Everything You Need to Know About the Role of a Care Assistant in Ireland

A picture of Connected Healh homecare assistant, Shelley

Everything You Need to Know About the Role of a Care Assistant in Ireland

There are currently over 25,000 care personnel employed in Ireland, and with an increase in ageing population, that’s set to grow even more over the next few years. Here at Connected Health, we’ve already expanded our homecare team in Ireland by employing over 400 extra care staff in the last couple of years and intend on hiring more.

So, if you’ve been considering a career in care and applying to one of our roles, but aren’t sure what to expect, here’s everything you need to know about becoming a care assistant in Ireland and the roles and responsibilities that the job includes.

What is a Care Assistant?

Firstly, we wanted to define what a care assistant is. This is sometimes quite difficult because a care assistant’s role can vary greatly depending on who their patient is. A basic definition would be “a trained, non-medical professional healthcare provider, that assists people in their own homes with daily duties around the house including, but not limited to, personal care, providing basic medical assistance like first aid and dispensing medication”

Being a care assistant isn’t a one size fits all job, and many of those in community care work have a particular area of expertise.

Homecare Assistants

Many Irish care assistants specialize in providing homecare services. Homecare is often funded by the state and managed by the HSE or the family can privately to secure additional services. Regardless of who’s paying the bill your roles will be pretty much the same and you’ll be responsible for catering to patient’s needs from the comfort of their own home. Whether that’s personal care, preparing meals, providing good company or even just providing a little respite for family members that usually take care of them.

Palliative Care Assistants

Also known as end of life carers, Palliative Care Assistants are responsible for looking after terminally ill patients/clients. This role is carried out in their home or in a hospice. Not only do they provide all the usual care services to their patients, but they’re also there to offer support to the patient’s families too; both physically and emotionally. This is usually a very difficult time for the families involved and having that extra pair of hands to help around the house can make the world of difference.

Dementia Care Assistants

Care assistants can also specialize in caring for those who suffer from Dementia and Alzheimers. Being in the comfort of their own home in familiar surroundings is sometimes their preferred option. You’ll still do all the usual care assistant duties you’d do in any other domiciliary care role, but you might need to pay special attention to certain parts of their routine. For example, eating and drinking can sometimes be an issue; some dementia patients can suffer from changes in their taste and can forget that they’re thirsty which can pose a risk to their health, so this is one aspect that you need to pay close attention to.

Overnight or Live-In Homecare Assistants

Some care workers can specialize in overnight home care, usually to give much-needed respite to family members or just those that want to ensure their family member is in good hands, as the night often presents new challenges for those in receipt of care. Overnight home carers can assist with an elderly person’s evening routine, help with changing and getting ready for bed, provide medication prompts, assist throughout the night should they wake up or need to use the bathroom, helping with the morning routine and showering and providing a healthy breakfast so they start their day on the right track. Additionally, some care workers have live-in roles where they live with the client, assist with the day to day jobs like cooking, cleaning, administering medication and just providing a companion/friend to them.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Care Assistant?

As we’ve mentioned the roles of a care assistant can vary greatly depending on your client. But generally speaking, you could be providing anything from personal care, like getting showered and dressed on a morning, to escorting your clients out to the shops or just generally giving your clients some much-needed company throughout the day. You may even find yourself cooking meals for your clients or taking them to social events with their friends. The possibilities are endless which is one of the things that makes home care so rewarding. Usually, our clients have a lot of great stories to tell too!

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Care Assistant in Ireland?

If the above sounded like just the thing for you, you likely want to know about the next steps. However, to apply for care assistant jobs in Ireland you first need to have the right qualifications. You’ll either need to have the appropriate FETAC or Level 5 QQI Qualification; the latter of which can only be completed with approved accreditation providers.

To work as a care assistant for Connected Health, we also require that you have one year of previous care assistant experience. We talk about this more later in the post.

If you don’t currently have your QQI Level 5, we can help you get your Care Skills & Care of the Older Person qualification.

Finally, you’ll also need to complete Garda vetting. This is a national requirement to check with the National Vetting Bureau if you have a criminal record. Entering vulnerable people’s homes requires a level of trust, so we take this part seriously.

What Skills and Qualities Do You Need to Become a Care Assistant?

Care work goes beyond your formal qualifications, it takes a specific type of person to work in care; we look for caring, compassionate and approachable individuals who have an empathetic personality for all our roles so that we can ensure our clients receive the highest quality of care. Unsure if your qualities match up or not? We put together a guide of what we believe to be the top 10 traits of a care assistant. If you believe you possess these traits, we’d love to hear from you as we expand our care assistant positions in Dublin and the rest of Ireland.  

Benefits of Being a Care Assistant

Being a care assistant means that you’ll take on a lot of responsibility and it can be a demanding role. But that means there’s also a wealth of benefits out there too that’ll be truly rewarding to the right candidate.

As an in-home care provider, you’ll get to know your clients on a personal level. You’ll build strong relationships, learn from those who’ve lived full and usually interesting lives and even build a solid friendship with them. You’ll be able to take them out in the community to meet friends and socialize, and you’ll even get to meet their families too.

All these little things add up to a far greater quality of life not only for the client but for you as well. It’s a flexible position where clients could need help at any time of day which is great if you’re not into the whole 9-5 life. Whether you choose to work part-time or full-time hours, there’s usually someone who has the perfect schedule to suit your needs.

There’s also plenty of opportunities out there. Ireland has an ageing population and by the 2040s there’ll be 3x as many people aged over 65 as there were back in the mid-00s. Once you’ve gained more experience in care, you’ll have the opportunity to move up the career ladder and become a Senior Carer in your community and beyond. Our Director of Northern Ireland Care, Lorraine Corr, started out as a part-time carer herself.

How Much Does a Care Assistant Earn in Ireland?

This will vary depending on the company or whether or not you’re working as a private home care assistant or as an HSE care assistant. It’ll also depend on your level of experience. As a beginner care worker in Ireland, you can expect to earn around €12 an hour, which will rise to around €15 an hour the more experience you gain.

How to Build Your Caregiving Experience

A great way to build your caregiving experience is by volunteering in your local community or taking part in an apprenticeship. This is just so you can demonstrate your ability to care for others and know what to expect from this highly demanding role. You may even have personal experience from caring for one of your own relatives which will be considered when applying for a homecare role.

You can also reach out to national organisations like Age Action, under their Care and Repair scheme. Although this might not be considered caregiving experience, it’ll demonstrate your aptitude for helping people out and could result in you networking with other care workers who can get you the work experience required to land a role.

Ready to Kickstart Your Career as a Carer?

If you’ve now decided that a career in care is for you, we’d love to hear from you. We currently have several carer jobs in Dublin and throughout Ireland available. You can check all our latest care job postings here