Health and Social Care
What is the Most Difficult Part of Care Work? 20 Difficult Parts of Care Work!
To be honest, no single part of care work is difficult. Rather it’s a collection of various issues. Care workers face a myriad of challenges in their field. Sometimes new ones emerge on a regular basis.
Today, we’re going to discuss some of the most common ones that you can expect to face if you’re working as a care worker.
Table of Content
- Why is Care Work Difficult?
- Top 20 Difficult Parts of Care Work
- 1. The Service User’s Uncooperation
- 2. Managing Transport
- 3. Time Management
- 4. Communicating with External Healthcare Providers
- 5. Dealing with the Health Decline of a Service User
- 6. Breaking the News of the Death of a Loved One
- 7. Remaining Unphased by the Emotional Rollercoaster
- 8. Being Alert All the Time
- 9. Not Panicking
- How to become health and social care professional?
- 10. Patients Who Have No One
- 11. Bodily Fluids
- 12. Falling or Stumbling
- 13. Judgmental Remarks About Your Occupation
- 14. Lack of Respect From Your Peers
- 15. Hospital Politics
- 16. Coping With Your Own Bodily Fluids
- 17. Outdated Technology
- 18. Patient’s Families Acting as the Expert
- 19. The Pressure to Know Everything
- 20. Drug-addicted or Vulnerable Patients
- Challenges Faced by Carers
- What Motivates You to Work in Care?
Why is Care Work Difficult?
In the United Kingdom, an estimated 1.6 million social care and support professionals work directly with vulnerable individuals or groups such as:
- The disabled
- The older people
- Those living in poverty
- Those suffering from addiction
Providing physical, mental, and social assistance in this way is a demanding, time-consuming activity. It can be emotionally draining, even in less stressful circumstances. But, how can you, as a care worker in a team, ensure continuity of care provided?
The Covid-19 crisis has brought to attention the unstable nature of care and support workers’ jobs even more.
According to statistics, social workers are twice as likely as the general population to die from coronavirus. Stress levels are also affected by a lack of access to testing, PPE shortages, and care home clusters. So it’s no surprise that professionals in the field are warning about mental fatigue, tiredness, and even PTSD.
As such, we looked into care workers about the incredible and unprecedented emotional challenges they face and how they manage to care for themselves and others. Here are the top 20 difficult parts of care work.
Top 20 Difficult Parts of Care Work
1. The Service User’s Uncooperation
Some service users are new to home care or assisted living. As such, they may be less accepting of you as a caregiver. It mostly happens in the cases where the person fears losing their independence.
So it’s best if they are reassured. The best course of action here is finding methods to accommodate their preferences around your own care responsibilities.
Building and maintaining trust is an essential element of your job as a care worker. If you can establish and maintain a positive relationship with the service user, fulfilling your responsibilities will be simpler while ensuring personal happiness.
It is critical to remain calm and relaxed in the face of a service user’s resistance to your care. It’s a problem that has a solution. So, don’t feel disappointed if such things happen. Remember, finding solutions to these issues are an opportunity to solidify your role and obligations as a caregiver.
1. Sit down and talk with the person under your care.
2. Asking them directly how you can assist them with their needs,
3. People are considerably more inclined to cooperate if you actively express your support and concern for their well-being.
2. Managing Transport
Many care worker jobs specify that you must be able to drive in order to be eligible for the position. For example, having your own method of transportation might make the task much more manageable. It’s a direct result of you being able to manage your own journey instead of relying on public transport.
If you cannot drive, though, you may be able to work as a caretaker. But, as you can guess, it will be more difficult.
It is your obligation to be able to attend to your calls. The best advice is to organise your days ahead of time so that you may plan your route between each care visit and obtain the necessary transportation.
You may be able to walk between calls depending on the location of the service users and the accessibility of the region.
Regardless of how you intend to travel between appointments, you must calculate how long it will take so that you can arrive on time. You should also take into consideration any periods of severe traffic.
3. Time Management
As a caregiver, you must be able to manage your time effectively. You may have to schedule your time so that you can go to all of the mandatory care visits in a single day.
Because of the nature of the job, your working schedule is unlikely to be consistent from 9 to 5. So check out some of the jobs in your field in Indeed to get an idea of the shifts.
Many service users will require assistance at various times throughout the day. So, by the end of a shift, it’s very likely that you’ll be mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.
You may be required to:
- Work longer shifts
- Irregular hours
- On weekends
So, keep these things in mind before accepting a position. However, if you don’t, as a result, you’ll find it challenging to balance personal duties with work.
You are more likely to be successful and satisfied as a care worker if you plan ahead of time and find the right balance between your professional and personal life.
4. Communicating with External Healthcare Providers
As a care worker, you will be seeing service users frequently. Consequently, you may be the first to notice changes in their health or conditions.
If this is the case, you’ll be in charge of talking with both internal and external health care providers, such as nurses, doctors, and social workers.
In these cases, it’s vital to know who to contact. You may not need to speak with external healthcare teams directly. But, you have to report effectively and adequately to your care agency or employer. They will then take the responsibility of communicating with the necessary people.
To be fully prepared, you should be aware of the protocol for these events from day one of your employment.
5. Dealing with the Health Decline of a Service User
We naturally build a good relationship with the people we are helping. So, it’s not uncommon to have a strong bond with the service user you’re caring for.
As such, it may be saddening to see their health suddenly deteriorate, especially in the case of older people or terminally ill. So it’s understandably challenging to cope with these situations.
What’s more concerning is that it may interfere with your other responsibilities as a caregiver. The only way to avoid such a situation is by finding the correct combination of compassion and professionalism. If you sufficiently prepare for these unexpected developments, your mental state will remain unphased.
This will help you be useful to the other patients that may need your attention. Otherwise, you risk being mentally unavailable to them.
6. Breaking the News of the Death of a Loved One
Death is news no one can cope well with, regardless of who you are. Accordingly, the person responsible for delivering this message faces a massive dilemma.
How can we deliver this message to possibly make it any more bearable?
So, undoubtedly, one of the most challenging aspects of working at a care home is having to inform a family member that their loved one has passed away. Anything you say may possibly come across as insensitive or impersonal.
This is why a care worker should maintain professionalism in this instance.
It’s a part of the job. We cannot change the course of the nature of our lives. If death comes, there is really no escape from it. All we can do is remain calm and sympathetic while doing our best to answer all of the family’s queries.
7. Remaining Unphased by the Emotional Rollercoaster
Consider the above point. Now consider cheerfully saying “Good luck” to someone who has just recovered from a severe condition and is now leaving your care.
Thus, one of the most challenging aspects of a care assistant’s job is the capacity to change their moods at an instance. This ability may be advantageous for you as a care worker, but it can be emotionally taxing at times.
8. Being Alert All the Time
Care workers need to be vigilant all the time. That is the nature of their profession. But, this also can be emotionally taxing at times.
Moreover, maintaining a person’s dignity and freedom is a crucial component of a care assistant’s job.
For that reason, you must be aware of anything that could have an impact on it. You also have to have the mindset to be able to react quickly to correct it.
Being that alert all of the time is difficult, but it’s all part of the job.
9. Not Panicking
One other major thing that can impact your ability to work is a panic attack. Care workers regularly face situations where any other person can easily panic and make the issue worse.
But, that cannot be the case for a care worker. You have to remain calm and maintain professionalism. So you have to be the person who can handle the emotional stress of these situations.
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10. Patients Who Have No One
We are social beings. So regular human contact is essential for us to avoid loneliness. If a patient has no one to fulfil that role, caretakers take the responsibility of filling that role.
It’s not that the patient’s family members are being uncooperative is the only case here. If they live too far away to visit on a regular basis, their absence is totally understandable. But the care of the patient must go on unhindered regardless.
So, you’ll be all they have at times. Take it as both a great honour and a terrible responsibility.
11. Bodily Fluids
Nobody wants to think about getting old. But it happens regardless. Control over our bodily fluids deteriorates naturally as we get older. It can also occur in the case of a young person facing a condition that renders them unable to control their body.
As a care worker, you’re in charge of keeping patients’ dignity in a position.
12. Falling or Stumbling
It may come as a surprise that people who work in care homes regularly witness patients falling or stumbling.
Over 40% of older people residents who fall over in a care home environment will be uninjured. But in many homes, the policy is to call an ambulance automatically, even if the resident is uninjured.
However, sometimes injuries do occur. Remember that if you’ve done everything under your control for your patients’ safety, accidents like these do still happen. Don’t feel guilty.
Nonetheless, you can implement safety measures that can prevent such incidents in the future. An example of this is if a person insists that they can go to the washroom themselves, but you fear that they may fall on the way, simply accompany them along the way. If you show them compassion and keep them jolly along the way, they may not even feel invaded and like the gesture of your care.
13. Judgmental Remarks About Your Occupation
Not all care workers do not intend to advance to a medical school eventually. There are a variety of care workers across many medical fields. People do not always comprehend the complexity of your nature or why you’re not “a doctor”.
Remember, people’s judgements will not bring any good for you. You’ll eventually find appreciation among the peers of your fields and your loved ones. So don’t be embarrassed by a random person’s random unthoughtful remark. Remain professional. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
If you’re not, for say,
- Your salary
- Working environment
- Your passion not being there
Then take the initiative to change your circumstances.
14. Lack of Respect From Your Peers
It may not just be outsiders that may prove unthoughtful. Even patients and sometimes even physicians can come across as inconsiderate. It may range from verbal to even physical abuse.
Be ready to face and tolerate such situations. But also learn to draw the limits. If situations get out of hand or to such an extent that it is not tolerable, don’t even hesitate to take preventive measures. You’re a professional, after all. But nobody is asking you to bear more than you can carry.
But, you should report any physical abuse to your superiors. If you consider that someone’s verbal abuse is unprofessional, keep a record of this too and report to your supervisors.
15. Hospital Politics
One of the unfortunate aspects of being a social worker is facing hospital politics. We all understand that healthcare should not be for profit. However, you may encounter situations where you are an unwilling part of a team where such unethical practices are common.
An example of this is, say; you are a nurse. Some hospitals treat nurses as an undesirable expenditure rather than necessary frontline care providers.
As such, you have to remain professional and continue your work, so your patients are unaffected by your mental status. While doing this, look for new workplaces where the culture is much more healthy, and your work is appreciated.
16. Coping With Your Own Bodily Fluids
Aside from the busy shifts, you may find yourself in a situation where even taking a bathroom break may prove dangerous, let alone a snack break. This is especially true if you’re assisting a physician in the operation theatre. These are serious procedures that need the utmost attention and presence of everyone concerned.
The only thing to do here is to prepare yourself for such incidents sufficiently. Also, if the procedure is lengthy, consider when you’ll have a few minutes for a break or even to grab a quick snack or something.
17. Outdated Technology
It is frustrating when care places use outdated technology or slow computers where simple data inputs may take longer than necessary. Time is an essential resource for care workers. Having to spend it doing nothing, staring at a machine or using outdated systems can be annoying. The time you spend here is the time spent away from patients.
Nonetheless, there is nothing you can do for the time being except for being patient.
Remember to report your concerns to your superiors so that they can take the initiatives to update their systems. They may not be aware of the problems that you’re facing.
18. Patient’s Families Acting as the Expert
As a care worker, you’ll frequently face situations where the patient’s families try to dictate your work. Do not comply in such cases.
But be sympathetic to them as they’re only acting such because they don’t want any discomfort for their loved one. So, despite that, be sure to remind them that you’re the expert in the room and you know what you’re doing. Most of the time, they’ll leave you alone to carry out your responsibility.
If they are still being difficult, bring the situation under your superior’s eye.
19. The Pressure to Know Everything
This brings us to our next point: you’re not omnipotent. When working in the care industry, you may face situations where you’re expected to answer all concerns.
Care workers only know as their knowledge allows them to. It’s not wrong to not have all the answers. But you still have to phrase your responses in such a way that the patient’s loved ones are informed that you’re doing all that you can.
20. Drug-addicted or Vulnerable Patients
One of the most challenging people to work with is drug-addicted individuals and vulnerable people like those facing physical disabilities or mental health issues.
What is the most challenging part of working with persons with disabilities?
It’s the uncertainty. Most of the time, anything can go wrong with these patients. So you have to be ready to cope with such patients and know the proper procedures that will bring comfort back into their lives.
If you’re not ready, ask your organisation for training where you’ll learn to deal with such patients.
When you know the odds, you should know the fun part of the job too. Click here and recognise the most enjoyable part of care work.
Challenges Faced by Carers
So, the 20 points we described above are among the most challenging challenges caregivers face. However, your challenges are, by no means, limited to these points. There are plenty of other issues, some of which will overlap our points described above. For example:
- Receiving limited training
- A stark lack of mentoring and supervision
- Personal safety
This is why you always have to have the mental preparedness to face any challenges that come your way and find intelligent solutions to them.
You also need to constantly update yourself with the newly introduced principles and legislation regarding health and social care. It effectively means that you have to work towards your professional development. Our Health and Social Care course is an excellent choice in that regard as it will award you a CPD accredited certificate. It will help you work towards your career development, keeping a track record of it along the way.
One other thing that you also need to keep a keen eye on is the duty of care in your sector. You need to take it very seriously. Take our Duty of Care in your sector so that you can be heedful of the things that are under your responsibility. Otherwise, you can be accused of negligence of your duty if anything goes wrong.
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What Motivates You to Work in Care?
It’s difficult to answer the question “What is the most enjoyable part of care work?” or “What motivates you to work in care” and continue their work.
It is true that care work is gratifying in the sense that care workers like nurses and social care workers make a pretty comfortable living.
But, intrinsic benefits, that is, the innate happiness that they feel, appear to inspire them more than external rewards. They appreciate their profession, and they are socially motivated to help others.
It is admirable that people continue to perform their work, whether it is out of a desire to help others or merely to make a decent living. However, it is advisable that you find a passion for helping people rather than making a penny if you intend to work in care. It will help you in the long run from feeling burned out.
Challenges appear in every profession. It’s the same with the healthcare sector. It has its own set of difficulties and challenges. However, we also have to keep in mind that it also comes with its own sets of perks as well. Otherwise, nobody would have wanted to be in this industry.
But if the question arises, “what is the most difficult part of care work?” the answer would be: There are many. In fact, learning to face these difficulties is the main challenge. Once you develop sufficient professional literacy regarding your daily work, these difficulties will not be that bothersome at all but rather a part of the nature of your profession.
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- Why do You Want to be a Carer – Top 20 Questions and Answers