How do I Choose the Best Caregiver Program?
The best caregiver program provides practical training, is at least nine months in length, includes first aid certification and provides assistance in finding employment upon graduation. A caregiver is someone who provides support services to help elderly or developmentally delayed patients live independently. He or she typically assists with daily activities, such as personal hygiene, basic cooking, cleaning and shopping. For many people, this type of support allows them to continue to live in their own homes instead of moving to a long-term care facility.
The type of person who is interested in a caregiver program is naturally outgoing and enjoys helping others. Many health service colleges provide caregiver programs, ranging from a basic certificate to post-graduate courses. Check that the school is accredited before registering, in order to avoid wasting time and money.
Read the program description from the brochure and review the list of courses offered. The vast majority of the courses should be related to providing health care services. Common course topics include nutrition, bathing and personal hygiene techniques, spotting mental health issues and addressing mobility problems. For many patients, the caregiver is the primary contact with health services and is responsible for maintaining a specific level of care.
Avoid any caregiver program that is less than nine months in length. A shorter program might initially be appealing but does not provide the breadth and depth of training necessary for you to be effective as a caregiver. Many programs include training in specific techniques that minimize caregiver burnout. Additional courses in communication and interpersonal skills also can be very useful in a range of other careers.
Most employers will require a valid first aid certificate from anyone who wants to work as a caregiver. This training should be incorporated into the caregiver program. Keep in mind that this certificate must be renewed on an annual basis, and many schools offer the refresher course at a discounted rate to program graduates.
The best caregiver program includes free assistance in finding employment as a caregiver. This might include networking events, job fairs or clinics on how to write a resume. Many schools have close contacts with local agencies that hire caregivers for both contract and permanent positions. Take advantage of the opportunity to create a professional resume and make important business contacts.
Many employers will require a background check for all potential caregivers. This usually includes a check of criminal and driving records. Keep this in mind before completing a caregiver program.
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