Seniors and others with medical conditions that cause them to require ongoing care and assistance with everyday tasks, like taking medications, bathing and dressing, can receive this care in the comfort of their own homes. Doing so is generally less expensive than going to a nursing home. Family members of such patients usually work with agencies that hire qualified caregivers. Training may be obtained through a caregiver agency or through a program at a vocational school or community college, such as those for certified nursing assistants (CNAs)
To provide caregiver services to seniors and others with medical needs that limit their mobility and their ability to fully care for themselves in their homes, professionals should not have misdemeanor or felony convictions on their criminal records. Proof that they are a United States citizen is also required. Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and official citizenship papers are acceptable documents that prove citizenship. Some organizations that hire at-home caregivers also check sexual offender databases and credit reporting agencies before they hire caregivers, as many home care organizations and their caregivers are bonded.
Some licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) provide in-home health care to individuals through agencies or hospitals. In addition to administering medicines and medical procedures, these professionals record a client’s vital signs (e.g. blood pressure, temperature, heart rate). However, they may not provide other basic forms of caregiving on a routine basis.
Patience is an important trait for caregivers, since their clients may be irritable, fatigued or emotional a times, People who are easily angered or frustrated are not the best fit for at-home caregiving work. These professionals must also know how to communicate with their clients by asking the right questions, so they will know if a client is experiencing physical, emotional or mental difficulties. They should also be able to create rapport between with clients, which will help them to earn their clients' trust and respect.
Lifting clients out of bed or out of wheelchairs is a part of the home caregiver responsibilities. Therefore, physical fitness is important for caregivers. They should possess the ability to assist their clients as they walk through their homes and to and from their vehicles to attend doctor’s appointments.
At-home caregivers keep records of when clients they care for take prescribed medications. They also record changes to the client’s vital signs and levels of independence (e.g. ability to bathe alone). Caregivers use organizational skills to manage client records, and keep up with having prescriptions refilled and other tasks.