Domestic Assistant - Home Care

Domestic assistants help people with their household chores.  Domestic assistants are employed by local authority social services departments in England and Wales. By offering a domestic service to people in need, they enable people to remain in their own homes with as much independence as possible.  Their clients are often elderly people or those with physical and mental disabilities, who are unable to look after themselves and who, without such help, might have to go into hospital or residential care.

Work Environment
Domestic assistants are given a 'round' of clients which means they get to know individual clients very well. They visit people in their homes and carry out any necessary domestic chores and might go to the local shops on their behalf.  They may also have meetings and training courses with other colleagues at the council offices.

Because of health risks, special clothing and equipment are issued - gloves, tabards, torches, personal safety alarms and residual circuit devices (for use with electrical equipment). 

Hours can be flexible, anything from 10 to 37 hours a week, depending both on the needs of the service and the circumstances of the post-holder.  Generally the service is available from 8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.  Some weekend work may also be necessary.

Daily Activities
Domestic assistants help clients maintain as independent a life as possible.  Their duties include cleaning, bed changing, washing, doing any shopping on their behalf or taking the client shopping, and preparing meals.  In the initial risk assessment of the client and the client's home, all health and safety issues, such as electrical and cooking equipment, will have been checked.  It is the responsibility of the domestic assistant to report any defects or necessary repairs to the home care manager.

Skills & Abilities
Skills needed are

  • communication skills;
  • to be able to understand people's needs;
  • to be able to cook and clean effectively;
  • to be able to work on your own initiative and as part of a team;
  • to be physically fit.

Entry Requirements
There are no specific minimum entry qualifications for the job.  Personal attributes are often considered more important (see above).  Some councils offer training leading to NVQ/SVQ units in Care.  Training is given in food hygiene, food preparation, first aid and manual handling.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
It is possible to go from domestic assistant to home care assistant work.  This is usually dependent on interview and a competency assessment and may lead to further training to NVQ/SVQ level 2 in Direct Care.

Further Information & Services
Care Council for Wales
Community Care
Community Service Volunteers
Department of Health
Health & Care Professions Council
Homes & Communities Agency
Skills for Care
Social Care Association

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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