Caregiving is a truly noble profession that, when done right, can have a lasting positive impact in the lives of one’s patients. However, becoming an effective caregiver requires more than just completing a course and attaining certifications. Aspiring caregivers should master a wide variety of both technical and soft skills in order to do fulfill their job in the most ideal way. Below are the top 5 most crucial skills that a caregiver needs to have.
Empathy & Compassion
One of the most important skills a caregiver can have is the ability to empathize and feel for others. Many patients who require home health care are often in situations that could be causing them a lot of pain, discomfort, and stress. Empathy and compassion may not be measurable, and are not technical skills, but that doesn’t make them any less crucial for delivering the proper care to one’s clients. Having a heart for service, taking the time out to listen to one’s clients, and possessing a genuine desire to alleviate their clients’ feelings of distress are qualities that set truly effective caregivers apart from the others.
Excellent verbal and written communication skills are invaluable in the caregiving industry. Caregivers should possess the ability to both listen effectively, interpret correctly, and confidently express themselves in order to facilitate conversations between the patient and his or her family members, medical professionals, and other members of the care team. These skills also help caregivers and CNAs provide the appropriate type of care based on their patient’s needs, as well as improve interpersonal relationships between the caregiver and the client.
Basic First Aid & CPR
Caregivers and CNAs are usually required to be CPR certified, and should have knowledge on basic first aid. Many care patients possess limited mobility, making them vulnerable to various injuries. In general, caregivers are expected to know what to do when a patient falls down, cuts or burns himself, or suffers a heart attack. They should be able to identify and assess the level of injury inflicted and perform treatment measures until emergency responders arrive on the site. Those who already possess CPR certification can brush up on their skills with an express CPR training certification course.
Organization & Time Management
Being well-organized and having a keen sense for time management benefits both the caregiver and the patient they are providing care for. Caregivers often work with minimal supervision, so employers are often on the lookout for a person who can make productive and efficient use of the available hours. Employers highly regard individuals who value punctuality and can prioritize and accomplish all of the tasks required of them within a given time period. Additionally, many care patients appreciate and feel comforted when there is a sense of order and structure to their daily lives. A competent caregiver should be able to set a meaningful routine tailored to his or her client’s needs.
Initiative & Proactivity
As stated above, caregivers often work by themselves with little supervision. In addition to being able to follow instructions from physicians, nurses, and other care team members, they should also be able to work independently and make informed decisions based on minute-to-minute changes on the client’s condition. They should also be prepared for any eventuality, and ready to take action during an emergency situation.
Practicing effective caregiving doesn’t only affect the patients directly receiving the care. It can also bring a sense of joy, fulfillment and meaning to a demanding career that can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. Focus on acquiring or enhancing the above skills today, and you’ll be on the right track towards becoming an exceptional caregiver.