In Summary - Care Worker
Care Workers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Deirdre Lavelle, Care Assistant
Deirdre Lavelle works as a Care Assistant in St Michael's House. Having worked for a number of years as a Special Needs Assistant she applied for a job in St Michael's House. She has completed a foundation course on Skills in Counselling from NUI Maynooth. She is currently studying for a B.A. in Social Studies (Disability) with the Open Training College.
Lydia Peppard, Care Assistant
Lydia works as a Health Care Assistant for the HSE and is based in St. Joseph's Hospital in Co. Meath. Lydia has worked in patient care throughout her career, and has completed an Honours Degree in Industrial Relations/HR in recent years. She would now like to move more into the Human Resources area and work on bringing about change that benefits all.
The Work - Care Worker
The exact type of care that assistants provide depends on the age, ability, health and level of self-sufficiency of the people they work with. They help those who need help and support with everyday tasks. A care worker is there to help these people to get on with life by doing the chores for them and basic day-to-day tasks.
For example, in day centres, the main part of a care assistant's role may be to plan and supervise social activities. In residential homes for the elderly, some residents can be very frail, ill or confused. Here, basic care could mean enabling someone to wash or have a bath, dress, eat, take medication, go the toilet and get around generally. Care assistants may be responsible for routine medical tasks like applying cream or changing dressings under the supervision of a qualified nurse
Wherever they work, care assistants try to help people to keep as much independence and quality of life as they can. As far as possible, this means they enable people to do personal and social tasks, rather than doing the tasks for them. Care assistants therefore help many people to keep their self-sufficiency and sense of dignity.
Social care is very important, and it is essential that care assistants develop friendly, caring and trusting relationships with the people they work with. They talk to people, listen to their memories, and reassure them if they are anxious or confused. They may help people to make friends or keep in touch with their families. Planning and supervising social and recreational activities and trips is an important part of some assistants' work.
Care assistants must be aware of any changes in an individual's physical or mental health, such as pain, loss of mobility, depression or anxiety. They must see illness as something that needs investigation, rather than a natural consequence of old age. In a residential home or day centre, care assistants report their observations to a care officer, warden or duty officer in charge.
In hospitals, homes and day centres, care assistants are responsible for the health and safety of staff and residents. They look out for, prevent or report hazards including slippery floors, poor lighting, loose carpets and handrails, and unsafe electrical appliances.
A care assistant may work alongside professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists. They can be found in nursing homes, day care centres and hospitals and may do house visits.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Administer bedside or personal care, such as ambulation or personal hygiene assistance.
- Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.
- Perform housekeeping duties, such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes or dishes, or running errands.
- Care for individuals or families during periods of incapacitation, family disruption, or convalescence, providing companionship, personal care, or help in adjusting to new lifestyles.
- Perform healthcare-related tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and medication, under the direction of registered nurses or physiotherapists.
- Plan, shop for, or prepare nutritious meals or assist families in planning, shopping for, or preparing nutritious meals.
- Transport clients to locations outside the home, such as to physicians' offices or on outings, using a motor vehicle.
- Instruct or advise clients on issues such as household cleanliness, utilities, hygiene, nutrition, or infant care.
- Participate in case reviews, consulting with the team caring for the client, to evaluate the client's needs and plan for continuing services.
- Train family members to provide bedside care.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interests - Care Worker
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You must have an understanding of the needs of the people you are working with (e.g. the ederly, or people with physical or intellectual disabilities), including their social and emotional needs. Patience, compassion, tact and a sense of humour are vital qualities, especially if you work with people who do not like to admit that they need your help.
You will need strong communication and interpersonal skills to develop caring, trusting relationships. You must be able to respect each individual's right to keep as much independence and privacy as they can.
Care assistants must be prepared to learn and develop new knowledge. Government legislation on the care of people may change to increase their protection from neglect or abuse, so assistants may need training to keep up-to-date. It demands a lot of stamina as shifts can be long working both at night and over weekends. Hours can also be flexible.
The ability to work as part of a team is very important. You are likely to work with professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists.
Entry Requirements - Care Worker
Pay & Salary - Care Worker
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 36k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Care Worker
Employment is growing in this occupation as a result of the aging population in Ireland. Many are employed in part-time roles; the recent job hire analysis and the high number of job ready jobseekers previously employed in this occupation indicate that churn is a significant factor in this occupation.
National Skills Bulletin 2018