One of our long service and highly experienced home support workers, Elizabeth Long, explained why she choose to participate in a Special Purpose Certificate in Dementia Care and Support, fully funded by Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board, and delivered by Irish Times Training.
“Elizabeth, how long have you worked as a carer ?
Caring is a flexible career, as you can choose your own hours, and leave and come back depending on family commitments. Although I always come back to caring as I miss contact with people. I like being in the community.
You have lots of experience caring for people living with dementia. Why did you choose to do this course ?
I have worked in care for approximately 20 years on and off. Although I have a lot of experience, I believe that the more you learn, the better it is for me and for my clients. Also, why not continue learning ?
What did you learn on the course ?
It was very interesting as it was very detailed. There was always so much to talk about : approaching clients with dementia, understanding their emotions, dealings with their feeling and staying open-minded.
One of the main takeaways for me is that you might think we are listening but maybe you are not fully listening. We can listen on two levels. Be an active listener and don’t interrupt. If people are ranting, let them rant. Hold back. You could respond with ‘I am sorry to hear that.’ Paraphrase to clarify or confirm that you hear what they are saying e.g. ‘what do you mean ?’ Perhaps they don’t want a plan, they might just want someone to listen.
I also learnt how to keep boundaries. As a carer, it is very important I don’t get dragged into other peoples’ problems e.g. with the extended family. Carers have to protect themselves. We can be caring and diplomatic at the same time.
Would you recommend this course to others?
100%! I think we should all do a communications course every few years. It is never time wasted. Working as a carer is about dealing with people, so communications is so important.
I minded children for a while, and people with special needs. This course reminded me of some of those situations. We are dealing with the person, not their ailment. We must be empathetic to the person, not just see them as dementia patients. They are a person, with dementia.
Final Words ?
This course really pulled me up, even with my own family. Am I really listening to them ? or am I ready to jump in with my own thoughts when I talk to my daughter for example ?’”
Thank-you Elizabeth. Wise words that we can all learn from!
QQI in Communications
For anyone inspired by Elizabeth’s comments on the importance of communications, please note that Private HomeCare’s next course on this topic takes place on Wednesday 22nd, Thursday 23rd, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th November 2023.
The learners are assessed using the following methods. portfolio/collection of work 50% and skills demonstration 50%.
The course outline is:
The aim of the communication course is to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill, and competence to communicate verbally and non-verbally in standard and in everyday tasks in work related operating independently while under general direction.