Working as a home carer is a fantastically rewarding and important role, yet it can be an exceptionally stressful one and in the current climate with coronavirus, take a serious emotional toll on home carers. The most effective carer is a happy and healthy carer, and it’s imperative that care agencies empower and nurture their staff to look after themselves.
Why is the work of home carers especially stressful?
There’s probably not a single role in the care industry that doesn’t have its stresses, but those working in home care can really find their job takes an emotional toll on their wellbeing. The work of home carers differentiates from other carers in several ways:
- The requirement to enter people’s homes is an intimate, and sometimes daunting, one. Patients who require home care are in their own domain. Whilst this has numerous advantages for the wellbeing of the patient, it can often mean that a home carer has to work in an environment that isn’t optimised to patient care.
- Patients are often very ill, with long-term deteriorating and debilitating conditions. Home carers see people at their worst, and often in a very delicate and unhappy state. Following a patient’s journey with little to no positive progress can be at the best disheartening, and often very upsetting. Without the ability to ‘link up’ and work in collaboration with medical staff in the way they would in a hospital or hospice environment, this can cause strain.
- PPE requirements can be uncomfortable. Home carers now have to wear PPE for both their own and their clients protection, and the hours spent wearing PPE can be uncomfortable. During the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE requirements have increased for most home care agencies, and with a lack of centralised resources for many, equipment may not fit properly or just be generally uncomfortable.
- Scheduling can be difficult! Home carers can’t just leave a client and move to their next if the client is unwell or in need of additional help or care – because nine times out of ten, there’s just no one else to do it. Home carers often find they’re unable to scheduled effectively because of varying client needs and as a result, frequently work later and for longer.
Why is self care important for home carers?
The best and most effective home carers are those who are happy and healthy. In reality, the job can be exhausting. It’s therefore important that home carers take time for themselves to ensure they’re feeling good and remain healthy in order to complete their role to the best of their abilities.
How can carers best practice self care?
Despite what the internet may tell you, self care isn’t all long bubble baths and complicated yoga poses (although… feel free to give them a try if you fancy!). Some minor lifestyle changes can be made to help promote better emotional wellbeing and enhanced health.
These include, but are by no means limited to:
- Getting enough sleep – too many early starts or late nights will take its toll, so try to mix up shifts and schedules where appropriate. Sleep should be in as dark and neutral a room as possible, on a comfortable and supportive mattress and preferably without interruption.
- Exercising regularly – The nature of home carer’s roles is that they’re on their feet for most of the day, but this doesn’t necessarily equate with physical fitness. Just 30 mins of exercise a day, even if just a brisk walk, can have massive health benefits, and help to clear the mind.
- Taking holidays – Paid holiday time exists for a reason! Home carers must take care to use their holiday allowance to truly ‘take a break’ when needed: in physical and mental terms.
- Talking about anything bothering you – Any issues should be raised directly with employers immediately, and care agencies should aim to foster an environment of transparency with all of their staff.
- Taking time to do things that you enjoy – Make time for yourself to enjoy the things that de-stress you and bring you joy.
Are you interested in a job in home care? Find out more about working in home care and the opportunities that we have available in and around Epsom at AM2PM Quality Care.