Are you tired?


Emotional burnout1

You could be emotionally burnt out.

Cognitive behavioral therapists believe care giver personalities tend to have an increased risk of emotional burnout because they generally have a tendency to:

  • Gain self esteem through the approval of others
  • Carry problems home by worrying about others well being outside of work hours.
  • A belief that they can help others and don’t require anything in return

Care givers who believe they are indispensable also tend to not take regular breaks or holidays. They also tend to take on more responsibilities. When asked if they would like to be relieved from their duties, they make excuses to hold onto the task. Care giving personalities also tend to set very high expectations of themselves and reject offers to assist. All these risky behaviors lead to emotional burnout.

People at risk also have a tendency to believe the following two irrational statements:

  1. The Home Care Recipient or direct manager would never make it without me
  2. I don’t need anyone but everyone needs me

When care givers emotionally burnout they tend to:

  • act with a sudden loss of interest in their work or lack of direction
  • become angry or depressive
  • show signs of physical exhaustion and increased illnesses
  • lose commitment and display behaviors resulting in unreliability
  • Search for alternative employment or quit their jobs to take time out for themselves before entering into the workplace.
  • Not trust others to carry out the same standard of work

Unfortunately, the symptoms above continue in a circular fashion unless they understand the root cause of the issue. In the office setting, the care giver personality profile tends to take more and more responsibility for tasks without setting personal limits or adequately protecting themselves.

If you, or someone you know displays the symptoms above, let them know it’s OK to let go, it’s just as important to take time out for themselves as it is to care for others. Above all, trust that learning to invite others in to relieve the burden will end the painful cycle.

Good luck



The Balancing Act of Professionalism


Have you revealed too much of yourself? Have you let your own feelings influence the way you make decisions for your Home Care Recipient? Have  your behaviours hindered a therapeutic relationship?

I’m sure you have all heard of Professional Boundaries and that you will performance managed if you breach them, but it’s difficult to stick to them when you are working 1:1 with your Home Care Recipient regularly.

Counsellors and Psychologists train for years on how to balance professionalism with empathy. The complex formula takes skill to perfect and yet in home care service providers are expected to work in homes often on a daily basis and know the ins and outs of what to say when asked a personal question.

We’ve heard the rules, don’t disclose personal information, don’t take anything from the client except your pay and good nature and don’t get over involved. On one hand, being empathetic requires you to understand where your Home Care Recipient is coming from, however you’re not a robot either. So how do you balance the equation?

*Find your Professional Boundaries activity*

1. Write up a list of personal information you would feel comfortable telling a friend

2. Write up a second list of personal information you would feel comfortable telling an acquaintance knowing that the information could potentially be disclosed to another person without you knowing. The list isn’t very long is it?

3. Look over the two lists. Write up a third list of personal information which will be a happy medium between what you would tell a stranger and what you would tell a friend. Your second and third list demonstrates your personal professional boundaries.

4. Show the list to your loved ones and see if they approve. Generally if you are sharing too much information, your loved ones wont approve. Adjust your professional boundaries if required.

Generally issues such as family or health issues wouldn’t be discussed with your Home Care Recipient as these topics tend to transfer negative emotions to your Home Care Recipient which they definitely do not benefit from.

You need to protect your personal information. You see your Home Care Recipient multiple times per week, you enter into their personal space, you care for their wellbeing and over time you get to know more about their history than some of their family members do.

Remember you are there for your Home Care Recipient, they are not there for you.

Good luck





Writing with a purpose

Writing with a purpose.JPGHow do you remember the little things to build rapport quickly? Share and help others too.

Keeping a notebook helps you remember little facts, figures, sons, daughters, grandchildren’s names, family backgrounds, happy times as well as a list of do not bring up again topics!

Your journal can also serve as a self-reflective piece which can enable you to build on your skills. If you aren’t sure of something, jot it down so you can research it later. In Community Care, you don’t often have the luxury of supervising your team leader transferring a Home Care Recipient an easier way, or to debrief on how you managed to finally get Mrs. Smith out of bed for the first time in forever.

Keeping track of all the little things can build your skill level, and also be a point of reference when you do have the opportunity to assist with a care plan review, or the family ask how their mum or dad are going.

The main point to keeping a notebook with you is to jot down anything you think you might need again. Let’s face it, we are all getting older and our memory isn’t as sharp as what it was when we were in our teens.

Your notes are never lost, the cherishing part of keeping notes, is passing them onto a Home Care Recipient’s family if they pass away. How beautiful would it be, if you received a little notebook from your mother’s service provider outlining little quotes about how special you were, a memory you had forgotten, or a poem that she used to rephrase all the time.

Each shift you spend with your Home Care Recipient is a chance for you to learn something new about your Home Care Recipient, and also reflect on your own practice as well.

Pass this blog on, your you can share the secret to building rapport quickly

Good luck


Goal Acheivment

Goal Achievment

It’s too hard, I can’t, It’s impossible, maybe I can do it, what if I do this?

When you have been successful at building a therapeutic relationship with your Home Care Recipient, goal achievement can be extremely rewarding.

Your Home Care Recipients all have goals. They could be general goals such as remaining independent at home for as long as possible, or specific goals such as building up the strength to walk to the letterbox and back.

Of course you can suggest mini goals to be able to break a large goal into manageable components, however it is much more beneficial if your Home Care Recipient suggests the steps they will take to achieve the goal on their own.

Giving Home Care Recipients the power to manage their goals and come up with solutions to remove barriers is extremely empowering, and helps them move forward without feeling pressured by their Primary Carer or Service Provider.

Making behavioral changes is almost always a lengthy process however once the Home Care Recipient has come up with solutions, as a Service Provider, you can then tailor their program around goal attainment.

One way to make a positive behavioral change is to use influential language. According to Gestalt Therapy, using the word “experiment”, instead of “homework”, “task”, or “assignment” was perceived in a study to evoke feelings of reaching toward something unknown, exciting and discovering something new about themselves.

If your Home Care Recipient is motivated enough, and you can give them the right environment to remove their barriers, you will be able to reward yourselves sooner than you both think, however don’t be discouraged if the goal isn’t achieved in the desired time frame. Discuss what went wrong and get your Home Care Recipient to set the next experiment.

Good luck


I slipped on the bathroom floor and…

RisksWe have all done it. Are you like me when I mop the floor and then reach over to get my phone from the basin because I have forgotten it? Or do you double over the floor to dry mop and find your feet slipping out from underneath you? 

In Community Care, these risks are real, and the injuries are painful. Cracked ribs, fractured wrists, bruised coccyx, or a bruised ego if you’re lucky. Not only are you at risk of injury, however after you finish your shift, your Home Care Recipient could be rushing to the toilet and not realize the floor is still wet. Their fractured hip or head wound could be on your conscious.

So, let’s think about the risks for just a moment…

  • Manual handling
  • Awkward postures
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Burns
  • Biological hazards
  • Skin tears

Who knew having a shower, or cleaning the bathroom could be so full of risk. How do we survive on a daily basis?

Seriously though, when you are showering a Home Care Resident, manual handling is definitely a valid risk. Showers are small spaces which then lands you in a yoga type awkward posture while trying to bathe your Home Care Recipient and avoid getting just as wet at the same time. Were you good at Twister when you were younger?

So how can risk in the shower by reduced?

  • Run the water to modify the temperature before allowing the Home Care Recipient to enter the shower to avoid burns.
  • Wear closed toe shoes with a rubber sole and use a non-slip mat instead of a towel on the floor to avoid trips, slips and falls.
  • Use personal protective equipment including gloves to reduce biological hazards.
  • Remove jewelry and keep your finger nails short to reduce the risk of skin tears
  • Assess the Home Care Recipient’s independence and request appropriate grab rails, hand held shower head and/or shower chair to be arranged to avoid manual handling injuries and prepare your workplace to have  the shower products at a lower height so your Home Care Recipient can independently reach them.
  • Use the exhaust fan or open windows for additional ventilation
  • Remove cabinets, baskets etc. which are not required to increase the space in the bathroom to avoid those awkward yoga postures.

When all else fails, the Home Care Recipient’s bathroom could be potentially redesigned to change the sliding shower door to a swing door, remove lips into the shower, improve ventilation and have added work space.

Keep you and your Home Care Recipient safe by being alert to potential risks.

Good luck!


Promoting your profile in Community Care

Promoting your profile in Community Care

You have completed your Certificate III in Aged Care, Home & Community Care, Disability or Individual Support, and are not getting enough work. What can you do to promote your profile?

Firstly you need to be confident in your ability. Secondly you need to have the relevant skills. Finally the most important thing you can do is build relationships. 

Putting confidence and skills aside for the moment. You need to shift your frame of mind to thinking that the Community Care industry is a very large social network. If you play your cards right, you can choose to have a roster which supports a healthy work/life balance or, you can choose to put in the extra hours to save up for that house, car or holiday you have been waiting for.

Who do you need to build relationships with?

Firstly, your Service Provider. When you become an employee of a new provider, don’t get lost in the crowd. Many Service Providers have a large pool of workers across a large geography, therefore first impressions are important. This is the first instance where the right amount of confidence in your ability is key.


  • Present well
  • Keep your hair, uniform/work clothes clean and tidy
  • Be reliable and consistent with your availability to work
  • Put the Home Care Recipient at the center of every conversation.
  • Remain professional at all times and,
  • Refrain from saying “no” where possible.

Why shouldn’t you say no? Imagine you are responsible for coordinating In Home Care Services, for hundreds of recipients, and someone has called in sick at the last minute. You have a list of 20 workers who are available for the shift. Who are you going to call first? The one who says, “yes”.

Building a relationship with your service provider, and notably your Coordinator is the first key to success in building a prosperous roster in Community Care. Saying “yes”, is the easiest way to win them over.

Even if the shift doesn’t fit in with your preferences, to build the relationship and become more than a name on the screen, say “yes”. Let them know, “it’s a little bit too far, but I’ll do it for you this time”. Saying “yes”, to as many shifts as possible allows you the opportunity to build relationships with Home Care Recipients which is your next key to a successful roster.

How do you start building relationships with Home Care Recipients? By working (and impressing) as many Home Care Recipients as you can!

Generally in Community Care, Home Care Recipients prefer the same Support staff each week for their services. This makes it difficult for new employees to enter the industry and build a prosperous roster. The key to making relationships with Home Care Recipients is to exceed their expectations. This will ensure the next time their regular support staff are on leave or unavailable, they will ask for you. They will also spread the word to other Home Care Recipients that you have made an impression on them.

How do you exceed their expectations? Know what you are supposed to do on the shift. Ask for the Home Care Recipient’s background information, research their medical conditions, ask the Coordinator or Senior members for additional information that can’t be put on a care plan, such as preferences, previous complaints etc. and when you are on the shift add finishing touches to every task you do.

For example, if you have been given a Home Care shift and you have a basic list of cleaning duties including cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, toilet and lounge room.

  1. Complete the allocated tasks in the allotted time where possible.
  2. Add finishing touches in each room. E.g.fold the toilet paper into a point, polish the shower taps, clean the mirror, dust under ornaments, not just around them.
  3. Take pride in your work
  4. Ask the Home Care Recipient if there was a particular way they used to carry out those tasks so you can achieve this for them.

If you love your job, your Home Care Recipients will respond to your enthusiasm. The more Home Care Recipients who enjoy your company and attention to detail, the fuller your roster will become until you really need to start saying “no”.

Good luck!