Home care professionals provide a truly valuable service fulfilling home carer jobs, ensuring that families and people in their local communities have the help and support they need to remain in their own homes. They also provide company and friendship, which can make a real difference to service users living alone and at risk of isolation.
One of the common issues we hear from care assistants joining our team is that they have previously had limited flexibility, which makes it tricky to decide whether to continue working in the profession or make the reluctant decision to move into an alternative career. Examples include home care agencies where care support workers have no confirmed hours or work for a local care company with a schedule that doesn’t work around the school run and other commitments.
Let us explain how our shift patterns work, why they benefit every party involved in home care, and how this model of flexibility and respect for personal time has been part of enabling Guardian Angel Carers to achieve remarkable staff retention rates that buck the nationwide trend.
Permanent vs Zero-Hours vs Shift-Based Home Care Jobs
As we’ve indicated, the job of a home carer is essential. Still, some of the conventional employment models used by care providers and agencies don’t slot in well for carers with busy lives and obligations outside of working hours.
- Wanting to work in care and have a rewarding career, but with the uncertainty of zero-hours or ad hoc work, without the stability of knowing they will earn the same pay each month or have sufficient hours to cover their living costs.
- Only being offered unsociable hours and overnight shifts – something that is particularly difficult for care workers with young families.
- Finding promising home care roles, but with fixed hours that make it impossible to account for any changes to their routine or to organise working times around ongoing commitments.
For decades, the norm has been to follow outdated models, such as ‘seven shifts on, seven shifts off’, but this doesn’t match the needs of care clients or the care assistants agencies depend on to deliver their services.
We believe that localised management and creating fantastic opportunities within home care careers is key to continuity and delivering the sustainable, high-quality care services our clients expect.
What Is the Benefit of Pre-Agreed Shift Structures?
Guardian Angel Carers employs hundreds of home care workers, support colleagues, coordinators and specialist care staff across our 16 Care Quality Commission registered territories in various locations. We know what works, what provides a positive solution for all, and how this feeds into better outcomes for our service users.
While each Registered Manager in each of our locations employs home care workers in a variety of ways, from part-time and full-time to weekend or morning-only shifts, each job comes with the assurance of certainty and a transparent, two-way dialogue to ensure any agreed working structure is sustainable.
It’s also essential we consider the needs and preferences of the clients who depend on care to lead independent lives – and why having a different carer at every visit and the lack of reassurance that personal care support, medication reminders and well-being checks will be delivered by someone they trust can be detrimental.
As an example, we look to provide care that meets all needs, with early bird care that helps with morning wake-up calls and visiting care, providing care recipients with support, friendship and practical help to ensure they start their day the right way – and making it far easier for many home care workers who cannot accommodate an inflexible 9-5 working day.
Other jobs include evening care, usually from 5 pm until 10 pm. Splitting shifts in this way means carers can work as much or as little as they would like and never need to compromise on other priorities to continue fulfilling their role within the community.
Creating Flexible Career Paths for Home Carers
Rather than always needing to work overnight shifts or long, extended shift patterns, our CareAngels can chat with their care coordinator about the working times they can offer and how this might suit the rostering and planning each Guardian Angel Carers branch manages.
The vast majority of our home care staff are in either part-time or full-time roles and have opportunities for personal growth, further education and professional training, with remuneration packages that reward success and help our carers enhance their skills and progress toward their full potential.
From a care recipient perspective, the benefits are profound:
- Each care client can get to know their care assistant or a small group of care staff and relax with the assurance that their needs will be met with respect, dignity and kindness.
- A home carer can build a rapport with individuals, partners and family caregivers, understanding each person’s likes, dislikes and preferences so they can adapt their care accordingly.
- Having a set routine provides continuity for all, without any concerns that a care support worker will suddenly find themselves without any shifts or that a care client will worry about needing to invite someone they have never met into their home.
We realise that some home care workers prefer more variable shifts, and many territories keep a database of ‘bank’ staff. These care assistants have the appropriate training and qualifications to provide person-first care. They can be asked to cover shifts or urgent requirements on demand, including staff holidays and illnesses.
However, for the most part, we find that an open approach to ensure care assistants feel supported and secure in their home carer jobs and that care recipients have access to a warm, familiar carer coming to help in their homes is hugely beneficial – and far more successful than conventional home care models which have proven to be unsuitable in the modern working environment.