Today, we will take a closer look at the prerequisites to becoming a caregiver and what does it take to be a successful one.

Taking care of the sick and the elderly is no easy task, even for trained professional caregivers. Family caregivers also need to train for specific skills, knowledge, and protocols if they wish to commit to the task. Author Eleanor Gaccetta, author One Caregiver’s Journey and who experience being a full-time caregiver to her mom for nine and a half years, believes that even family caregivers need to be trained and to be equipped with the necessary skills and wisdom. Gaccetta’s prerequisite to becoming a caregiver may lean more on attributes, character, mindset, and values. But this is not to say that knowledge and skills are not quintessential requirements for being a caregiver.

“Before diving right into the responsibility of caregiving, the very first thing that you should ask yourself is, “Do I have the necessary knowledge on this?” This stage of determining whether or not a person is knowledge-wise ready to take on the job of caregiving is often skipped by many people. Generally, people assume that they already have the necessary knowledge for the job simply because they think that caregiving is that simple. This is not true, however.

Before assuming the responsibility of being a caregiver, you first need to assess yourself and determine if you have sufficient knowledge about caregiving. Caregiving encompasses a broad range of duties and tasks, including daily assistance, medical monitoring, food preparation, personal care, and more. If you are new to caregiving, then you must learn that supervision and assistance are only the tips of the iceberg. Caregiving still has a lot in store for you.” – Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Caregiver (May 2020 Blog)

Now let us take a look at some of the prerequisites for becoming a caregiver. We will try to divide these into three categories: the volunteer caregiver, the non-medical caregiver, and the professional or certified caregivers.

Volunteer Caregivers

Volunteer Caregivers are informal caregivers who provide several specific tasks such as accompanying, looking out, or/and assisting family and skilled caregivers. They volunteer for friends and families. For these types of caregivers, the standard prerequisite is to be physically healthy, free of any illness that might harm the patient, be mentally sound and possess patience, consideration, and other values that necessary to provide moral and emotional support to the sick or elderly. 

Non-medical Caregivers

Non-medical caregivers are caregivers who provide personal care, respite care, and companionship to the sick and elderly. They also accompany family caregivers in need of assistance that may include food preparation, dressing, giving a bath to the patient, medication reminders, patient transport, errands, and social support. Non-medical caregivers are usually not volunteer caregivers. Although they do not have a medical background, they are trained for specific tasks. Their training requirements may vary from state to state. Training hours may vary, and in some states, one of the prerequisites is to pass a state exam.

Professional Caregivers

Certified Nursing Assistants are professional caregivers tasked with a variety of tasks other than those mentioned above. They include assessing the patients, performing ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), food intake and monitoring, taking vitals, changing the soiled bed or personal linens, patient rounds monitoring and reporting patient condition, patient lifting and operating medical equipment, implementation of the patient care plan, sanitizing patient room and equipment, taking patients to test/check-ups, and assisting nurses and doctors. To become a certified nursing assistant, one must pass the training. The training standard for CNA depends on which State you are in. The average state-mandated number of training hours is 75 hours. All CNA applicants must also submit a high-school diploma GED and successful completion of CPR training. In many cases, once hired, CNAs continue their training to upgrade their skills and their certificates. Applicants should check that the training program of their community college or trade school, is approved by the State’s nursing board.

These are the technical requirements for becoming a caregiver. However, like Gaccetta and so many other family caregivers, caring for another person also requires passion, care, focus, commitment, patience, and courage. The combination of skills and values is the quintessential element in becoming an effective caregiver.

To know more about Eleanor Gaccetta and her book One Caregiver’s Journey, grab a copy, or visit her website today.