Home means different things to different people.  It is where you belong, should feel most comfortable have the liberty to move around freely (dressed or undressed), it is a place of memories and has your ‘things’.  Your home also plays to the senses with smells, looks, textures and sounds.

Many Direct Care staff spend their days going into and out of other people’s homes – in home nurses, personal care staff, cleaners, personal shoppers, companions, therapists.  Others work full time in group home situations – disability services, aged care homes and nursing homes.

Direct Care staff are valued because of the role and assistance they provide. This value and personal rapport can erode if the balance and feel of the home is changed.  For many receiving in home nursing the home can turn into a medical space with all the equipment that is left there. Privacy can become an issue for the client but also others living in the home.

In group home situations the balance between the work place and the home can be difficult as often showering routines, meals, décor, smells, sights, freedom of movement are imposed by the organisation.

So how do we prevent conflict between the home environment and the workplace?  There are a few easy tips that you can consider.

  1. Respect the person’s home and their belongings.  This means not moving things around or criticising their colour scheme or art
  2. If you are leaving equipment ask the person where they would like it kept. You may also consider having a tub, in a colour they chose, for each client that keeps everything together
  3. Always knock before entering and wait for an acknowledgement. Ask if the client wants you to then let yourself in or wait till they open the door.  It is a privilege to enter someone else’s home and waiting to be invited in is courteous
  4. Acknowledge other people in the house, at a minimum introduce yourself and say hello.  For some family members it is a good to have a professional in the home to relief them from the constant vigilance of having to care for somebody
  5. Think about where you will park. Family may take your visit as an opportunity to go out and buy a coffee. You can’t always interrupt your work to move your car
  6. Be respectful; put the rubbish created in the bin, but your dirty cup in the sink.  Leave the home as you found it. Of course if you are cleaning, leave it cleaner!
  7. Ask if you need to take your shoes of at the door
  8. Take your coat off.  If it is too cold discuss this with the client, then if you have to put your coat back on they understand why
  9. Be careful about phone calls.  Not just yours but also the clients. Privacy is an issue and whilst you may not be able to avoid hearing a conversation you don’t have to acknowledge or comment on it
  10. Often caseloads and driving from one home to another can cause you to miss a meal or a break. Talk to the client about this as you are likely to be more stressed than usual and they can help by letting you finish quicker, offering you a coffee

Workplace safety is something you should always be aware of.  Initial screening often addresses things such as vaccinations, pets and stairs. When you are working in someone’s home your safety becomes your responsibility. Be aware of personal safety, potential slips, trips or falls, physical set up, and mental health conditions from being isolated and disconnected. Constantly driving and carry equipment can also be areas of concern.

If you have concerns talk to your employer. You can also talk to the client who may have some ideas that will help e.g. storage in the home, moving furniture around, where to unload the car.

Would you like to improve the standards of care (and reduce HR issues) within your organisation?

If you’d like to improve the standards of care and reduce frustrating HR issues within your organisation, your frontline care team will benefit from our popular ‘Providing Direct Care The Successful Way’ workshop.

The workshop gives your direct care team members the practical skills, tools, and confidence to:

  • Provide warm and compassionate care to every client, even under immense pressure
  • Balance the competing needs of both their employer (that’s you) and their clients
  • Adapt and thrive in changing and/or stressful work environments
  • Be mindful of personal resilience levels
  • And much more

Click here to learn more about our Health and Direct Care workshops.