What makes a good carer? Print E-mail

Both immigrant care workers and older persons agreed as to what makes a good carer. According to respondents, a good carer is one who is patient, compassionate, and capable of understanding and responding to the needs of his/her patients. As two workers mentioned:

You should be passionate and you have to have love and respect them. (Ontario Care Worker J1 )

You have to have the passion to work with the elderly. (BC Care Worker 5)

Being willing to take the time to talk with and listen to older persons was also echoed by several of our participants.

Travailleur: J'aime beaucoup les personnes âgées. J'aime beaucoup être avec eux à l'écoute.
Interviewer: Ils parlent beaucoup?
Travailleur: Oui, c'est ça, ils racontent des choses. Et puis c'est des personnes. En tout cas, j'ai toujours aimé sentir et être utile pour les personnes âgées. Ça je trouve que c'est quelque chose qui est très, très important. Dans ma religion, ça fait partie d'aider les personnes malades. Ça j'ai beaucoup aimé ça. Aussi l'approche de leur parler, j'ai beaucoup aimé ça, vraiment. (QUÉBEC Care Worker 3)

Care Worker: I love the elderly very much. I like very much to be with them and to listen to them.
Interviewer: Do they talk much?
Care Worker: Yes they do. They like to tell stories. And they are people. In any case, I always liked to be there and be useful for the elderly. That I find is something which is very, very important. In my religion, it is an important part - to help sick people. That I like as well. Also to approach and to speak to them, I really like that very much.

Many immigrant care workers drew satisfaction from providing good care despite not feeling their job was not necessarily the best:

….Of course this is not the best job. You can imagine how that is. But if you are doing that with respect, trying to respect the dignity of this person, you are doing a good job and these people feel that. This person says ‘Oh, this is the first time that someone is covering me and someone is trying... Oh thank you for putting on cream’ or something. They say ‘... Thank you for that.’ But this is basic for me. (Ontario Care Worker A2)

Others noted how one must be passionate about and committed to his/her job, willing to work as a team member, and willing to constantly upgrade his/her training in order to provide the best possible care to the elderly. Several of the elderly people we interviewed stressed that one must love to work with the elderly in order to be a good carer.

Having competency in Canadian culture was also noted as being of great importance. Several elderly people mentioned that foreign born care workers need to be trained to understand Canadian culture before they are allowed to care for Canadians. These respondents expressed that foreign born care workers are sometimes unable to relate to the Canadian way of caring because of a cultural difference. It was also noted that every culture is different, hence, immigrant care workers must learn to adapt to the culture of the country they work in.

Interviewer: Do you feel that their understanding of your needs might have been affected by the culture they’ve come from or the training that they have had?
Care Recipient: Only in the small details like not knowing how to, um, you know, how to do some of the household things. You know, not sort of having a clue about how to make a meal the way we wanted it which I would have thought they’d have been taught. (BC Care Recipient 4)

It was also important to some that carers are trustworthy especially if they are going to work in their homes. A few elderly people mentioned cases where care workers have stolen from their homes:

What my mom did in that little 8 x 10 room of hers ... She got my brother-in-law to put a lock on the bottom drawer because she knew some of the caregivers in there lift money. (Older person - BC 4)

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 November 2009 16:33