7 Common Problems Care Workers Face and How to Overcome Them

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Are you interested in learning 7 common problems care workers face? In this article, you will discover care workers challenges and how to overcome them.

Care workers face many of the same challenges that are common in the healthcare industry. Here we look at 7 common problems care workers face and how to handle them.

1. Irregular Work Hours

Care workers often work long, irregular hours, especially independent care workers who travel from home to home. This may include working on the weekends and at night.

Common problems care workers face when dealing with these hours are an unbalanced work-personal life, higher stress levels, and physical and mental exhaustion.

Possible Solutions

Plan at least 2 weeks ahead. A month is preferable but allow for some flexibility.

Don’t forget about the travel time. Independent care workers spend a lot of time on the road so make sure you calculate this into your schedule for a more realistic picture of your day.

Save time for personal activities. It is important to save a few hours in each day to do things unrelated to work. It helps with your mental health and gives you valuable time with your family.

2. Work Overload

There is a shortage of care workers in the UK, which means that there is greater pressure on the profession. Some of the common problems care workers face are related to an excessive workload.

Possible Solutions

Be honest about your workload. If you have more patients than you can handle, it is necessary to pass on the work to someone else. This is in your own best interest and that of the people you care for.

Be honest about your capabilities. If you are working with other healthcare professionals, tell them honestly which responsibilities you are and aren’t comfortable with. They have a responsibility to not place you in situations that you are not equipped to handle.

3. Limited Training

The number of qualified healthcare workers is limited, which sometimes puts care workers in positions they are not trained for.

There is also greater pressure on care workers to enter training so they can achieve higher-level positions. Although this provides a better paying job opportunity, it also adds to their current workload.

Possible Solutions

Seek out job training. Staying up to date on the latest healthcare discoveries and policies is a job requirement, but difficult to manage on your own. Contact the local healthcare organisations and find out what training they offer.

Find a balance between training and regular work. You may need to reduce your workload to compensate for the time spent on training. Again, find a healthy balance.

4. Lack of Mentoring and Supervision

Soft skills are extremely important for care workers. There are many skills care workers need to develop that can’t be taught from a textbook. That is why it is so important to have a mentor or supervisor who can help you deal with the common problems care workers face.

Possible Solutions

Join a union. Worker unions have their members’ best interest at heart and you want this advocate in your corner.

Reach out to more experienced care workers. Find a way to stay in contact with colleagues and build a relationship for support and advice. You can ask your agency about such groups or find a Facebook community.

5. Personal Safety at Work

Unfortunately, care workers do deal with violence in the workplace. Care workers are especially at risk when the patient is reluctant to receive care.

There are many migrant care workers in the UK to make up for the shortage and they may face prejudice or even racism in the workplace. This is a deep-rooted problem that the healthcare system (and society) still needs to find a way to address.

Possible Solutions

Share your experience with colleagues and the family. Do not cover up instances of violence, even if you do feel like the patient meant no real harm. Your colleagues, supervisors and the patient’s family must be aware of their behaviour so they can take appropriate action to keep you safe.

Try to understand the patient’s triggers. In some cases, a patient acts violently because of an underlying health condition or a past trauma. Their doctor will need to review their medicine in the case of the former and they may need psychological help with the latter.

Decide if you are truly safe. Although accidents happen, you shouldn’t put yourself at unnecessary risk. Sometimes, it is simply safer to pass the job on to someone more appropriate.

6. Dealing with the Loss of a Patient

Working in such close quarters with patients, often for extended amounts of time, can create a bond. When care workers lose a patient, it can be similar to the emotional and mental health issues friends and families face.

Possible Solutions

Find a balance between personal care and professionalism. This is easier said than done, but is a vital skill. Ask more experienced care workers how they remain attentive while keeping a professional distance.

Give yourself time to process. Some care workers have little personal rituals that help them find closure on the loss of a patient. Something like saying a prayer or meditation offers space to process what has happened while also limiting the time you dwell on it.

7. Maintaining Good Relationships with Family & Other Healthcare Professionals

Although some care workers may experience lone soldier syndrome, there are several people involved in the care of a person in need. Some of the common problems care workers face are more related to the others involved than the patients themselves.

Possible Solutions

Keep the patient’s family updated. Not only will they appreciate it, but it also keeps them in the loop about their family member’s wellbeing. It is important that they know you are open and honest about your job.

Communicate often with the patient’s healthcare team. Care workers rarely work in isolation and it is important nurses and doctors are aware of any developments. Keep written records and send emails or make phone calls where necessary.

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About the Author:

Evans B. Ofori

Evans B. Ofori is the founder and CEO of Adult Care Voice. Evans and his team help people who have passion for helping people find a satisfying and rewarding care worker jobs.