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What is a Caregiver/Healthcare Assistant?

What is a Caregiver/Healthcare Assistant?

Posted on May 26, 2017 By Brendan Kildea

Within the last 50 years, medical advances have resulted in people living longer. We can now treat and cure diseases once thought incurable. It truly is a remarkable time to be alive as we generally get the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones. However, as with everything, there is a price to pay for these improvements. As people begin to live longer, they require care to help them through their daily lives. Many people care for family members and/or friends and do so without pay or compensation. They care because it is in their nature and they genuinely are the unsung heroes of society. As a result of people living longer, care-giving has become a profession in itself and many Homecare companies employ people and add professional skills to their existing skill set. However, for all the homecare service providers out there, and all the Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) they employ, the demand for care has not diminished and so we constantly keep our eye out for potential HCAs.

At this stage you may be wondering what exactly a Caregiver is. By definition, a Caregiver is someone who provides direct care for children, elderly and the chronically ill. Many people are Caregivers without even realising it, as they care for a spouse, parent, friend or child, as part of their daily routine. If you know someone who takes time out of their day to help someone else (be it by shopping for them, cleaning or helping them out of bed) then they are a Caregiver. They represent the best of humanity as they give themselves to a cause without want of recognition or reward.

So, who can be a Caregiver? Essentially, anyone that cares about other people can be a Caregiver. However, it is not a job that should be taken lightly. Requirements for the position of Healthcare Assistant (HCA) include but are not limited to reliability and empathy. As a HCA, it will be your responsibility to provide clients with a better quality of life than if they did not have a Carer.

You may be asking yourself what tasks are expected of a HCA. Your role as a HCA is based on our clients’ needs. That said, there are numerous tasks which you will undertake. These include:

  • Companionship – This is for sociable and active clients. Some clients may enjoy walks, attending bingo or something as simple as a cup of tea and a chat.   
  • Practical Care – Some daily tasks such as cleaning, washing & cooking can become too arduous for clients and so it falls to you to help them with these tasks.
  • Personal Care – We all want to be clean and smell fresh but even a shower or brushing your hair can become difficult as we get older. You may have to help a client wash themselves and help them get dressed.
  • Dementia Care – Dementia and related illnesses are a growing issue across the world. Consequently, HCAs are trained to view Dementia as more than a disease, but a client with a condition. As a result, HCAs will undertake tasks such as meal preparation, respite care (giving a family member/friend a break) and where possible, getting the client out of the house for some fresh air socialising.
  • Specialist Care – People can suffer from various different conditions such as Dementia or cerebral palsy, to name a few. HCAs receive specialist training on how to best help our clients suffering from different conditions and give them the best quality of life possible.

Having observed the numerous tasks a HCA undertakes and thinking it may be the job for you, you may be asking yourself how you can become a HCA. Firstly, you must ask yourself if you possess the traits required to successfully fulfil the role.  The next step is to look into gaining a qualification in Healthcare. As with many 3rd level courses, they can be expensive and we at Irish HomeCare understand not everybody has the finances and/or time to complete a qualification. Consequently, we offer you full training and the chance to gain this qualification, as our award-winning training team deliver it. Moreover, you can take part in our ‘Earn as you Learn’ scheme, whereby you work towards your Healthcare qualification while also earning a wage (for more information visit

In conclusion, a HCA is a qualified individual with a passion for helping others. You do not require a Bachelor’s degree or 5 years of experience. Many of us already have experience because it is in our nature to care and/or have witnessed people being cared for. In addition, with regards the ageing population, we encourage every suitable candidate to apply to become a HCA as you could be the difference between a client enjoying their lives and a scared & lonely client. The tasks undertook can be tedious and tiring but by doing them, you are positively affecting peoples’ lives, which at the end of the day, is what matters.

Lastly, we hope you found this, our first blog, insightful and inspiring. If you believe you have what it takes to become the best HCA then we encourage you to apply. Email or call 0818 776 361 to speak to a member of our team. What are you waiting for? This could be your calling!