Lizzy Deningcarer, Care

What makes a good carer?

Lizzy Deningcarer, Care
What makes a good carer?

When the time comes that you or a loved one need extra support, you want to be sure that you get the best quality care that you deserve.

What is the meaning of the word ‘carer’?

The definition of the word ‘carer’ is a family member or paid helpful who regularly looks after a child, or an ill, elderly or disabled person. But being a good carer involves so much more than that.

Jan Burns MBE, a registered social worker with more than 60 years personal and professional experience of contributing to the care industry, is Chief Officer of a not for profit organisation Safe and Settled, she shares her thoughts on finding a compassionate, good quality carer.

1.   Care work is a demanding job – they need to be passionate about helping people

It’s always the case that passion and commitment to ‘make a difference’ to people’s lives are key attributes that true carers possess and those that have such as these attributes are most likely to do their job well. Care work is a vocation, it is a particularly demanding job but at the same time it can be very rewarding. Most carers are attracted to the profession by a desire to help others, and those who are truly passionate will work tirelessly to bring a smile to their clients’ face and let them feel they are in good hands. “I find great satisfaction in the small things,” says Supercarer Eva. “Helping vulnerable people overcome their daily tasks makes me feel fulfilled, especially when I see improvement in their wellbeing and lifestyle.”  

2.   Carers should be a source of support for clients

The best carer and client relationships occur when the carer’s personality complements your own. Carers often work with their clients for extended periods of time, and for some people they will be the only person they speak to on a day to day basis - so getting on and respecting one another is critical.  Carers should be empowering -ensuring the client maintains control over their lives and encouraging them to be able to express how their needs are best met.  Shared interests can also help, particularly in the early days of getting to know each other.

3.  Carers need to be trust-worthy and reliable

Trust is the foundation of any mutual relationship between a carer, client and any significant others. Trust has to be earned it is a two-way process.  Carers often work with people when they are at their most vulnerable, so it is essential they are able to build complete trust with the person working with them. To encourage this, a carer must provide the client with the confidence that they are honest, reliable, punctual, and respectful.    

“I made the client realise that she’s the one in charge, she’s the boss, it’s her house,” says SuperCarer Victoria, who embodies this trustworthy and respectful approach in her work. “When I want to do things I will ask if she wants me to do this… the main thing is you involve them in whatever it is you are doing.”

Everyone has a human right to have care delivered with dignity, which Jan, as chair of the National Dignity Council defines as kindness, respect and compassion.


4. To look after someone, carers need to be good communicators

It is essential that carers communicate well with clients and their family, in order to help them make the most suitable health and lifestyle choices. Competent carers may also need to be able to act as advocates on behalf of clients.  

Carers need to work confidently and intuitively, being proactive in liaising with other services that impact on the client’s quality of life, such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, and nutritionists, it is imperative that the focus to meet the client's care needs are considered paramount at all times and that all appropriate action is taken in a timely fashion to achieve this.

5. Carers need to have experience of the work

Care work can, although rewarding, be demanding and unpredictable, particularly for those working in clients’ homes without supervision or assistance. This requires a mix of technical skills, initiative, confidence, and familiarity with a wide range of conditions and situations.

Holding the appropriate qualifications is an important starting point for this, however the knowledge skills and ability to put these into practice are also essential, like with most things in life there is no substitute for practical experience. The majority of care organisations will ensure that the carers they put forward for a particular job have the appropriate qualifications, including specialist training where needed.

At SuperCarers, experienced staff check that everyone has at least the qualifications and experience required to work as an independent carer, and they will also let you see exactly what training they have undertaken recently on their profiles - so you can have an informed opportunity to choose the right person to meet your needs.

SuperCarers match families and individuals needing care with compassionate, experienced and vetted live-in carers. To find out more, please contact a Care Advisor for free on 020 8629 1030 or visit