Caring for disabled people is often a tough task, because their safety and dignity is in your hands. Despite this, it is also a deeply satisfying job. Watching a service user become happy, healthy, and confident as a result of your care is the ultimate reward. Here’s our advice on how to best care for those with disabilities.
Putting Health and Safety First
Health and safety is a priority in the homecare profession, so keep an eye out for the following when you are visiting a service user’s home:
- Poorly fitted rails and other inadequate safety equipment
- Unsafe gas and electric appliances such as boilers and electric heaters
- Blocked emergency exits
- Hazards that could cause slips or falls
- Abusive behaviour from others, like other care professionals or family members
By identifying these risks and notifying your supervisors, your service user will live safely and independently. It’s important to think of your own health and happiness too. If you’re exhausted or stressed at work, you could overlook the things that make a home unsafe for a disabled person, so always keep your own mental health in check and seek support from your management team if you need it.
Providing Dignity in Care
There are a few measures you can take to ensure that a disabled person maintains their dignity. If you offer them choices on a day-to-day basis, this will increase their feeling of self-worth. By asking someone what they’d like for breakfast, which clothes they want to wear, and other simple questions like this, that person will feel empowered and more independent.
When it comes to meals, check that the food looks presentable. Just arranging it neatly on a plate will make mealtimes feel dignified, and making sure that your client eats a wide variety of foods will make it more stimulating for them too.
Simply addressing the person by their name, sitting with them, and maintaining eye contact restores dignity. This is because each of these actions shows respect and consideration for the person you are looking after.
Finally, it is important to conduct hygiene-related activities with sensitivity. The person you’re caring for may not be used to having such personal things done for them, so be considerate when you’re carrying out tasks like this.
Helping with the Little Things
Helping people with admin-based jobs is also useful. This could include keeping in touch with loved ones, responding to letters from local authorities, sorting out bills, and other tasks that might be difficult for them to carry out. By keeping on top of these little things, you’ll help your service user get practical tasks sorted, and they’ll feel reassured and supported by your assistance.
According to the disability charity Sense, disabled people living in the UK are more likely to feel lonely than people without a disability. This means that, as a care worker, you can prevent clients from feeling isolated. By simply encouraging them to attend local social events, taking them on day-trips out of the house, or even just chatting with them during your shift will help to stop them from feeling alone. Loneliness is a serious issue because it can…
- Increase a person’s chances of developing dementia by 64% (Holwerda et al, 2012)
- Heighten the chance of dying prematurely by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
- Lead to the onset of depression (Cacioppo et al, 2006)
By doing simple things to make sure that your client isn’t cut off from the world, you will be a lifeline to them if they are feeling lonely.
Looking After Yourself
Taking care of yourself is important, too, which is easy to forget when you spend most of your time helping others. That’s why here at CRG we understand that disabled people living in the UK are more likely to feel lonely than people without a disability and we ensure that all of our staff are well looked-after. Find out more about the homecare roles we offer, and apply for your perfect job today.