Taking on a job as a caregiver is highly rewarding. Not only are you offering the essential care a person needs, but you are also providing companionship. As a caregiver, you can work in a variety of places, including a client’s home. If you are applying to an agency, be prepared to show your past experience and education. Though not required by all companies, some will request that you have a Certified Nursing Aide certificate or be a licensed Registered Nurse.
When a person needs a caregiver, it is because they are unable to take care of themselves or perform routine personal care regimens. You may assist your patient during showers and baths, help brush her hair and even help put on her makeup. For some patients, you will assist in toileting and transferring her from a bed to a wheelchair. Since your patient cannot do it herself, you are responsible for making sure she looks her best and that her personal image is maintained, regardless of her condition.
Your main purpose is to make sure your patient’s health is maintained. This could require very minor tasks, such as monitoring blood sugar or taking periodic blood pressure readings. For some patients, you might be their sole source of medical care away from the doctor’s office. That means you monitor and administer medication, document health readings throughout the day or even monitor respirations and pulse.
In-home care patients get an extra perk with your presence: your household abilities. Though you are not required to scour the place, you take on light household duties, such as maintaining cleanliness, doing laundry, changing the linens and washing dishes.
You are the eyes and ears of the patient. Doctors cannot visit their patients daily, but as the patient’s caregiver, you can report to her physician if she shows any adverse symptoms. These can include rashes, bleeding, stomach upset, swelling, confusion, headaches or changes in blood pressure or blood sugar. As someone who is around the patient daily, you would easily take note of these things.
Your patient may or may not have family and friends nearby. As her caregiver, you second as a companion during the time you are there. You assist her with getting to her appointments, prepare her meals and even sit and eat alongside her. During your time with her, you carry on conversations and generally just get to know each other. One of the most rewarding aspects of your job is developing a personal relationship with those you care for.
Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.