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Personal Care Worker Duties and Responsibilities

Personal care workers perform many different job duties based on the specific needs of their patients and their caseload. However, these core job tasks are the same despite those variable factors:

Prepare Meals Personal care workers prepare daily meals for patients, following all special dietary needs and allergy considerations.

Assist with Personal Hygiene Personal care workers assist patients with their personal hygiene needs, including bathing, dressing, and using the restroom.

Transport Patients Personal care workers physically move and transport patients into and out of bed and other areas within their homes.

Perform Housework Personal care workers complete household chores, such as tidying the house, doing dishes, and cleaning laundry.

Maintain Patient Records Personal care workers maintain records of daily interaction with patients, noting and reporting any changes in their condition or behavior.

Administer Medication Personal care workers administer daily medication to patients as prescribed.

Engage and Entertain Patients Personal care workers design activities and entertainment to keep patients engaged and active.

Run Errands Personal care workers travel outside of patient homes to get groceries, pick up medications, and perform other errands.


Personal Care Worker Skills and Qualifications

Personal care workers assist individuals with all their daily needs, running errands and keeping records of all patient visits to report changes as needed. Employers and families look for personal care workers who display the following essential skills:
  • Physical fitness - personal care workers often lift and move patients, bring groceries into the house, and perform other housekeeping duties, all of which require physical fitness
  • Interpersonal skills - personal care workers need strong interpersonal skills to effectively speak to and work with patients of all ages and backgrounds
  • Multitasking - personal care workers must be strong multitaskers to manage many different tasks while maintaining focus on the patient
  • Communication skills - personal care workers need excellent communication skills to talk with patients and family members and make detailed notes in patient records
  • Time management - personal care workers maintain a regular meal schedule for patients and ensure that they receive medications on time, which requires good time management
  • Analytical thinking - personal care workers use analytical skills to assess and evaluate patient conditions and determine whether they've experienced any significant changes in health, mental state, or behavior

Personal Care Worker Education and Training

Personal care workers need a high school diploma or GED to pursue this career. A valid driver's license and clean driving record are also required, as personal care workers travel regularly. Training is provided to personal care workers who are employed by home healthcare companies. During training, personal care workers learn company standards. The length of this period varies by employer and may last for several weeks. Personal care workers who are hired by individuals undergo no formalized training and learn their job tasks by performing them.

Personal Care Worker Salary and Outlook

PayScale reports that personal care workers earn a median hourly income of $10.21. Job data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that home health aides and personal care aides earn $23,130 in median annual income, or $11.12 hourly. The BLS estimates jobs in this field will increase 41 percent through 2026. This rate is much faster than the national average. Full-time personal care workers receive complete benefits packages that include medical, vision, and dental insurance coverage. Paid vacation days and holidays are typically included in these packages. Personal care workers who are employed by individuals do not typically receive benefits, as they generally work on an independent contractor basis. This means that personal care workers are responsible for their own healthcare and vacation needs.

Helpful Resources

Find job training programs, education resources, and career strategies for personal care workers with these books and websites:

Home Care Association of America - explore training webinars, research resources, news updates, and upcoming events at the HCAA website

Personal Care and Service Worker Career: The Insider's Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted - written in a straightforward and simple style, this book covers the basics of finding a job, doing well in the interview, and performing job tasks well enough to gain a promotion

Private Duty Homecare Association - find education resources, helpful links, accreditation programs, and more information for personal care workers at this website

The Care Workers Handbook - this book covers a wide range of topics that personal care workers need to know, such as designing activities, providing nutrition, managing difficult patient behavior, and providing personal grooming services

National Association for Home Care & Hospice - find online education resources, learn more about upcoming events, and stay up to date on news at this website for home care and hospice workers

A Guide to a Job as a Care Worker - get tips for landing a job as a personal care worker from this helpful guidebook

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