Have you ever provided care for a sick loved one? Have you ever been required to act when another’s body was unable to do so? Have you considered how difficult it was to care for your grandfather as he passed away? This is the responsibility of personal care aides and caregivers.
As the aging of the next few generations progresses, it is anticipated that those who work as caregivers will be busier than ever. If you are looking to hire a PCA for a loved one who has recently begun to slow down, or if you are considering working as one yourself, there are a few things you should know.
What exactly is a personal care assistant?
A personal care assistant, more commonly known as a caregiver, is an individual who assists those who are unable to perform tasks associated with their own survival.
Caregiving and CNAs or Certified Nurse Assistants are closely related, but not identical. In more standardized hospital settings, a certified nursing assistant is always directly supervised by a healthcare professional. They collaborate with physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and physical therapists, among others. There is a clear distinction between what is and is not their responsibility.
On the other hand, a caregiver arguably has a greater responsibility. In addition to caring for a person’s physical health, you also consider their emotional and mental well-being. You become very close to clients very quickly and develop strong feelings of attachment. As the term suggests, a personal care assistant provides personal care.
What qualities make an excellent personal care assistant?
Have you ever witnessed someone in a situation where a small amount of assistance would completely alter their day? Do you reach out to those you care about to ensure their well-being and determine if they have any needs? Do you ever help? If you answered yes, then this line of work may be suitable for you.
Being an excellent personal care assistant is as easy as caring about the general well-being of others and taking steps to improve it. The qualities of this profession are identical to those required to be a caring sister or brother. Every client is unique and will seek out characteristics based on their personality and needs.
Depending on whom you ask, the qualities of a credible personal care assistant will vary, but the following are the most common:
Compassionate. In this line of work, compassion is a necessity. Merriam-Webster defines compassion as “awareness of the suffering of others coupled with a desire to alleviate it.” A personal care assistant is simply doing their job when they make their clients’ life processes more bearable.
Patience is likely the most essential quality. When learning to drive, a teacher’s yelling at you to start applying the brake is typically ineffective. The caregiver must gently nudge the client forward, guide them through problems with viable solutions, and step back when the circumstance demands it.
Dependability serves as an umbrella for a variety of related characteristics. Punctuality is closely related to dependability because clients rely heavily on PCAs for assistance. Imagine being unable to use the restroom independently. You would also need this assistance to be on time. They require assistance; their caregiver must be present to assist them.
Helping someone get ready for the day requires the ability to pay attention to the smallest details. It would be helpful to remember if there is a particular pair of socks they wear to the doctor’s office. The personal care assistant must pay sufficient attention to the individual’s routine in order to assist them in completing it. They strive to make each process as straightforward as possible for their clients.
Being warm and always hospitable to give the client the space they need to discuss their needs candidly.
Being empathetic. Personal care aides can detect when a patient is in pain, but are rarely sympathetic. To feel sympathy is to share another person’s emotions. Empathy is the practice of understanding another person’s emotions without sharing them.
Professionalism. The personal care assistant is someone who is compensated to perform a variety of tasks for a client. You may be working in people’s homes, but that does not give you carte blanche to wear their pajamas to the office. If anything, the PCA must ensure that efforts are made to make the client feel professionally observed and heard.
When a person has been injured, has lost their sense of independence, or has a condition that limits their physical abilities, they face an uphill battle. They will experience discouragement. There are bad days interspersed with good ones. The personal care assistant can be a tremendous source of hope for the client. However, they must maintain patience and optimism throughout the more difficult portions.
What responsibilities does a personal care assistant have?
Certified Nursing Assistants and Personal Care Assistants are often confused because the duties associated with a personal care assistant position vary greatly depending on who you ask and what they know. A CNA is directly supervised by a healthcare team, as opposed to a PCA who is only accountable to the client.
If the client is completely incapacitated, the PCA’s duties are extensive. Imagine what your life would be like if you were unable to fully utilize your faculties. You would need extensive assistance. However, if the client is largely independent and requires only minimal assistance with small tasks, the caregiver’s role is significantly different.
If the goal of a caregiver is to make clients’ daily lives more manageable, it is reasonable to assume that assisting clients who cannot move on their own is part of the job description. Moving a person is simpler than you might imagine. With the proper form, leverage, and execution, it is possible to perform an additional human move quite effectively.
One of the primary responsibilities of a PCA in the home of a client who cannot walk and lacks most of their own faculties is to assist them with hygiene. You may be concerned that this is the most difficult aspect of the job, but this is not the case. Personal hygiene is a component of independent living with which some individuals may require additional assistance. This portion of a PCA’s job entails performing virtually any task for a client that the client cannot do for themselves. For instance, you could hand them their toothbrush or assist them with bathing.
PCAs are technically in-home caregivers, which means they either drive themselves to each client’s location or arrange for transportation. Yes, they typically have multiple. It may be more prevalent with shorter jobs where the client requires minimal assistance.
By becoming a personal care assistant, you will effectively make the lives of those you serve easier, more comfortable, more manageable, and simply better. Caring for those who cannot fully care for themselves requires a special kind of person. Consider signing up today if you believe you are capable of caring for those who need it most.