- What's it like? What is attendant care really like? People in your home . . .
- I wasn't expecting this It's a shock, the accident, all these people coming into our house
- Expectations- - - reality Constantly adjusting, changing and managing my expectations
- My house needs modification We needed a ramp, bathroom modifications . . .
- My home - - - a workplace The challenges of my home being a workplace
- My worker - - - a professional Relating with professional workers
- We are all working to achieve goals Working as a team to achieve goals
- We are still grieving I am still grieving and so are my family
- My worker needs training Typical training includes . . .
- Everyone is affected Everyone, family and friends are all affected.
- My cultural background is . . . There are cultural differences & workers need to be culturally competent
- I live in a rural area There are some unique benefits and challenges in rural areas
- My family is. . . My family is messy and complicated and that impacts on attendant care
- My service provider is. . . My service provider isn't working out
- My case manager. . . My case manager gets all the pieces to work together
My worker needs training
Attendant care workers require a lot of knowledge and skills.
When attendant care is working well workers:
Understand brain injury/spinal cord injury
Understand you and your needs.
Have been appropriately oriented to you and your needs.
Have the practical skills to work on what’s needed: e.g.
- Manual handling
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- Maintenance of continence
- Principles of skin care
- Assisting with nutrition
- Assisting with medications
- Worker Health and safety rights and responsibilities policies and procedures
Communication and interpersonal skills
Have the interpersonal and communication skills to:
- Effectively communicate with you and your family/ other relevant people
- Understand you and your needs from the psychological, social and mental well being
- Identify and respond appropriately to behaviours of concern (difficult or challenging behaviour).
- Understand your cultural and/or religious background sufficiently to better work with you (than if they didn’t understand your cultural and/or religious background).
- Have the skills to deal with conflict and assist in resolving it.
What's some of the knowledge and skills that are needed?
Spinal Cord Injury
Carers need to be very aware of protecting the client’s skin and helping the client check their own skin if they are capable at least twice a day.
Depending on the level of the spinal cord injury carers are required to undertake bowel care, bladder care and a lot of personal care in terms of washing.
I have a client whose carers are required to apply her make-up, dry her hair. It’s very-very personal care.
As well as understanding the limitations inherent in spinal cord injury, workers need to be very sensitive to how the client wants them to do things as opposed to how they’ve always done things.
Spinal cord injury carers also need to be aware of issues such as autonomic dysreflexia and be very sensitive to the potential development of those symptoms. Not all spinal cord injured clients are susceptible to autonomic dysreflexia,but those that are tend to be very sensitive to it. And it can happen very quickly and it’s potentially life-threatening. So, it really needs to be responded to in an appropriate and timely manner when it happens.