What Skills Matter Most for Personal Care?
If you have a loved one who needs home care, you’ll need to determine which type of care they need. The two most common types are companion care and personal care. Companion care focuses on activities like errands, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. Personal care covers these tasks, but also includes activities that require physical assistance, such as dressing and bathing.
Both types of care require different skills from caregivers. But the physical aspects of personal care can be particularly skill intensive. Also, personal care recipients often suffer from chronic health conditions or a form of disability, further highlighting the importance of having skilled caregivers.
So if you’re looking for a personal caregiver to care for a loved one, here are the skills that matter most.
Skills to Look for in Personal Care Providers
Personal care is typically distinguished from companion care by tasks involving physical assistance. These include things like dressing and grooming, bathing and toileting, mobility assistance, or help transferring from one position to another.
Any time that a caregiver provides physical assistance, they need to ensure the client’s safety and comfort. This requires more skill than many people realize.
So if you’re hiring personal care services, it’s important that you find a care provider who can keep your loved one safe and comfortable.
Cleanliness & Hygiene
Many individuals who receive personal care are at increased risk of bacterial or viral infections. If an infection occurs, many of them are also at increased risk of hospitalization.
Caregivers can help prevent infections in elderly adults by maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. They take care to frequently clean and sanitize their hands. They help clients maintain high standards for personal hygiene. And if they become sick, they quarantine themselves from care recipients.
Personal care is only one part of preventing infections among care recipients. But it’s vital that you choose a care provider who understands the role of cleanliness and hygiene.
Knowledge & Awareness
If you speak with caregivers or care administrators, they’ll tell you how important knowledge is to care providers.
One area where this knowledge proves useful is client monitoring. As caregivers tend to their clients, they monitor for changes in behavior, cognition, coordination, strength, emotional wellness, and other areas. This way, they can detect signs of decline early and alert the client or the client’s family.
Many of these changes are subtle or gradual, so they go unnoticed without a caregiver present. But with a knowledgeable and observant personal care provider, they’re less like to go undetected.
Well-informed caregivers also know how to respond in unusual and urgent situations. Many caregivers have the basic skills for day-to-day caregiving, but when the unexpected happens, you want an experienced and knowledgeable professional.
Communication & Compassion
The best caregivers have excellent interpersonal skills, and personal care providers are no exception.
Think about some of the activities that personal care entails. Few people feel comfortable dressing, bathing, or going to the bathroom with the assistance of another person. It takes an extraordinary level of respect, understanding, and care to put clients at ease during these activities. The best personal care providers possess these qualities in spades.
Skilled caregivers are also capable communicators, both with their clients and their clients’ families.
Caregivers who communicate poorly will often leave clients confused about why certain care tasks are being performed or feeling like their wishes and preferences aren’t being considered. Proper caregiver-client communication can resolve these issues, improving quality of care.
It’s also important that caregivers communicate with family members of their clients. Without adequate communication, problems can go unreported, important care tasks can go unperformed (or get performed twice), and trust between care providers and family members might erode. Active communication will ensure that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.
Find personal care services in your area today by contacting your nearest Visiting Angels office!