Working together, improving lives

September 2023

Professional Carers Week: Celebrating Carers in Healthcare

This week (September 18th – 22nd) Dean Healthcare celebrates Professional Carers Week, an awareness campaign founded by The Care Workers Charity that aims to raise the profile of care workers in the UK, including sharing information on the important work they carry out such as day-to-day responsibilities, along with identifying the challenges they may face both personally and in the sector. The Professional Carers Week campaign is also an opportunity to thank those working selflessly in the field of health and social care and a chance to share with them important resources that benefit their work and personal life too. Join us in today’s blog as we take a deep dive into these important topics.

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What is a ‘Professional’ Carer?

A Professional Carer typically refers to someone who is employed to provide care and support to an individual or individuals with specific needs due to age, illness, disability or other circumstances. Professional Carers will work in various settings including care homes, nursing homes, care facilities, hospitals or a persons own home. The term ‘Professional Carer’ is a blanket title for these carers, and they will often be referred to as; Healthcare Assistants, Support Workers, Personal Care Assistants or Caregivers.

Why are Professional Carers important?

Professional Carers and the work they do is incredibly important, this is because they help support the lives of those who may be impaired in some way which inhibits their ability to live an entirely independent life. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 people living within care or nursing homes in the UK, supported by more than a million Professional Carers. The work carried out by these Carers ensures people with disabilities or impairments from age, injury or illness live a fulfilled, happy and healthy life.

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What are the responsibilities of a Professional Carer?

The responsibilities of a Professional Carer is vast and changes with the needs of those who they are caring for. Not only do they help support people with their day-to-day lives in a number of ways, such as; feeding, cleaning, washing, promoting independence, etc. but they are often highly trained and may be required to administer medication for disease, illness or injury, undertake routine check-ups such as observation and monitoring as well as support and report to other team members including a Registered Nurse or other, similar, healthcare professional. In addition to these skills, a Professional Carer is expected to be kind, considerate and confident, providing emotional and mental-health support and promoting trust with those they are caring for to ensure they are comfortable, happy and healthy. You can read more about the responsibilities of Professional Carers, including Healthcare Assistants, Support Workers and Nurses by visiting our blog on this topic HERE.

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What are the challenges a Professional Carer might face?

Despite that care in the UK is considered a highly skilled profession, care workers are often not greeted with the same standard as other similarly skilled roles in different industries. Because of the nature of the sector which is multi-faceted, ever-changing and reactive to demand, care work, and therefore Professional Carers by default, are more often associated with low pay, poor training and high turnover. For many, this is not as it were, and in fact, many agencies, such as Dean Healthcare, will provide a Real Living Wage, sufficient and in-depth training and options for flexible working, conducive to a healthy work-life balance. However, the stigma associated for many carers remains the same which leads to feelings of inadequacy and low morale.

Additionally, Professional Carer’s are more prone to health and safety risks than other professions which can inhibit these individuals both physically and mentally. For example, ailments and fatigue as a result of manual handling or excessive exercise as they support one or multiple people can occur, with downtime resulting in loss of income. Similarly, caregiver stress can happen by way of supporting another person and the responsibilities involved which can lead to stress or anxiety. It is important to recognise all of these challenges and highlight the consequent issues in an effort to make a Carer’s working environment suitable, comfortable and as risk-free as possible and recognising their value to us and our society.

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How does support and training benefit a Professional Carer?

Interestingly, the healthcare sector is one of the few industries that does not require tertiary education, a qualification or degree to become successfully employed, however, in almost all circumstances, training and development is provided to and undertaken by a Professional Carer both before their employment and during and will be completed and updated repeatedly to ensure safety and understanding and maximise competence, confidence and professionalism. At Dean Healthcare, we provide access to more than 40 online and in-person mandatory and specialist training courses to not only ensure our staff members are highly qualified, but also to promote their own personal growth, development and progression in the industry. As Nelson Mandella put it “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and we believe this to be true about the level of training and support we provide to our Professional Carers.

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Where can a Professional Carer access more support?

With one of the largest workforces in the UK, Professional Carers can gain access to a range of support, tips, training and advice. Below are just a few examples – our own website, you can gain access to our blogs with more in-depth information about the sector, along with our latest job positions and opportunities if you’re looking for a new and exciting role. – the organisation which first started Professional Carers Week, The Care Workers Charity also provides lots of resources for those working in healthcare - Mental Health At Work provide resources for Professional Carers if you’re finding things difficult or need someone to talk to. - This link to the NHS website includes a directory for healthcare workers including; professional associations, colleges, medical support organisations and charities.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Professional Carer Week and the importance of raising the profile of all Professional Carers. Be sure to celebrate and uplift those working in care this week to help them feel supported, valued and important.