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Difference between a caring role and a companion role

There are normally two types of care work which, as live-in carers, you may be asked to do. One of them is personal care and the other companionship care. They are both vitally important in the well-being of a client, although there are some distinct differences between the two roles.

A personal carer can be an umbrella term which refers to many types of care services ranging from medical care to personal care, and everything in between.

A companion can still work as a personal carer, but a personal carer may not necessarily work as a companion because of the different duties to be carried out.

Personal care

This may also be called medical care. There are in the UK many different companies who supply daily, hourly, and live-in carers. This type of care involves helping a client with all types of personal care, medication assistance, washing, dressing, bathing, and many other aspects of personal life.

As a personal carer you may be responsible for making doctors appointments, refilling prescriptions, transporting your client to day care centers, and outings.

A live-in carer who undertakes these tasks will need suitable training, which is normally provided by the agency or through one of many private organizations in the UK. You will need to keep your skills updated, normally by attending an update class once a year.

Companion care

This is normally non-medical care. It is not as intrusive as personal care as you may not be required to be involved with bathing and toileting. Most companion care placements do not require you to assist with dressing or feeding.

Companion care, therefore, includes almost everything that is not personal or medical care. It may even simply be having conversations with a client, going to restaurants and coffee shops, or cinemas with them, visiting places they like such as museums or even friends.

You may be asked to take the dog for his daily walk, learn to play cards and pick up prescriptions, although you may not need to administer them.

Cooking may be a requirement of companion care, as can joining your client in their hobby. Occasionally you may be asked to accompany a client on their holiday.

There is normally a small amount of cleaning, laundry, making beds, ironing, and watering the plants which you may be required to do.

While companion care may not seem to be as involved as live-in care, there is a very definite place for this type of care.

The idea of being alone and lonely can be very daunting to an older person, even if they are in good health. Having a companion may help to combat the feeling of isolation which can happen after losing a spouse.

Some people may find a companion at night is reassuring them, particularly if they do not like being alone. Many older people also become wary of going out alone. Having a companion at their sides is reassuring.

What is a companion position then?

A companion position helps to provide emotional support, gentle assistance, light housekeeping, and companionship in order that a person may function independently in their own home environment.

Unlike a personal care placement, a companion carer does not need formal training. They do, however, need to be personable and easy to talk to. They should be happy to take on the role as friend and companion while still accepting that their client has the final say in day-to-day procedures.

Final thoughts

Although there is a difference between the two roles, both are vitally important to the safety and well-being of a client. Both roles can lead to building a good relationship with your client and both can be extremely satisfying to you and your client.

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