00 an hour, while those at the top of the scale make $14 an hour.
Care Worker Resources
Do you want to make a career out of providing compassionate care? If so, the list of resources below will be helpful for you:
Home Care Association of America – This is a trade organization with more than 2,500 member organizations. Its focus is on the in-home elderly and disabled care industry, so it is a good organization for care workers who want to pursue this specialization.
National Child Care Association – The National Child Care Association is the organization for Care Workers who are pursuing a career in early childhood education.
Care.com – Care.com is an online marketplace for care professionals. Entrepreneurial care workers can use this service to find their own clients. It is a great way to get real-world experience for one’s résumé.
The A-to-Z Self Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals – Sometimes care workers are so wrapped up in caring for others that they forget to take care of themselves. This book has great self-care strategies.
The Dying Process: A Hospice Social Worker’s Perspective on End of Life Care – This is a must-read for care workers who want to work with the elderly and terminally ill. It is filled with personal stories from someone with field experience.
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