Maria Rodrigues, who has worked as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) at Great Oaks in Bournemouth for three years, said that she loves spending time with the residents as it enables her to get to know each of them personally. As a Healthcare Assistant she feels the most important skill people can bring to the job is a caring, thoughtful personality.
HCAs provide practical, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing support to the residents. Maria says it’s essential to have good listening and communication skills, as well as a natural ability to be friendly, kind, and reassuring to others.
As well as providing companionship to residents, an HCA’s responsibilities include washing and dressing residents, serving meals and helping those that need support with eating, assisting residents to move around, making them feel more comfortable, and monitoring a resident’s condition by recording their temperature, pulse, or weight.
“I always do my job with my heart. We have acted like the residents’ families during the Covid pandemic. It has been hard for them not to be able to see the familiar faces of their families, so they get very emotional now when their family are able to visit – it’s wonderful these visits can become part of their routine again having missed them so much over the past couple of years.
She added: “It’s a busy job but I love finding time to talk to the residents. We know our residents personally. For example, Margaret likes to have her breakfast at 8.30am each day, so after completing the handover with the night staff, I will go and get her breakfast for her, as part of our morning round.”
“If a resident would like a cup of tea, then I will get one for them, or if they would like to hear some music, then I will put on the radio. After lunch, sometimes we will play a game as it is something that the residents enjoy. They love playing hangman. It’s the little things that make them happy.”
There are no set entry requirements to becoming an HCA and Encore provide all the necessary training to succeed in the role. However, there are some skills and characteristics that a person must have, such as ‘caring’ experience which could be from childcare, working in a school, or simply caring for a relative. Alternatively, candidates could come from a people-focused role with a customer service background in retail or hospitality, but they must have a compassionate nature and transferable caring skills.