What can a live-in carer do – and what are they not allowed to do?
One of the first things a live-in carer will do when they meet a new client is to discuss the sort of support they can offer. They’ll want to get a sense of what assistance you need, and where you are happy to get on with things by yourself.
It’s also important to think about the things a carer cannot do, either because it requires additional training or because it goes beyond the already wide remit of the job. It’s important that you know about this from the beginning, so boundaries aren’t crossed in either direction, allowing both carer and client to know where they stand.
Full time care
As the name suggests, live-in carers move into your home and stay with you around the clock. There are a few sensible provisions – under UK employment law, nobody is allowed to work 24/7 without a break. While your carer will be with you at the times they are most needed, there will be breaks in care at certain points during the day, including a lunch break and of course set hours for sleep – although overnight care is still a part of their job.
You will need to agree the hours of care in advance, for their benefit and yours – it’s in nobody’s interest to keep a carer working to the point of exhaustion! But rest assured, when they do leave your home for a break, they will make sure you are able to contact someone in case there’s an emergency.
Your live-in carer will be able to help with most domestic tasks, from general cleaning duties to washing up and vacuuming. Carers will be aware that their clients may have particular ways of doing things, and in many cases will actually want to continue performing at least some of their own housework. Keeping a set routine with regular activities is one of the ways we can maintain our independence, so it’s important for carers to assist in that and not to take over.
There are some household duties that they won’t be able to help you with. These include window cleaning, maintenance of specialist clinical equipment and heavy lifting of any kind. Household maintenance, including DIY, is also beyond your carer’s remit. Although they can’t complete these tasks directly, live-in carers may be able to help you find someone who can.
Whether it’s help getting dressed, washing, shaving or bathing, your care provider will be able to assist. This most delicate of personal arrangements is often something a client will want to keep doing by themselves for as long as possible. Your carer will be very mindful of this fact, ensuring you have the appropriate amount of space to complete your daily routine to the best of your ability. Where you can’t quite manage, they will be there to offer support.
Carers aren’t trained hairdressers, so you shouldn’t expect regular trims. Also if you become bed bound and need physical help getting to and from the bathroom, they won’t be able to lift or move you without the appropriate equipment and training.
Meal times can be a worry if you have mobility issues or a medical condition that makes it hard to remember when or what to eat. Weight loss is often one of the first signs that someone isn’t coping alone. With a live-in carer all those concerns can be put to one side as they will work with you to manage a food budget and provide balanced meals.
If you love being in the kitchen, that’s not a problem either. Carers are just as happy to offer assistance where it’s needed – whether that’s reaching a high shelf, or undoing the lid on a particularly stubborn jar. More than that, they can help you to entertain friends or join you for a meal. After all, food is about much more than just consuming the right number of calories, it’s an integral part of your social life.
Medication and treatment
Live-in carers are able to monitor your medication routine for you, making sure you are taking your pills consistently and at the right time. Carers will also ensure that you make it to essential appointments, taking you there and keeping the relevant healthcare professionals informed of results and any further action needed.
For more complex conditions, your carer will only be able to administer certain medications and treatments with the correct training. Promedica24 offers this through an advanced care package to help people living with dementia, advanced cancer or a combination of conditions. Along with managing medication, they’re trained in clinical monitoring and will be able to keep a check on your nutritional intake and look after skin integrity.
Companionship and community
One advantage, unique to live in care, is the emphasis caregivers place on your social life and mental wellbeing. While care home staff will of course sit and chat to residents and welcome them to a ready made community, inevitably you may find yourself distanced from your old life, and reliant on waiting for people to visit. Live-in carers can help you to stay connected with friends, family and the wider community.
Your condition, and its treatment may leave you feeling exhausted and less inclined to take part in social activities. This can leave you feeling isolated and begin to affect your mental health. With a live-in carer there’s always someone there to chat with over a cup of tea throughout the day. They can also encourage you with social engagements. Whether that’s meeting up with friends or attending clubs or other social events, it all fosters a sense of belonging in the wider community.