A good care home will have several different types of employees; from the front of house staff who greet you at reception, to all the people who keep the home running behind the scenes.
Some roles don’t require qualifications, whereas to be a nurse or healthcare professional in a care home, you will have to undergo specialised training.
So, whether you’re interested in working in a care home in the future, or you’d simply like to find out more about who works in a care home and the types of roles typically found, read on for our handy guide to care home employees…
The type of employee you’ll likely be most familiar with are the direct care employees; in short, the staff members who provide personal care to residents. Direct care employees interact with residents on a daily basis and may be called upon to assist with tasks such as washing, dressing, administering medication, listening to problems or complaints, engaging residents in games and activities and offering therapy.
The care team often work with a trainer or training team to ensure they stay up to date with the latest care methods and techniques. There are lots of different roles within direct care, so let’s take a closer look at a couple of the more common ones.
Nurses, registered nurses or RNs tend to deliver the majority of medical care in a care home; especially in nursing homes.
It is the nurses’ responsibility to assess residents’ individual needs and create a personalised care package for each one, monitoring and assessing the health and care of residents and adjusting plans to account for a new treatment or medical requirements. RNs have nursing degrees and usually between two to six years of nursing education.
Residential care is a 24-hour, 365 day a year service, so hours can be long. Shifts may include evening and weekend work and, depending on your level, on-call duties in the event of an emergency. Depending on the care home you work at, you may provide respite care, post-surgical and rehabilitation care, palliative or end of life care.
Care workers can work in a care home, visit people’s homes, or in the local community. Care workers are sometimes referred to as domiciliary carers.
As well as helping to care for the elderly, care workers might also work with people with other care needs, including those with a physical disability, learning disabilities or mental health conditions. Similarly to nursing staff, care workers usually support people with social and physical activities, such as personal care, helping with medication and taking them to appointments.
People working in social care need good English and number skills, as well as people skills, listening and communication skills. You don’t necessarily need qualifications to become a care worker, but an employer may ask for GCSEs in English and Maths, or a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care.
The role of a care home manager is an extremely important one; you are effectively the face of the care home and will be responsible for all aspects of its day-to-day operations; from recruiting, managing and training staff, to finance tasks like budgeting, assessing the quality of the care services you provide and answering questions from and giving information and advice to potential residents, existing residents and their family members – to name but a few!
Larger care homes may even have several types of managers, including first-line managers, middle managers and senior managers.
Care home managers dedicate a portion of their time to paperwork and admin duties but are also expected to visit carers and residents in the home and spend time with visitors and relatives.
Good English, number and digital skills are needed to be a care home manager, as well as leadership and problem-solving skills and a positive attitude. You may also be required to have a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care.
In large care homes, you might spot a deputy manager as well as the main care home manager. Deputy managers, also known as team managers or team leaders, are responsible for supporting the senior manager in leading the care team, covering absences, undertaking care assessments and assisting with recruitment.
Life in a care home doesn’t have to be dull! Lots of care homes have a dedicated activities team who organise fun events, social activities, experiences and day trips for residents. Activities coordinators also spend time talking to residents about the type of activity they’d like to do; whether that’s a favourite hobby or something they’ve always wanted to try.
Activities programmes are then tailored to the needs and abilities of participants. Activities teams are also in charge of booking visiting entertainers, organising transport for day trips and checking accessibility for excursions. You don’t necessarily need qualifications to become an activities coordinator aside from basic GCSEs, but volunteering and work experience may be valuable.
Working in tandem with the activities staff, some care homes employ a personal driver or transport manager to take residents to shops, doctor’s appointments or nearby eateries and collect them again, as well as day trips and excursions.
Everyone needs to eat and care home residents are no exception. Catering staff work tirelessly to serve nutritionally balanced and tasty meals three times a day, as well as snacks and hot drinks.
Residents may have specific dietary requirements that need catering to, such as kosher, halal, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and diabetic. Kitchen assistants help the cook to check stock, order supplies and keep up a high standard of hygiene in the kitchens.
Housekeeping and cleaning staff keep care homes looking tidy, clean and fresh. Day-to-day tasks include laundry, making beds and sweeping, mopping and dusting bedrooms and communal areas.
Care homes and nursing homes usually have a registered dietician who works part time, full time or on a consultancy basis.
Diet is incredibly important for elderly people, especially those who may have specific dietary requirements and health needs. The registered dietician will work with the care home to assess residents’ needs, adjust diet plans and make recommendations to the catering staff.
Other healthcare professionals you might find working in, or affiliated with, a care home include occupational therapists, to assist residents with physical, mental or social disabilities, counsellors, osteopaths and physios to look after physical aches and pains and opticians and dentists to look after residents’ teeth and eyes.
To become an occupational therapist, you’ll need a degree from – and to be registered with – the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
A care home can’t function properly if it isn’t well-maintained – and the larger the care home, the more maintenance it needs. Gardeners, builders, plumbers, electricians and technicians might all be hired to help fix problems in the care home, tend to the grounds and ensure the building is safe and hazard-free.
Although there are several staff members who residents and visitors won’t see on a daily basis; these people still have a vital part to play in the successful running of a care home. Human resources, accounting, market and custodial services are all important roles within a care home and keep it ticking along.
So you see, care homes are a real hive of activity, with numerous staff members working together to create the best possible experience for residents. If you’re starting your care home search, don’t be afraid to talk to the staff at the care homes you visit – they’ll often give you a good indication of whether it will be a good fit or not! For more information on care home, get in touch or take a look at our Care FAQs.
Read this for Covid regulations for care home staff: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/everyone-working-in-care-homes-to-be-fully-vaccinated-under-new-law-to-protect-residents