JOBS & CAREERS SPRING 2018 - 192
Types of care
Formal care in the UK is split into two
areas: independent or NHS-funded care
provided in people's homes, and care
homes. The former may include helping
elderly and/or disabled people to live
independently in their own homes, taking
people out for social events and providing
informal carers with a break. Working
in a care home may involve providing
care for disabled and/or elderly people,
sometimes alongside qualified nurses.
Homes for older people fall roughly into
two categories: those providing personal
care and those providing nursing care.
Care (or residential) homes offer living
accommodation, which includes a room,
meals and help with personal care. Staff
will give care during short illnesses, but
don't provide full nursing care. In some
homes, residents have more independence
and take care of many of their own needs.
Nursing homes offer all the above, with
the addition of medical care from qualified
nursing staff, who are on site 24 hours a
day. Some offer support for people with
specific health problems, such as physical
disabilities, mental health problems or
dementia. Some homes provide a mix
of care, with a certain number of places
for residents requiring personal care,
for those needing nursing care and for
those with dementia, for example.
Care homes may be run by private
businesses, non-profit organisations such
as charities and housing associations,
or local authorities (which mostly run
residential homes rather than nursing
homes). Many local authorities outsource
care to non-profit organisations - only
about 10% of care home places are
provided directly by local authorities.
A good way to find out if working in care
is for you is to volunteer; this will also give
you valuable experience when it comes
to applying for jobs. Contact local care
centres and offer your services. Personal
experience of caring for a relative can also
demonstrate experience and commitment.
Your first position is likely to be as
a care worker, or healthcare assistant,
providing emotional and practical
support. If you're making home visits, your
duties will vary according to the client.
Building up a relationship and getting to
know their likes and dislikes is crucial.
You'll usually be responsible for some
personal care, light housework, preparing
or serving meals, helping with household
upkeep, and ensuring they feel listened to.
If you're working in a care home, your
duties may include helping guests with
personal care, feeding them their meals
and ensuring they're comfortable.
Hours can be flexible, and there are a
lot of part-time positions available, which
means you can work when best suits you.
You'll usually work on a rota that may
include evening and weekend shifts.
If you're able to prove your commitment
and competence, training is often
free. You can progress to become a
social worker, care coordinator, care
home manager or advice worker.
Starting salaries are close to the
national minimum wage, although
you'll get more for shift work. As a care
assistant you can expect to start on around
£12,500 a year, but this rises significantly
for jobs with more responsibility.
No barriers to entry
A career in care doesn't discriminate on
age, qualifications or background. And
although it's useful to have previous
experience in a caring role, it isn't vital.
Generally speaking, companies are looking
Hours can be
flexible and there
are lots of part-time
for people who have a caring nature
and a practical, hands-on approach.
Care work can be a great option if you're
looking to change career. Its flexible
and can suit a range of lifestyles - for
instance, if you want to fit it around
your family's needs or another job.
Working with the elderly may not seem
like the obvious choice for a young person.
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