• 21 April 2021
  • 16 min read

How I Changed My Career Path To Work In Home Care

  • Emma Barnes
    Domiciliary Care Assessor
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Shakilah Millian
  • 0
  • 691
"If working in the care sector interests you and you have read this article my advice would be to make the move!"

I used to work in banking. I’m now a Care Assessor in domiciliary care. I would recommend my journey to anyone looking for a change, a challenge and job satisfaction. This is why and how I did it.

Topics Covered In This Article

My Background - My Working Life Before Care

Why I Was Drawn To Working In Care?

What Personal Skills Do You Need To Work In Social Care?

What Are The Duties & Responsibilities Of A Home Care Worker

How Does Home Care Work Compare To My Job In Banking?

How I Switched Career Paths To Become A Care Assessor

What Are The Job Functions and Responsibilities Of A Care Assessor?

How Much Can A Care Assessor Earn?

How Does Pay In Domiciliary Care Compare To Banking Customer Service Jobs?

What Is The CQC’s Role In The Home Care Sector?

What You Should Do First If Working In Home Care Interests You

My Background - My Working Life Before Care

I worked multiple customer service jobs from leaving school including working in pubs, bookmakers and in an estate agents.

In 2004, I secured a role working for a reputable high street bank

Within this role, duties included: customer service, cash handling, ordering and balancing money, generating leads, organising appointments, all aspects of account handling and processing, dealing with enquiries from both internal and external customers, problem solving whether mathematical or applying knowledge / common sense, supporting my team to achieve and exceed requirements, adhering to all regulatory legislation, working with confidentiality and empathy, looking for fraud and irregularity, adapting my communication to deal with people on all levels.

These jobs, for me, did what I needed them to do at that time in my life.

They allowed me to be in a safe and comfortable environment whilst giving me the funds to take care of my family.

As life became more stable, my ambition grew and I decided I wanted to explore paths which could lead me to a fulfilling career.

For me this meant looking at ways I could use the skills and qualifications I had to break into an alternative job sector.

Why I Was Drawn To Working In Care?

As my personal ambition grew, I decided I wanted to explore paths which could lead me to a fulfilling career.

I felt approaching roles which made the most of my skills and personality would be advantageous to me.

The main reason for this was because I wanted to be able to move into a new job sector that would allow me to grow as a person whilst helping others.

I also had to consider that in the social care sector I had no formal qualifications.

I had to look at job roles that allowed me to earn a similar wage to the wage I was earning at the time, whilst giving me the opportunity to learn new skills.

With these criteria in mind, I began to explore the local job market using internet search engines to get an idea of what was available in my area.

Care work, in all honesty, was not something I had previously considered and I did not know much about the role and responsibilities.

After reading multiple adverts, I decided home care work was more suited to me than working in a residential care setting.

I felt having the opportunity to help individuals stay in their own homes for as long as they could, safely, whilst using my own initiative and organisational skills, sounded exciting.

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During the application process, I was made aware of the flexibility of the role due to it being a 24 hour service and that many entry level care roles did not rely on experience, they valued personality and character.

During my interview, I also found out I would be paid for them to train me and I would gain my Care Certificate alongside the opportunity to pursue my NVQ if I wanted to.

I felt the role would give me the opportunity to work as part of a team of individuals with similar life perspectives as myself and for a company who would give me the training I needed to be confident in the role.

What Personal Skills Do You Need To Work In Social Care?

Although I mentioned earlier that many entry level care roles do not rely on experience, they value personality and character.

Sure, there are some basic skills required to be able to complete this role adequately.

A good general level of physical fitness is needed due to the high levels of moving and handling.

You will also be in a position of responsibility and it is therefore important that you are reliable, organised and trustworthy.

If applying for a caring role with criminal convictions, declare these at the interview stage so they can be explored as a DBS check will be completed before you commence any role working with vulnerable adults.

A good level of written and verbal English will ensure good communication skills and the ability to complete the relevant paperwork required in this role.

A basic level of mathematics is also required when dealing with medication administration.

I have learnt a multitude of new skills and adaptable techniques by listening to service users and adapting conduct and procedures to suit their needs.

Patience, compassion, flexibility, adaptability and common sense are important, transferable assets I used in this role and I still demonstrate these daily with every service user.

Good time management, punctuality and reliability are also good transferable skills I have used in both the care worker and the Care Assessor job role.

The most important skills in this role, in my opinion, are the ability to actively listen, follow policy and be empathetic not sympathetic.

This will allow you to remain calm and compliant at all times, meeting the needs of the service users, the company and protecting yourself.

What Are The Duties & Responsibilities Of A Home Care Worker

● Assisting with showering/bathing/washing

● Assisting with dressing which can include stockings, pressure wraps and outfit selection

● Shaving both wet and dry

● Cream application and medication administration

● Grooming assistance including hair and teeth care

● Assistance with toileting including commode emptying, incontinence pad changes and cleaning

● Using mobility equipment including hoists, standing aids and lifts

● Emotional support

● Fluid and nutritional support including shopping, cooking, feeding and PEG feeding

● Assisting with catheter and stoma care

● Skin integrity checks including completing body maps, pressure turning and following medical instructions

● Dementia care and support for individuals lacking capacity

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Do you have any questions about working in home care?

Ask Emma questions below

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● Infection control and the correct use of personal protective equipment

● End of life care and support for service users and their families

● Completion of medication record charts, log books, incident forms and regular training

● Light domestic duties including bedding changes, hoovering, pots, washing and bin emptying

● Good communication with multi agency professionals including pharmacists, GP’s, social workers, district nurses and day centres

● Attending all calls on time and completing them within an adequate timeframe whilst completing all listed tasks.

How Does Home Care Work Compare To My Job In Banking?

Throughout my career I have developed my own skills and grown as a person whilst progressing in different companies.

Although there may not be many obvious similarities between banking and care work, I feel a background in customer service meant I worked well with others and had an adaptable approach to my tasks.

I have a great deal of life experience and feel this also helps me to adapt well. Working for multiple employers has given me an appreciation of employer's perspectives, business needs and wants.

I know from my banking background the importance of prioritising, keeping to deadlines and effective team work.

I understand that one mistake can cause a lot of complications and reworking, which costs time and money, and therefore I have a strict, accurate work ethic.

High levels of motivation, compassion and organisational skills are important to both banking and caring roles.

Whilst working in customer focused jobs I adapted to working with empathy (not sympathy) and keeping calm under pressure.

These skills will stay with me forever as I feel they help with everyday life and are transferable to any person-centred role.

How I Switched Career Paths To Become A Care Assessor

I had no previous experience in care so it was a great relief to find that many entry level care roles did not rely on experience, they valued personality and character.

This was also the case when it came to internal progression.

My manager recognised my potential as a Care Assessor due to my performance.

After beginning my role as a domiciliary Home Care Worker, my passion grew. I decided I wanted to make more of an impact on the sector so I began doing the university access course at my local college.

Due to the flexibility of the caring role and my company, I was able to achieve both education and income at the same time.

I am now in the third year of my degree and I have been accepted on to the PGCE course next year to pursue adult education.

I am now a Domiciliary Care Assessor for the same company I began my journey with.

Whilst caring, I showed myself to be reliable, flexible and competent at the role. I followed policy and procedure at all times and went above and beyond in all aspects of the role.

I regularly reported discrepancies in paperwork, issues in properties and I communicated well with families and multi agencies.

Although my degree has contributed to my academic knowledge of the social care sector, I feel it was the practical attributes I displayed whilst working as a carer which aided my progression in becoming a Care Assessor.

What Are The Job Functions and Responsibilities Of A Care Assessor?

In my role as a Domiciliary Care Assessor for my current employer, I am responsible for completing personal service plans for vulnerable adults following a person-centred ethos.

A service plan is an official document incorporating all aspects of the care a person wishes to receive or requires and how that is implemented in their own home with the help of care workers.

I am responsible for undertaking annual reviews of service plans with registered service users and their families.

I also perform regular spot checks on home care calls to ensure all standards and procedures in place by my employer are followed by all staff members.

I complete mental capacity assessments, implement best interest decisions and complete risk assessments regularly.

I succeed in my role by respecting and responding to individual preferences whilst ensuring dignity and independence are maintained as much as possible.

I am a facilitator and encourage service users to partake in personal care plans ensuring they complete any task they can with assistance.

I have key holder responsibility and sole working is a regular part of my role.

Flexibility, travelling and weekend working are also part of this role.

Liaising with district nurses, doctors, pharmacists, family and colleagues ensures my time is used in the most beneficial way.

How Much Can A Care Assessor Earn?

I have only ever worked for my current employer in the care sector which is a private domiciliary care company based in East Yorkshire.

With this in mind, any reference I make to pay, hours, training and responsibilities are based solely on my personal experience.

My wage as a Care Assessor at present is uncapped and I hold a zero-hour contract.

I earn specific amounts of money based of documents I produce. An example of this would be the production of a care plan. The value of that document is £16, based on the idea that it would take between 60 – 90 mins to complete.

As I have gained more experience in the role, the speed and accuracy of my document production has improved and I therefore earn more now than when I began the role.

I also receive £9.50 per hour for hours I spend in the office and these are submitted to my payroll department to be paid on top of what I receive for completing individual documents.

As a Care Assessor I also regularly help out in care, especially at busy times such as Christmas, throughout the pandemic and over weekends.

For working care calls, a Care Assessor will receive the same rate of pay as a carer which at present is around £9.30 at my company.

I also receive mileage pay and this is calculated at 40p per mile.

My uniform, work mobile and tablet are all provided for free by my company.

My training, which occurs throughout the year, is also free and is paid at my office hour rate.

There are always hours available and the flexibility of a zero hour contract works well for me as I have other commitments throughout the year including family and studying.

Although a Care Assessor role does not pay much more than a care role itself, it allows me to influence more change and ensure each service user receives equality and fairness within this service.

How Does Pay In Domiciliary Care Compare To Banking Customer Service Jobs?

When it comes to pay, there is not that much difference in the rate of pay I received between both roles.

Although this will differ from company to company, I have received an annual pay increase at my current company and my pay as a care worker sat at around 50p above the minimum wage at all times.

My pay in banking was very similar.

The difference between the two, where pay is concerned, seemed more to be the earning capacity.

In the care sector overtime is always available as it is a 24 hour service so if I needed more money at a particular time of year (saving for holidays, Christmas, home improvements etc), more work was always available.

What Is The CQC’s Role In The Home Care Sector?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) independently regulate health and social care in England.

Their 2016 to 2021 strategy sets out an ambitious vision: a more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach to regulation so more people get high-quality care.

Due to the covid pandemic, this has accelerated, with the CQC looking for independent providers to adopt innovative ways to continue to provide person-centred care whilst adhering to infection control policies.

The CQC recognise that they need to improve the way they assess how services encourage and enable people who use their facilities to speak up.

Over the next 5 years, they want to focus on how local systems are listening to their local communities so they can improve services.

It is consequently vital that all of the people incorporated within this comprehensive group of individuals are armed with effective knowledge.

At a time when many job sectors have been disabled, an opportunity to move into the social care sector and bring unique perspectives and knowledge would aid in this CQC initiative.

Fresh ideas, outlooks and abilities can give distinctive insight for the evolution of person-centred care in our local communities for vulnerable adults.

What You Should Do First If Working In Home Care Interests You

If working in the care sector interests you and you have read this article, knowing you have the skills and abilities required to successfully work in this sector, my advice would be to make the move!

In the first instance, have a look at your local care companies and jobs available in your area.

If you are not yet ready to apply, give a few companies a call and have a chat about what they can offer you and also what you can offer them.

Depending on your method of transport (walking, bike, car), different care companies may have work in different post code areas, finding this out before an interview will save you time if you cannot get to some locations.

Decide how many and which hours of the day (am, pm, night sitting), work best for your work life balance and make this clear to companies when applying.

This will ensure they match your availability to their rotas and therefore ensure they can offer you an adequate amount of hours within your specified availability.

When you reach the interview stage of this process be transparent and show your personality, this is your unique selling point!

Anyone interviewing someone who has no experience in the sector will not expect you to know every procedure within the role, that is what the training is for.

Try to think of your life and work experience and how skills you have built would help you be competent in this role.

I work with males and females aged between 18 – 60 years old, all bring different and relevant skills and abilities to the role.

If you feel you have what it takes to be a carer in your community, explore your options and fill out that application, start your journey towards a rewarding career.

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Do you have any questions about working in home care?

Ask Emma questions below

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About the author

  • Emma Barnes
    Domiciliary Care Assessor

I used to work in the banking sector. I enjoyed the role, but it didn’t fulfil my passions in life. I decided to dedicate my life to helping people. I started as a Domiciliary Home Care Worker. I took a university access course and am now in the third year of my degree. During that time, my job role has also progressed. I am now a Domiciliary Care Assessor for the same company I began my journey with.

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  • Emma Barnes
    Domiciliary Care Assessor

About the author

  • Emma Barnes
    Domiciliary Care Assessor

I used to work in the banking sector. I enjoyed the role, but it didn’t fulfil my passions in life. I decided to dedicate my life to helping people. I started as a Domiciliary Home Care Worker. I took a university access course and am now in the third year of my degree. During that time, my job role has also progressed. I am now a Domiciliary Care Assessor for the same company I began my journey with.

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