Transitioning From a Home Care to a Care Home Role

Transitioning From a Home Care to a Care Home Role

Social care comes in a diverse range of forms.

Home carers provide an invaluable service, helping people live independently and safely in their own homes.

Often, the transition of a client into a residential care home might be because:

  • The person is unwell and needs increased help.
  • Funding for a home carer is unavailable.
  • Family members are unable to continue providing for their needs.
  • They cannot cope with time alone and need around-the-clock support.

While there is a lot of advice out there for individuals and families looking at that transition – it can be just as fundamental for social care professionals.

Here we explain the contrasts and similarities between working in a home care position to a care home role, so you know what to expect.

Comparing Home Care to Care Homes as a Social Carer Career Option

While the setting is different, there are other contrasts between supporting people in their own homes and working in a permanent care home facility.

A home carer might work full time with one patient or may visit several people each day.

Typical tasks include:

  • Visiting people regularly, usually with a set schedule.
  • Providing personal care with washing and mobility.
  • Helping with cooking meals, cleaning and shopping.

Home support is typically suited to older adults who have a degree of self-sufficiency but need extra help with some tasks.

That might be due to mobility limitations or needing additional assistance with day-to-day chores.

Care homes can provide very similar services, but depending on whether it is a nursing home, they may also have registered nurses on staff to provide medical support.

One of the notable advantages of a residential care home is that every aspect of care is taken care of, comforting families anxious about potential falls, fire hazards, or lack of social interactions.

Assisted living is an option that lies somewhere between the two. This housing type offers private accommodation, but with on-site care professionals available to provide mid-level support.

What Will Change If I Move from one role to the other?

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of both job options.

The most meaningful transition for many social care workers is moving from working autonomously and travelling daily to being in one fixed location working alongside a team.

Pros of choosing a home care placement include:

  • The opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients and meet lots of new people.
  • Working in a beneficial role helping people live on their terms and enjoy life in an independent home with your support to make that possible.
  • Discretion, with most home care staff managing a workload, allocating their time, making independent decisions, and then reporting any concerns or care needs back to their team.

In short, home care is similar to a care home role but working on an outreach basis.

The advantages of deciding to work in a care home facility are a bit different:

  • On the job training can be an excellent way to improve your skills. Care home assistants can often work towards degree-level qualifications.
  • Each day is different. There are usually various social activities and events, so you might find yourself attending a dance class, learning to paint, or joining in with games might.
  • Shifts can be flexible, with part-time work, night shifts, full-time placements and occasional shift cover.

The biggest positive about opting for the transition to a care home is that you will be part of a bigger team on-site at the same time.

Although they work in a devolved structure, home care professionals have managers and teams reporting back and receiving assignments from a central coordinator.

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Managing Care Career Transitions

If you’re concerned about how your workday will change, it’s a great idea to ask for an induction day or shadow a colleague to see how the typical shift works.

Home care may seem more flexible but can typically mean needing to help a person attend regular appointments or be structured around specific visit times on certain days of the week.

There is also a great deal more travelling. While home care staff will usually claim a travel expenses budget, care home jobs can be easier to manage if you need to travel significant distances between patients or live somewhere where public transport is unreliable.

A lot depends on how you like to work. Some social care workers love to be independent and the freedom of travelling between homes.

Others prefer the stability of working in one place and having colleagues to fall back on if they need advice or enjoy the social aspect of working with a team.

There is a downside to home care in that the role may involve a lot more paperwork than you’d imagine.

For example, every patient will need a care plan, assessments, and structured care, usually produced by the local community nursing service. Home care professionals still need to prepare records and account for the time to ensure their patients receive appropriate support.

In a care home, that same record-keeping is essential but is usually on a rolling basis, and you wouldn’t be solely responsible for keeping documentation up to date.

Transitions can be tricky, but they can also be an excellent opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in a new experience.

When is the Right Time to Make a Social Work Career Change?

With so many transferable skills between social care jobs, it’s highly likely that if you’re an experienced home carer, you will slot in perfectly in any care home establishment.

The best time to make a change is when:

  • You feel jaded or tired and sense that a change of scenery would reinvigorate your passion for care.
  • It’s time to expand your skills, study for a new qualification, or branch out to increase the diversity of experience on your CV.
  • Circumstances change, and you need to have more reliable shift patterns and working hours.

If you’re interested in exploring care home or home care vacancies, do check out the Outt.com recruitment portal.

We offer flexible yet reliable employment for social care professionals with at least six months of career experience, with outstanding payroll benefits and hourly pay rates far above the national standards.

How to Survive Family Life Around Shift Work

How to Survive Family Life Around Shift Work

Shift work is part and parcel of working in social care or healthcare – and there are many pros and cons to be aware of.

The team at Outt.com champions care worker flexibility, allowing every candidate freedom of choice over which shifts they’d like (and which they wouldn’t!). However, even with your ideal shift pattern, it can take some serious juggling to make sure you’re making time for family life, and of course, yourself.

Here we’ll explore a few ways to structure quality time around your shifts and to make the best of your holidays and days off.

The Pros and Cons of Social Care Shift Work

As we’ve mentioned, there are both advantages and disadvantages to working shifts, whether they are night shifts, bank holidays, long days, or weekends.

Benefits of Working Shifts:

  • Higher pay rates are available for shifts, especially nights or bank holidays.
  • Parents can schedule work around childcare and school runs.
  • Working outside of peak rush hour can make travelling faster, cheaper, and a lot less stressful.
  • Consecutive days off, usually with around three or four days following a batch of shifts – giving more time to spend at home than the typical two-day weekend.
  • Teamwork, with the ability to pass over ongoing tasks to the next shift at handover – rather than needing to work late or rush to meet a deadline before the office closes!
  • Better career advancement opportunities. Social care managers are always seeking experienced shift workers accustomed to this work format.
  • Flexibility, choosing shifts, switching between days and nights, or deciding which times of the year you’re happy to work less social shifts.

The Downside to Shift Work:

  • Many shifts are longer than the average eight-hour working day – often up to around 12 or 13 hours at a time, which takes a lot of energy and focus.
  • It can be challenging to spend time with a partner, spouse or friends if you are working when they are sleeping – or start work very early in the morning or finish late at night.
  • Sleep disruption can be harmful to physical and mental health.
  • Potential security issues, particularly if travelling alone on public transport in the early hours.
  • Pressure to cover shifts even if you’re not feeling up to it if there is a staff shortage and an urgent shift requirement.
  • Loneliness if you work in an isolated way and miss out on the rapport and camaraderie that makes work an enjoyable part of our lives.
  • Missing out on kids school events or sports days if your shifts coincide with these activities.

We can see that shift work requires a careful balance – to mitigate those potential pitfalls and take full advantages of all the benefits on offer!

Let’s look at how you can organise your shifts to ensure you still get the downtime you need and juggle work around valuable family time.

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Juggling Family Life and Social Care Shifts

First, we’d say that some shifts aren’t for everyone. You aren’t obliged to work nights if you find it very difficult to regulate your sleep, and working with Outt.com means you won’t ever be pressured to work on a family holiday if you have personal obligations that come first.

Next, it’s all about being organised and checking in now and then to ensure your shifts are still compatible with your lifestyle and personal wellbeing.

We recommend:

1. Making a big deal out of family time

Quality time, where everyone is engaged, is far more valuable than being disconnected.

When families are always together, it becomes the norm. If you’re working shifts, which means you spend more time away, make sure all electronics are turned off, and you organise activities that you will all enjoy doing together.

2. Taking care of your rest periods.

Shifts can be perfectly manageable when you’re rested, healthy and well – and cause no end of knock-on problems if you’re becoming run down. An exhausted parent isn’t a happy one, so this is crucial to family life and your health.

Get proper sleep, hydrate, eat well, use your lunch breaks, catch up with power naps, and make sure you have days off booked in so you can rest.

3. Prioritising your partner.

If it feels like you and your partner are like ships in the night, it can become problematic if you miss the companionship so vital to a successful relationship.

Making plans for a date night, booking days off together, and setting aside time to talk are essential to keeping your relationship alive.

4. Planning things to look forward to.

One of the plus points to working shifts is that you’ll usually have more time off on consecutive days. A great way to optimise that time is to schedule fun activities

That could be a family picnic or BBQ, visiting relatives, playdates or trips out – planning something the whole family can look forward to will ensure everybody recognises that you aren’t working 24/7 and that they remain of vital importance to you.

5. Sharing responsibilities.

A tricky part of working social care shifts is coping with all the demands of family life and childcare, usually with a minimal amount of time on those days when you’re working.

Here’s where teamwork matters. Things like batch cooking meals for quick dinners, sharing chores, asking older children to help out with simple tasks like feeding the dog, and having an understanding about what each person will contribute can all take away the pressure and make sure you’re all working as a team.

You can also look at things such as wrap-around school care, with breakfast or after school clubs, asking nearby friends or relatives to help out, or scheduling sleepovers, so the kids are always content and well, even if you’re catching up on some much-needed shut-eye.

The key is to ensure your shifts work for you, so you’re able to deliver great care, without causing damage to your family or personal life.

For any advice about managing shifts or to browse through social care shift work vacancies, please visit Outt.com.

Tips to Help Care Professionals Decompress After Challenging Situations

Tips to Help Care Professionals Decompress After Challenging Situations

There’s little doubt that some days working in social care can be a little intense! That might be dealing with a health setback of a patient, managing a mental health crisis, or coping with bereavements.

One of the best things about care work is that two days are rarely alike – but there are some shifts where you need to take a step back and consider your welfare.

Decompressing is crucial. It means you can manage your emotional health, express your feelings, and return to work without feeling overwhelmed.

Here we’ll provide some top tips to help care professionals to decompress after a challenging situation – and how to ensure you check in with your mental health when you feel like the burden on your shoulders is becoming too heavy.

Why Decompressing is Essential in Professional Social Care

First, let’s dispel a few myths. These are truths that experienced care workers will undoubtedly know but are always helpful to recap.

  • You can’t always help every person, every time. There can be situations outside of your skillset, which your expertise doesn’t cover, or where a person cannot be helped at that specific time. Don’t put yourself down if something didn’t go to plan or a patient wasn’t grateful for your best efforts.
  • We are all human. No matter the uniform you wear, or the qualifications you have, it is impossible never to feel touched or upset when a situation perhaps goes badly or a resident doesn’t respond well to a care plan. It is A-OK to feel sad, frustrated or disappointed.
  • Compartmentalising isn’t that simple. We’ve all heard of PTSD, and this condition is so prevalent because no person, in any role, can entirely shut off their work-life into one box. Your thoughts will always travel home with you, so you must give yourself the space to deal with them.
  • Not everybody will like you, and you can’t like everybody. So much of care work relies on excellent interpersonal skills and trust. There can be times where you don’t have a good rapport with a patient, and it isn’t a reflection on your character or how hard you tried.

It doesn’t matter what area of social care you work in; these facts will always have relevance.

Therefore, the team at OUTT.com feel it’s incredibly valuable to be conscious of the impact of challenging situations.

Ready to join OUTT?

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Decompression Techniques to help Care Professionals

Let’s look at a few strategies to shake it off, clear your head, and be ready to go again tomorrow.

1. Deep Breathing.

It’s an age-old tactic, and it works. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to breathe into a count of ten, hold the breath, and then release it to the same, slow count.

Calm, measured breathing is a fantastic way to centre yourself and let go of tension and stress.

2. Talk it Out.

Whether to your manager, a colleague, a partner, or a friend, you must air your concerns or talk about a problem, so you’re not dragging it around behind you.

No matter the situation, a nagging worry will always feel lighter when you’ve shared it. If you’re struggling, there are also professional counselling lines that provide an invaluable service.

3. Exercise and Fresh Air.

Jogging, walking, or a hardcore gym session are excellent ways to take your mind off the situation. Quite often, it’s a simple psyche reset that will help you free your headspace and feel like a new person.

Endorphins are powerful, and they’re free – and way healthier than a glass of wine or a big bar of chocolate if you’re feeling stressed!

4. Get a Decent Night’s Sleep.

There’s little like a great night’s sleep to feel more settled. We often make things feel more disastrous than they are, and anxieties are massively enhanced by exhaustion.

If you’re feeling like work is getting on top of you, it’s time to schedule some self-care, and sleep is the most potent remedy of all.

5. Switch Off – Completely!

When something challenging has happened to throw the working day off balance, it’s tempting to keep thinking about it or discussing it endlessly with colleagues long after the shift has ended.

For people who are serious about decompressing, turning off all of your electronics is a great way to give your brain a pause and stop digesting media or messages until you’ve had time to process your thoughts.

6. Read a Great Book.

Reading a book – an actual, live, physical book, not an e-reader – is another fantastic way to decompress. It transports you to another world, forces your brain to stop churning out repetitive thoughts, and is a distraction like no other.

7. Create Boundaries.

It might be that you’ve had one terrible day, but love your work the rest of the time. However, if you feel that you’re constantly teetering on the edge of burn out, it’s time to make a change.

The best way to do that is to keep a journal and work out what’s tipping you towards that cliff. It could be that you can’t manage night shifts, that you need to cut back on hours, find work closer to home, or decide to work in a specific social care niche.

Whatever boundaries you need are vital to protecting your wellbeing, and you should do everything possible to protect them.

8. Take a Break.

You may be dealing with a problematic ongoing situation. Perhaps a restructure is causing staff anxiety, or you have a particularly challenging patient with whom you’re finding it hard to engage.

Other causes of longer-term stress include lack of job security, concerns about redundancies, financial pressures, or the inability to put down roots and feel settled.

The first piece of advice we’d give in this scenario is to take some time off work. At least one full day, and ideally two or three back to back. Time off isn’t a bad thing and can do wonders if you need the opportunity to reassess your options, calm your nerves and cleanse your mind of all the day-to-day problems.

Secondly, we’d strongly suggest visiting OUTT.com to consider a different working pattern – with a wide choice of shifts, minimum hourly pay rates, full PAYE benefits, and the backing of a passionate time of skilled social care recruitment experts!

Whichever strategies you choose, it’s essential to recognise that decompressing will make a profound difference to how you deal with a challenging situation next time one comes along.

Being fresh, energetic and ready to engage is reliant on having great resilience – so finding a way to decompress is just as vital to your patients as it is to your own health.

The 10 Best Healthcare Professional Christmas Gift Ideas

The 10 Best Healthcare Professional Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year again, and Christmas 2021 is sure to be an occasion to be celebrated!

After our last festive season was damped down (if not cancelled altogether) by lockdown restrictions, we’re excited to exchange gifts and spend time with our loved ones this year.

Healthcare professionals have worked tirelessly over these past 12 months as we battle for a return to normality, and while the clapping at 8 pm is over, the shifts continue.

Following the OUTT.com guide to the Top 10 Social Care Worker Gifts in 2020, we’ve compiled recommendations from our dedicated healthcare colleagues to develop another bumper guide to the best Christmas gift ideas for this year!

1. Smart Coffee Mugs and Cup Warmers

Millions of healthcare workers cover night shifts and work unsociable hours when the canteen is closed and the coffee shop shuttered.

A smart mug keeps tea, coffee or a cheeky hot chocolate at the perfect temperature – so even if they’re called away in an emergency, they won’t return to an ice-cold cup!

2. Oversized Snuggle Hoodie

If you love someone who knows comfort is king, a huge, cuddly hoodie is a great present.

Oodies are a cult product, based on a 6XL size for universal cosy power – they’re available in a massive range of colours and designs. As a bonus, if you say that your Oodie is a gift, you get a free gift-wrap bow thrown in!

There are loads of similar products if that’s a little steep:

3. Gift Voucher for Afternoon Tea

Looking for the ideal gift for a busy healthcare professional who rarely has time to treat him or herself? An afternoon tea voucher is a universally excellent gift everyone can enjoy.

  • The Ivy offers an Afternoon Tea for Two voucher, and you can add some sparkly champagne for an added charge.
  • Virgin Experience Days has a Tea for Two gift in The Domes at the London Kensington Hilton (and lots of other offers for other areas!).
  • Buying for a friend that prefers home comforts? Perhaps go for a Luxury Afternoon Tea Gift Box by The Cherry Tree so that they can enjoy their treats at their leisure.

4. Heating Slippers

Slippers are a classic Christmas present – and they’re hugely appreciated by anyone who spends the bulk of their working day on their feet!

The Warmies Wellness Microwaveable Slippers come in one size, are suitable for UK three to seven feet, and are filled with soft wheat for ultimate relaxation.

Urban Outfitters have an adorable pair of Smoko Heated Dumpling Slippers, with a USB charger included.

CareCo sells a Comfi Foot Warmer, which fits up to men’s size 16, with a fluffy fleece lining that is machine washable.

5. Meal Kit Gift Subscription

We all try to eat healthily, but preparing fresh meals for the family on a long-awaited day off is a lot to ask!

A meal kit subscription means that even the busiest healthcare professionals can relax, knowing dinner is taken care of and all the ingredients are there to whip up something nutritious.

Some of the best options include Hello Fresh, Gousto or Mindful Chef.

Ready to join OUTT?

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6. Relaxing Weighted Blanket

A Gravity Blanket is ideal for care workers who find it tough to catch a quick snooze. Weighted blankets have proven to improve rest, reduce the stress hormone cortisol and help combat anxiety.

Try these options:

7. Soothing Bed Sheets

Another great sleep aid is a set of premium quality sheets – a luxury few of us choose to invest in for ourselves!

John Lewis has a great online tool to choose the right bed linen by thread count, fibre and weight.

Another fantastic option is Christy England, with classic linens of exceptional quality that make your regular bed feel like a sumptuous 5* hotel!

8. Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential oils are fantastic for mood-enhancing properties, and an elegant diffuser gift looks amazing in any home!

The Oliver Bonas Grey Essential Oil Diffuser comes in beautiful gift box packaging, or The White Company has a slick Electronic Diffuser,  with adjustable time settings.

If your favourite healthcare professional likes all things natural wood, have a look at the Oslo Aroma Diffuser from Bubble & Wick with an ultrasonic water vaporiser and seven ambient LED colours.

9. Pampering Spa Day

Ah, a spa day – what a great way to unwind! Pamper days aren’t just for females either; everyone will enjoy a relaxing swim, sauna, massage and Jacuzzi day.

Some of the popular spa day gifts are:

  • Buy a Gift: lots of spa day treats, including a treatment, and with a massive range of locations and add-ons.
  • Spa day vouchers from Hand Picked Hotels – you can choose whether to gift a monetary gift voucher, a specific treatment, or a full day out.

10. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you’ve ever tried to sleep during the day, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to switch off with daylight outside and chaos all around you!

Noise-cancelling headphones are a thoughtful gift and a great option for any healthcare professionals in your life who work nights or early shifts.

Try the gorgeous Miami over-ear headphones from Urbanista with free UK shipping.

Other options include smart little Samsung Galaxy Buds, with active noise cancellation technology or the QuietOn 2 Earbuds.

Hopefully, our recommendations for great healthcare professional Christmas gifts have inspired you to pick up the perfect present, and will make a big difference in showing how much you care.

Do you have any items on your wish list for 2021? Let us know if you have any great suggestions we should add to our list!

How Can I Choose a Mental Health Sector to Work In?

How Can I Choose a Mental Health Sector to Work In?

Working in mental health social care is a hugely diverse, flexible and ever-changing career choice! So much so that it can feel challenging to work out exactly where you slot in, or where your skills will bring the most significant benefit.

There is a vast range of roles and specialisms, ranging from outreach support to working in schools, residential facilities to eating disorder clinics or creative therapy, as a few examples.

You might also decide that you want to offer other support services, and you’ll find mental health care work roles throughout:

  • The charity sector.
  • Education
  • Criminal justice.
  • Health and nursing support.
  • Social care facilities.

A role in mental health care doesn’t have to be in a specific psychiatry unit or counselling service, either. For instance, you might work in care homes or provide home care services, working with people and their families coping with conditions such as dementia.

The best way to choose the right sector for you is to break down your aspirations, experience, qualifications and skills – and ultimately, select the job that feels right.

To help you narrow down your options, the OUTT.com team has put together this guide to steer you through the questions to identify your ideal role.

What Drives You to Work in the Mental Health Sector?

The first question to ask yourself is what your passion is. Many mental health social care professionals have been inspired by life experiences that mean they feel compelled to help others.

For example, that might be:

  • Experiences of caring for a family member or close friend struggling with a mental health condition.
  • Having dealt with a mental health condition yourself and supporting people using your real-life knowledge to help them find a way through.

There is no requirement to have personal experience in mental health care, but these are some illustrations of the driving force behind social care mental health professionals.

If there is a specific illness that you are educated about, it will likely be a strong influence in selecting the best role for you.

Are You Hands-On or Organisational?

Not all mental health support staff work as carers. You might be eager to work in the mental health industry and have practical or managerial skills that could be of tremendous benefit.

As we’ve mentioned, there are countless social care roles, including:

  • Catering
  • Housekeeping
  • Transport
  • Management
  • Payroll
  • Finance
  • Administration
  • Gardening

Where you have a specific skill or ability that you’d like to incorporate into your social care career, this is an excellent place to start identifying suitable job placements.

You can also work for multiple employers, with the OUTT.com recruitment app offering urgent shift vacancies and regular or longer-term positions.

There is always scope to try out a few social care support roles and employers or combine shifts in different places to keep you on your toes.

Ready to join OUTT?

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Who Do You See Yourself Working With?

Many mental health care workers choose their sector as they wish to work with a particular age group or demographic.

As we’ve discovered, mental health support services cover just about every industry there is, so skilled care workers will have no trouble finding vacancies in their preferred area. You might want to work with children or be keen to educate others about mental health impacts and how to look out for signs that a person needs support.

Perhaps you envisage your role in a care home, looking after the elderly and ensuring they have the best possible quality of life and professional support dealing with mental health conditions.

Alternatively, you might be focused on outreach work or community support roles. They can involve working with adults, community centres, schools, churches and businesses to provide ongoing help and raise mental health awareness.

While you can always chop and change your work placements, if you have a specific group that you feel you’d like to work with most, that will help narrow down your career choices.

Are You Happy to Travel, or Do You Want to Stay Local?

Outreach and community-based roles will inevitably involve travelling. Some social care professionals love the flexibility of this work environment and thrive on the opportunity to meet lots of new people and experience a transitional workspace.

Community nursing teams are one example of a job opportunity that is very varied and will usually mean visiting lots of different patients during the working week.

However, others may prefer the stability of having a static place of work. For example, if you live in an area with poor public transport, or where parking is rarely straightforward, this might be a better option.

Mental health support workers are always in high demand at numerous potential employers:

  • Hospitals and clinics looking for support staff and carers.
  • Care homes and nursing homes.
  • Colleges and educational establishments with a counselling team.
  • Human resources departments or occupational therapy units.
  • Home care or personal assistant providers, where a person at home needs regular support and perhaps around the clock care support.

The practicalities are essential, as if you select a role that isn’t going to be manageable long-term, it will cause more disruption and can be difficult to move away from patients with whom you have a great connection.

What Are Your Career Aspirations?

Now for the big question – where do you see your social care career heading?

If you’re unsure, that’s fine, but if you do have an idea of a rewarding role you’d like to work towards, this can be a critical factor in choosing the right mental health sector for you.

There are some fantastic apprenticeship vacancies out there, or you can select roles based on relevant experience that will contribute to expanding your CV and learning vital skill sets.

Little is as valuable in career development as practical experience. So if you’ve got a plan for the future, it’s a great idea to dive in, benefit from on-the-job training, and work towards your goals while gaining valuable insights into working in the mental health social care sector.

For more information about vacancies and roles in social care and mental health, please visit the OUTT.com portal for details of the latest placements available!