Caring for someone elderly or vulnerable is undoubtedly rewarding, and most carers feel a sense of ‘giving back’ when they choose the profession, but it doesn’t come without daily challenges. A report published by NHS Digital shows that 60.6% of carers feel stressed, so what can care providers do to support their care workers and provide them with a nurturing culture? Peter Seldon, CEO, Consultus Care outlines some examples.
Live in carers spend multiple hours on a one-to-one basis with their client which enables valuable relationships to be formed between carer and client who have been carefully matched as far as possible by personality as well as by capability. Carers have the opportunity to learn what their client enjoys doing most, with 97% of those receiving live in care reporting doing things they value and enjoy, despite poor health. From Scrabble to cooking their client’s favourite meal, helping make their clients happy is in turn extremely rewarding for the carer.
But equally, and despite all the benefits that this bespoke level of care brings, carers can feel a deeper sense of worry or upset if their client has had a particularly bad week in terms of ill health, or even something that has affected their client emotionally, such as, losing a friend or relative. Most people in ‘regular’ jobs will experience ‘bad days’ at the office, but most are able to return home that evening to talk to someone about their experience and unwind. Unfortunately, not all carers have that luxury. Many carers come from abroad, choosing to dedicate their lives to the profession, meaning they may not have an established support network to reach out to.
It is therefore the duty of the care provider to do what it can to provide that much needed support to its employees. Providing a communal residence for carers to gain some respite or take a holiday between placements not only gives carers that much deserved downtime, but enables carers to spend some time together. Having the ability to talk to someone who may have experienced some of the same challenges is a good way for carers to ‘unload’ and receive reassurance that they are not alone. Even the occasional whinge can be therapeutic. It also enables carers to form meaningful friendships and enjoy social activities together like relaxing in a peaceful garden, cooking meals, walking or watching their favourite TV shows curled up in front of the fireplace.
Furthermore, a communal carer house is great for carers who are just starting their initial training. As with any job or training, the first day is often daunting and even more so for those who have left their families to travel halfway around the world. Providing accommodation during training allows bonds and friendships to be made with other carers, allowing them to share any worries, concerns and the fulfilling aspects of excitement as they get together for supper in the evenings. And once they have completed training and embark on their new profession, they will always have a friend to call who can understand and relate to both the challenges and the rewards of the role.
Providing an online ‘closed’ community platform, like that of ‘Consultus Live’, also gives carers an opportunity to safely communicate and share any questions or comments among like-minded individuals. It works particularly well at times of uncertainty for overseas carers, for example; during the challenges of Brexit and Covid-19. It also enables care providers to better understand the worries and concerns among carers, enabling them to address these issues where possible.