2.1 Caregiving Skills
The objective is to train the professional caregiver, who may visit a person in their own home or work in a care home setting, or day care centre. This person supports and takes care of the person living with dementia, also helping to support and promote their autonomy and psycho-physical well-being according to the needs of that person.
After completing this topic, you will:
- Acquire the basic knowledge in order to carry out the daily care activities for the person in need.
- Deliver improved quality of own life and of the life of the person who is being cared for
- Relate with family members, if involved, interfacing with them in case of clarification or need.
- Manage correct communication with the patient
- Acquire the knowledge and skills relating to personal hygiene, movement and the former
- Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for the use of appliances and aids in use
This topic responds to the needs and skills of the socio-economic context characterising the regional territory, specifically given changes such as the ageing of the population, increased decrease in social spending, outsourcing of services by the Public Services, erosion of the levels of dementia and the length of time people live with dementia, family contribution to the ” direct assistance of relatives, and to the changed needs in the field of social assistance such as rapidly changing family network.
Caregiving Skills can be classified in two main categories: soft skills and technical skills related to the care of the person living with dementia.
Person-centred care is a prerequisite for developing an adequate care culture. Therefore, a competent caregiver for good patient care management must understand and deliver this with the person forefront in their mind.
It is essential that the caregiver stimulates the elderly or dementia sufferer in activities that make them feel active and useful; in making them maintain their autonomy and self-esteem; ensure that the sight and hearing of the elderly are efficient and effective (with or without aids).
Some of these skills are listed below and are learnt throughout the course.
- Prepare and administer meals, paying attention to the diet (if indicated by the doctor), the characteristics of the person taken in charge and respect for their habits.
- Tidy up and clean the person’s living environment and provide personal hygiene
- Detect and analyse the personal characteristics and needs of the person living with dementia, to guide the assistance activity and create a good relational climate with the direct beneficiary (and also visiting family members).
- Promote socialisation and promote the maintenance of autonomy (e.g. going out, keeping the person company, listening, talking, watching TV, reading), starting from the preferences of the person with dementia.
- Soft skills:
Creativity, Keen observation, Empathy, Thick skin, Stress management, Problem solving, Assertiveness, Communication, Patience and Being power to empower and motivate. These are the most important skills that a caregiver must have when working with both elderly people and those with dementia.
- Technical skills related to the care of the person:
Identify the underlying needs. These needs are essentially attributable to the care, hygiene and movement of the assisted person. In addition, the assistance is also aimed at preparing and administering meals and promoting the realisation of the social life of the person living with dementia.
- Technical skills also in relation to the care of the environment of the dementia sufferer:
Carry out basic domestic activities and maintain the hygiene and safety conditions of the spaces used. These activities now require greater attention also to protect the person from other viruses and bacteria, such as the situation generated by the spread of Covid19.
- It is important that the caregiver understands the basic needs of the person with dementia and the basic care that is required
- These basic skills include personal care and domestic care
- Understanding ‘person centred-care’ is essential (see topic 4)
- Kristina M. Kokorelias, Rachelle Ashcroft, How Dementia Caregivers Make Health Service Decisions: A Scoping Review and Implications for Grounded Theory Studies, SAGE Open, 10.1177/2158244020914396, 10, 1, (215824402091439), (2020).
- Nicola Diviani, Claudia Zanini, Rebecca Jaks, Mirjam Brach, Armin Gemperli, Sara Rubinelli, Information seeking behavior and perceived health literacy of family caregivers of persons living with a chronic condition. The case of spinal cord injury in Switzerland, Patient Education and Counseling, 10.1016/j.pec.2020.02.024, (2020).