- 16 July 2021
- 12 min read
What Are The Duties Of A Care Assessor Working In Home Care?Subscribe To Advice
From her own experience, Emma gives an overview of the role of a Care Assessor, with a rundown of the responsibilities & duties, and what to consider if you’re thinking of becoming one.
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I currently work as a Care Assessor in the domiciliary care sector for a home care company in the North of England.
As explained in my previous articles, “How I Changed My Career Path To Work In Home Care” and “What Are The Duties Of A Care Assistant Working In Home Care?”, I began my career in the social care sector as a Care Assistant for the same company.
I have worked in the care sector for over 6 years and throughout this period of time I have also undertaken higher education to help grow and evolve within my role.
Overview Of The Role
As a Care Assessor, I prepare and adapt care plans for service users and their families which are used to inform Care Assistants of the duties and tasks required within the care calls an individual receives.
Care plans are person centred documents containing a multitude of information, including but not limited to; service user personal history, medical history, multi-agency contacts, visits, allergies, personal preference and risk assessments.
A care plan can be produced with a service user alone, with family/friends, with multi-agency collaboration or with a spouse.
As a Care Assessor, it is my responsibility to ensure a service user has the maximum amount of input possible into the production of the care plan.
By doing this, any instruction a Care Assistant receives from a care plan is centred around the wishes of the service user.
In many cases, a service user may be non-verbal or lack the capacity to make informed decisions on a daily basis. It is therefore vital a Care Assistant utilises the information in a care plan to adapt the knowledge they have gained in training to give individualised care and undertake the duties relevant to each specific service user.
A Care Assessor may have a different job label across the sector, other titles may include; supervisor, senior carer or care support.
As a Care Assessor I am also responsible for undertaking annual reviews of service plans with registered service users and their families and performing 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 encourage service users to partake in personal care plans ensuring they complete any task they can with assistance and this is vital to both rehabilitation and maintenance of abilities.
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A major part of any role within the care sector is multi-agency communication.
It ensures service users are enabled to use information, guidance and support from different specialists in a comprehensive and consistent way.
There are many instances throughout my average working week when I will need to communicate with specialist, either on a service users behalf or to benefit a service users care.
When completing a care plan for a service user, I will commonly refer to physiotherapist, occupational therapist and district nurse notes to help incorporate their guidance into the care a service user receives.
This can only be done with full consent from a service user or if they are lacking the capacity to make decisions in their own best interests.
I regularly speak to GP’s and pharmacists if, as a company, we are responsible for administering service user medication.
The reasons for this can include; incorrect medication label instructions, re-ordering medication, arranging medication reviews, adverse reactions to medication and changes to health.Local authorities have regular reviews with service users, especially in the event of a change of needs, I would also be invited to attend as a representative of my company.
Within these meetings it is common to discuss call increase/decreases, any issues a service user may be having and any way we can improve a service users wellbeing.
If a service user has complex health care needs which require the regular attendance of district nurses, it is common for changes to occur on a regular basis.
This is more so the case in skin integrity illnesses and it is critical this information is relayed to the Care Assistants to prevent any further discomfort/infection.
My company advises annual reviews on service user care packages, a six week review for new service users and a review to be undertaken in the event of changes to care or any concerns.
To complete a review I would first contact a service user over the telephone to arrange a suitable time and date.
Whilst on the telephone I ask if the service user would like anyone to attend with them, this can be anyone who will advocate for the service user including spouses, family or friends.
Having an advocate can be useful if the service user has any memory or communication issues or if other individuals are involved in providing care tasks.
I have a formatted sheet to follow when completing a review which includes questions like; “are your care calls on time”, “are care workers completing all tasks within those calls” and “ what are your goals in the future”.
The sheet also offers the opportunity for comments from others and has a comment box for any other points discussed.
From the review sheet, I will then produce an action plan which helps me to enforce any changes that may have arisen within my discussion.
Actions which regularly arise from service user reviews are Occupational therapist assessments, call time changes and changes to tasks.
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Although spot checks can be quite daunting to care staff as they may feel they are being monitored, they are used to aid in the progression of each individual and to recognise good practice.
Again, spot checks are a pre-printed form which I need to complete whist watching a Care Assistant practically in a home care call.
A spot check will look at if a Care Assistant is in the correct uniform and is using the correct personal protective equipment.
It explores the strength of a Care Assistants communication skills and if they are completing the required tasks in a care call.
A spot check can lead to a number of actions for both the Care Assistant and care call itself.
Care Assistants may need further training, supervision or shadowing shifts as a result of a spot check.
Care Assistant may also be recognised for their outstanding performance and this would be kept on file for their supervision meetings.
If I attend a care call and recognise there may be issues completing tasks in the way required according to the care plan, I would arrange a responsive review so it could be adapted as needed.
As a new Care Assistant, my company complete three spot checks in the probationary period to ensure a Care Assistant is confident in the role and does not require any further specific training.
When a service user is new to the company, a Care Assessor will arrange the initial meeting with them, before care commences, to complete the care plan.
I receive a copy of the paperwork from the Local Authorities which will indicate if a service user had capacity at the time of their discussion or if there is a power of attorney for the service user.
In this instance I would contact the representative to attend the initial meeting as the service user may not be fully able to make all the decisions alone.
To assess capacity at the time of visit I have to consider the service users ability to retain, understand and implement the information I am giving them.
If I find they cannot do these things, it would be discussed between myself, the service user and the representative, what best interest decisions will be implemented by Care Assistants.
This can include; Personal care needs, medication administration, food purchase/preparation and security.
Administration is a big part of my role and is important to the companies CQC compliance.
I am given spread sheets containing tasks I am required to do and in order for these to be updated, my administration must be clear and completed in a timely manner.
Most of the sheets I complete are done by hand which means my writing must be clear and legible.
It is my responsibility to ensure I have an adequate supply of the sheets I need when I’m in the community and I print these from my companies intranet.
Care plans are completed on a hand held tablet in a service users home, edited and printed in the office and then delivered by myself back to the service users home.
I am required to completed timesheets which need to include all tasks I have undertaken, when I have undertaken them and how long it took me to complete the individual tasks.
I check my work email daily as this is where I will receive any important information and I action any email requests, where possible, within that working week.
If you already work as a Care Assistant and are maybe looking for a new challenge or thinking of changing roles, this could be the role for you.
The mix of office and community based working offers me the freedom to have a good working relationship with my team but also focus on individual goals I can achieve independently. I enjoy the varied tasks I receive as it keeps my role interesting, and I receive regular training and support.
Doing this role affords me the opportunity to make a real difference to individuals in our community and help those in need of an advocate in the health and social care sector.
Within my company 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 for more influence over a service users care and ensure each service user receives equality and fairness within this service.
When looking at this role, as I said earlier, it may be labelled under an alternative title.
My advice would be to check the job specifications in the advertisement or if you already work in the care sector, speak to your management team about progression.