Top 5 In-Home Caregiver Skills and Traits

SelectCare Home Care Services believes the key to providing quality in-home care is to match each client with a small team of home caregivers who have the specific combination of skills, experience and personality traits needed to help each client overcome obstacles specific to their life.

Just as no two clients are alike, every caregiver brings their own personal experiences and skills to the case. That said, SelectCare has found the following five skills and traits to be almost universal among the truly best in-home caregivers.

Whether you are brand new to in-home care and don’t know where to start, you are a long-time in-home care recipient considering bringing on a new caregiver, or you are curious if you might make a great home caregiver, read on.

Photo courtesy of user svklimkin

  1. Observation and Awareness

One of the greatest benefits of receiving in-home care services is that the client gets a fresh set of eyes and insights into their day-to-day life. Caregivers with a sense of curious intelligence about their client can make observations ranging from the client’s changing medical condition to identifying future household challenges that can be managed with proper foresight.

  1. Communication

Good caregiver observations are only truly useful if the caregiver clearly and consistently reports their observations to the home healthcare agency employees responsible for the overall management of the client’s case.  With this information, the agency employee (usually a service coordinator or nurse supervisor) can identify and set up additional resources, provide proper guidance or communicate with the rest of the client’s medical team to develop a solution.

Additionally, caregivers with good communication skills are more likely to follow agency guidance and can help the client communicate with those around them.

  1. Engagement

Good communication doesn’t just flow from the in-home caregiver to the agency. In-home caregivers spend a lot of time with their client, and having the social drive to engage and befriend the client on respectful, professional terms is critical to the long-term health of the client-caregiver relationship.

When caregivers put in the time to build a genuine relationship with their client, they not only brighten up the day of their client, but can also find themselves more engaged and happy with their work.

  1. Reliability

People often first consider in-home care services when something happens in a client’s life that changes their ability to maintain their normal routines, be it an illness, the loss of a spouse or other event.  As a result, most successful in-home caregivers are stabilizing forces in a client’s life, providing reliable assistance and reassurance when things don’t go according to plan.

Being a reliable in-home caregiver is more than just punctuality (although that’s incredibly important!), it’s also about being a reliably optimistic, positive influence in the client’s life.

  1. Trustworthiness

Reputable home health care agencies put in an incredible amount of work to promote transparency and ensure that clients are receiving safe, confidential and ethical care.  All those efforts are valuable, but it is ultimately the in-home caregiver’s personal sense of honesty and the client’s perception of that honesty that will dictate their final experience.

Building trust takes time – especially for first-time home care recipients, however,  in-home caregivers who put the client at ease and give the client’s family a sense of confidence cannot be valued high enough.

If you or a loved one have concerns about the honesty of a caregiver, your home care agency should always take these concerns seriously and offer solutions ranging from caregiver coaching, increasing oversight or changing staffing to promptly address these concerns.

Remember, this is far from a comprehensive list, but rather five important traits and skills almost everyone should look for when considering bringing a new caregiver into their home.  Every client has unique needs, and finding an agency that takes the time to recruit dedicated home caregivers and place those caregivers with appropriate clients is critical to making any home health care plan a success.

If you or a loved one are considering in-home care for the first time or have had trouble finding a caregiver who is the perfect fit for you or a loved one, now is the time to contact SelectCare or request a free in-home care guide to learn how we have helped New Yorkers lead happier, healthier lives for more than 30 years.