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why can it be difficult to decide whether or not someone is an informal carer and does it matter?

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In order to answer this question I need to firstly assess the role of the home care worker/assistant and why they are so important with regards to care services today. One reason for this can be found in Unit 3. Unit 3, p.152 advises that, "As more people who need care continue to live in their own homes, the job of home care assistant has become more significant." The idea that more people in need of care continue to live at home is echoed in the NHS and Community Care Act of 1990. According to Unit 3, p.143, the Act sets out "to promote the development of services which would enable people to live in their own homes wherever possible." I notice then that this takes pressure off hospitals and other care-homes and creates a necessity for home care workers. In the case of the Durrants in Unit 1, Arthur relies on home care worker Doreen and his daughter Lynne, to attend to his physical needs such as cooking, washing and shopping. I was first introduced to the concept of home care in 2000 having watched my mother spend her working life as a home help. ...read more.


It is felt then that a care worker is obviously a skilled worker in need of training in this field. In my experience, the training courses available to home care workers are few and far between and it was six months into my employment before I was offered any sort of lifting and handling training. I, like Mary in Unit 3, section 5, had no formal training and I learnt as I went along. My lack of training was apparently due to costs and the fact that my employer was under the impression that I should be experienced enough, through my own family life, to cope. My employer's attitude reminded me of Reg Martin in Unit 3, p.163 when he insinuated that caring is women's work. Not only are women now seemingly responsible for caring roles, I am also told in Unit 3 that jobs once done by community nurses are now done by home carers. This is seen as evidence that care work is now transferred to low paid, semi-skilled women. I am also told that this is the reason for the lack of formal training. ...read more.


This put a strain on our relationship as I felt she was not happy with me as a carer and I had to report the situation to my employer. After hours of communication on a one-to-one basis with her I began to win her trust and the situation slowly changed. Hence my opinion that communication ability can be as important as other practical skills. It is my view that until home care workers are all fully trained and paid a higher salary they will never gain the respect they deserve and those outside of healthcare will never truly see their importance. I turn to my own experience to justify my decision. As a home care worker amongst a family of professionals ranging from civil servants to business managers I am constantly the subject of ridicule. The looks of disgust in the past when discussing toileting or other hygiene care are too numerous to list as are the cries of " ..Well I wouldn't do it for that salary!" Some home care workers do provide care for a low salary, can cope without formal training and can adapt to many situations sometimes emotionally heartbreaking, yet remain professional. Surely, this should mean a higher status being given to home care workers. However, in reality status remains an ongoing issue. ...read more.

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