You’ve probably heard in the news that there is a high demand for Aged Care Workers in Australia right now. As our ageing population increases and life expectancy lengthens, the need for dedicated, qualified workers in aged care rises.
McCrindle puts it like this: “In the next 30 years, Australia will see an unprecedented rate of growth of the over 85s in our nation. In 2044 there will be 1.2 million more people aged over 85 than there are today, and the average older Australian will live 5 years longer than today which equates to adding 6 million more years of care just for the increased number of over 85s and just to manage their increased life expectancy.”
With the demand for qualified Aged Care Workers at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time to join the industry.
What does a Home Care Worker do?
What is the job description for a Home Care Worker? Put simply, Home Care Workers (or Home Care Support Workers or Home Carers) work with elderly people who are still living in their own homes but need help with certain activities. Sometimes Home Care Workers will also work with people living with a disability.
Some of these clients will require less help than others. Some clients may only need help with cleaning and cooking; other clients may also need help with personal hygiene. For some people, the most important part of your visit could be the company.
Becoming a Home Care Worker means working closely with older people who are still living in their own homes.
What are the main duties and responsibilities of a Home Care Worker?
Because your clients will have different needs, your days will have a lot of variety. Some of your clients may only need your help for an hour or two. Other clients may need you for most of the day.
These are some of the responsibilities of a Home Care Worker:
House cleaning that is difficult for your client to do on their own, like dusting and vacuuming hard-to-reach places and changing bed linen.
- Preparing and cooking meals, and sometimes helping the client to eat.
- Reminding clients when to take their medication.
- Personal care, such as helping your client to bathe, wash their hair, and use the bathroom.
- Running errands for or with your client, such as taking them to the supermarket or to doctors’ appointments, or picking up a parcel for them from the post office.
- Providing companionship and conversation. The highlight of your client’s day could just be having a cuppa and a heart-to-heart, or going for a walk with you to the local park.
What skills do you need to be a good Home Care Worker?
Despite the skills shortage in aged care, this isn’t the perfect job for everybody. Many people who work in aged care do it because they have a genuine passion for the industry and a desire to help empower older people.
To work in aged care and, in particular, as a Home Care Worker, there are a few key skills that you need to have.
Here are some of the skills and trait you need to have to be a good Home Care Worker:
- Communication: To be a good Home Carer, you need to be able to listen to your clients’ wants and needs, and also be able to keep a conversation going when your client just wants to have a good old chat.
- Time management: If you’re visiting more than one client in a day, you need to make sure that you’re on time and that you don’t keep your clients waiting or make them late for an appointment.
- Flexible and adaptable: Things don’t always go according to plan. So you need to be able to think on your feet and adapt when a situation changes so that your client still gets the top-quality care they deserve.
- Multi-tasking and multi-processing: Being able to effectively juggle tasks while still maintaining a high level of care is important.
- Work well under pressure: Some days will be tougher than others. But you need to always remain positive and calm.
- Observant: Your clients won’t always tell you straight away if something’s wrong. So you need to be able to accurately spot a change in their behaviour or appearance to know if something is wrong.
- Empathy: Growing old isn’t always easy. As a Home Care Worker, you need to be empathetic and discreet and want to genuinely empower your clients to live a dignified life.
- Patience: Your clients will have good days and bad days. And it’s important for you to always remain patient and calm.
The range of tasks a Home Care Worker will perform throughout their day is highly varied.
Is Home Care Worker a good job for me?
If you identify with the above list of skills and traits and want to make a difference in the lives of elderly people, then becoming a Home Care Worker could be the perfect job for you.
While the work can be challenging at times, there are many benefits.
For one, this is a very stable industry with huge growth. In 2014, there were 131,400 people employed as Aged or Disabled Carers in Australia. By 2019, that number had jumped significantly to 177,200. That’s an increase of 34%. And with Australians living longer, that demand is only going to keep increasing.
So, what can a Home Care Worker expect to earn and how many hours a week do they work? The average full-time salary for a Home Care Worker in Australia is $1265 per week. Many people working in this sector of the healthcare system tend to work part-time (around 67%). But those that do work full-time tend to work an average of 43 hours a week, which is slightly less than the national average.
But aside from the hard stats, the other upside to working as a Home Care Worker is that you get to spend your days helping older Australians to live dignified, happy lives.
How can I become a Home Care Worker?
You can study online with OC to become a qualified Home Care Worker. We offer the CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) as an online course, which means you can study whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for you. Our intuitive online learning platform, OpenSpace, is available 24/7. There are no classrooms to attend and no assessment deadlines.
While you can find work without any formal qualification, studying an online healthcare course such as the Certificate III will give you a head-start once you start applying for roles. It will also teach you the foundational skills and knowledge you need to become a great Home Care Worker.
This course also includes 120 hours of work placement, which means you can get hands-on, real-world experience before you start working in the industry. Plus, you may even get a job out of it.
Ready to begin a fulfilling and rewarding career in a growing industry? Enrol with OC today.