As a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) with Alert Health 24, you’ll be working in a variety of care/residential home settings within your region and so every day presents something different with its own new challenges. There are, however, certain day-to-day routines that remain constant. It's these routines that help to provide some sort of structure to your working day.
With that in mind, we’ve spoken to several of our most experienced HCAs and put together this blog article on what to expect from a typical 12-hour day in the life of an HCA. Whether you’ve been working as an HCA for multiple years or are just looking to get started, we hope this’ll give you a better understanding of exactly what the role requires.
Typically, an HCAs shift will begin around 7am and their day will start with a handover meeting with those on duty during the previous shift, usually night staff. During this meeting, the night staff will provide information about any significant events that occurred during the night, including any concerns or changes in the residents' conditions. As an HCA, it is essential to listen carefully and take note of any important information that will impact your duties and responsibilities.
Once the handover meeting is complete, the HCA will start the morning routine, which includes helping the residents with their personal care, such as washing, dressing, and grooming. It is essential to treat every resident with dignity, respect, and kindness, ensuring that their needs are met, and they feel comfortable.
After personal care, breakfast is served, and the HCA will assist residents who require help with feeding, making sure that they have the correct diet, and that they are hydrated. An HCA must also be aware of any special dietary requirements that the residents have and ensure that they are met.
During this time, HCAs will also be monitoring the residents' overall health and wellbeing, observing any changes in their physical or mental state, and reporting any concerns to the nursing or care home management team. Additionally, they will be interacting with residents, providing emotional support, and offering companionship to those who may be feeling lonely or isolated.
Once all the morning tasks are completed, residents may participate in a range of activities that promote their physical and mental wellbeing. HCAs consider any physical limitations or disabilities that residents may have when they participate in the following:
Exercise classes - Many care homes offer exercise classes specifically designed for older adults, such as chair yoga or gentle stretching exercises. These classes can help improve mobility and flexibility, as well as reducing the risk of falls and other accidents.
Crafts and hobbies - Activities such as painting, knitting, and other crafts can be enjoyable and therapeutic for care home residents, providing an opportunity for creativity and self-expression.
Singing and music - Music can be a powerful tool for promoting wellbeing, and many care homes offer singing and music sessions that allow residents to enjoy familiar songs and tunes.
Social events - Care homes often organize social events, such as coffee mornings, tea parties, or games afternoons, to give residents the opportunity to socialize and connect with one another.
Reminiscence activities - Reminiscence activities involve sharing memories and stories from the past, which can be particularly beneficial for people with dementia. This can include looking at old photographs, listening to music from a particular era, or discussing historical events.
Lunchtime follows the morning activities, and once again, the HCA will assist residents who need help with feeding. The HCA will also ensure that the residents have access to plenty of fluids throughout the day. This time can also be a great opportunity for HCAs to administer any prescribed medication to residents who require it.
As well as further activities, residents may also receive visits from family members during the afternoon and it’s the responsibility of an HCA to assist with this process. HCAs may help residents to get ready for the visit, ensuring that they are comfortable and have everything they need, such as assistive devices or special equipment.
HCAs will also help to facilitate communication between residents and their families, aiding with conversation and translation if necessary. It’s also crucial to ensure that residents and their families are safe during the visit, by adhering to any infection control protocols and monitoring for hazards or risk.
As the day draws to a close, an HCA will be expected to help residents with their evening routines, such as washing and getting ready for bed. Once again, it is essential to provide personal care with dignity, respect, and kindness, ensuring that residents feel comfortable and secure.
Finally, before the end of the shift, there will be another handover meeting with those working on the next shift so any important information or concerns can be shared.
Overall, being an HCA at Alert Health 24 involves a range of tasks and responsibilities, all of which are focused on the care and wellbeing of the residents. It requires compassion, patience, and excellent communication skills, as well as the ability to adapt to different situations and respond to residents' needs effectively. It’s an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling role that makes a positive difference to the lives of others and we have a variety of roles currently available across the UK.
If you're looking to restart or even begin your career as an HCA, get in touch with a member of our extremely experienced team and we'll help to explain the roles available in your area and how to get started!
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