Healthcare Assistants play a pivotal role in the healthcare sector.
Whether working within a hospital or care home, everyone has something in common, a desire and passion to care for people. Not every work shift will run smoothly and Healthcare Assistants must be self-disciplined, resilient and ready to face any challenge that comes their way because every day is different. However, each day will be rewarding as you are able to see directly the difference you can make to people’s lives and their comfort.
The key tasks HCA’s must undertake can include:
Handover: At least 30 minutes are spent at the beginning of each shift speaking with colleagues and nurses in charge to get an idea of what the day will look like. It also allows a plan to be made for any patients who may need specific attention or have had changes made to their care plans. This is closely followed by introducing yourself to the patients you will be working with to let them know you are available and make them feel comfortable. Patients can often see different staff every day so this can help to alleviate some of the wariness around this and make them feel more reassured.
Bell Calls: Responding to patient’s calls and doing comfort rounds throughout the day is a constant task. This may look different depending on the setting you work within. Often hospitals will have call bells. The needs of patients will also vary massively depending on the patients you work with. For example, working on a Maternity ward will look very different than working alongside the elderly so Health Care Assistants must be able and ready to adjust to the tasks and patients at hand.
Mealtimes: Mealtimes are a big part of each day. With patients being served 3 meals alongside tea runs. These are usually delivered on a trolley and then Health Care Assistants will serve each patient their meal, according to their individual needs. Some patients may need help to be fed their meal whilst others may be able to feed themselves independently and it is the job of the Health Care Assistant to know who is who and what each individual needs. Once mealtimes are over, Health Care Assistants will also make sure that dishes are placed back on trollies ready to be sent to the kitchen to be washed, as well as cleaning up any messes made during this time.
Visitors: When relatives come to visit, Health Care Assistants are on hand to help guide and direct them to the correct ward or room. They can also be available to help direct and show how they care for the family member so that this care can be continued when and if the patient is able to return home. Health Care Assistants are also often a reassuring face to see. It can make all the difference knowing and seeing that someone kind and gentle is caring for your loved one and seeing first-hand that your family member is in safe hands.
Documentation: Keeping record of all daily tasks is one of the most important duties of a Health Care Assistant. Documenting all that you have assisted a patient with, as well as any personal care you have given them or discussion you have had with them helps to protect staff and patients against future incidents that may occur and also means that anything missed in staff handovers is easy to find.
Preparation: Preparing for the next day is also a crucial part of a Health Care Assistant role. Every day is different but having an idea of what you can expect and preparing for it will mean you are able to complete all tasks set to you and make sure that each patient gets individualised care that is thorough and unrushed. It also makes things easier for colleagues around you and for the patients themselves because you will be able to communicate what they can expect from you and other staff and when they can expect it.
Working as part of a team is crucial for Healthcare Assistants. Without handovers and good communication with other staff members, tasks may not be finished and care may not be up to the standard that all patients deserve. Each shift will consist of not only other Health Care Assistants but Nurses who are you will be able to ask for advice or raise any concerns to about a patient’s care or anything else.
A Healthcare Assistant’s day will look different every day and will equally vary depending on whether they’re working within residential care homes, personal homes or hospitals. They will also vary again depending on where in the hospital they are based. No matter where a Healthcare Assistant finds themselves, duties will include: personal care, feeding, mobility and sometimes: taking temperatures, checking pulses, monitoring respiration, measuring weights and if trained: helping with medications. The most important obligation is ensuring that all patients are kept as happy and comfortable as they can be.
Nursing and Caring Direct recruits Healthcare Assistants across Northern Ireland, within all trusts. If you have six months paid care experience and a passion to care for people, apply today!!