Caring for the carers: The top risks facing your support workers

Caring for the carers: The top risks facing your support workers

Your support workers are passionate about giving the best care to their clients. They’re diligent and dedicated – and are often the unsung heroes providing essential support for our community.

But… who’s taking care of them?

As their employer, you need to ensure that your care workers are supported to do their best, so they can continue to care for our most vulnerable, for years to come.  

How? Well, it starts with understanding the risks they face daily at work. And managing them.

Risk 1: Work injury

A care worker’s job is physically demanding. Assisting with showers. Transferring clients. Handling heavy loads. And carrying out chores. All these tasks present work injury risks – whether through a sprain, a knock or a fall.

Unsafe conditions in the client’s home, or a lack of necessary support equipment (such as shower rails or chairs), can also increase the risk of injuries – for the client and the care worker.

Risk 2: Fatigue

Besides being physically demanding, a care worker’s duties can also be emotionally draining. Especially if they’re constantly overloaded with clients requiring high-level assistance and support.

Throw in arduous admin processes and manual paperwork on top of their caring tasks, and this results in growing stress, frustration – and exhaustion.

Risk 3: Human error

When a care worker is exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed with manual tasks, the risk of human error – in admin work and care duties – skyrockets.

Confusing IT systems may also contribute to unreliable communications, which makes it hard for your care workers to pass on or access crucial client information easily. This in turn increases the risk of client incidents and neglect.

Risk 4: Time wasted

Care workers are usually rostered to multiple jobs, at multiple locations, in a day. But if these locations are all far away from one another, your care worker may end up spending more time on the road than they do caring for clients.

Similarly, if your care workers need to spend a big chunk of their days filling out manual forms or trying to figure out how to use the IT system, their valuable time is going further down the drain.

Risk 5: Burnout

According to experts in the aged and disability care sector, burnout is one of the top reasons why people exit the care and disability workforce. And some of the major factors contributing to burnout are high stress, excessive paperwork and a lack of wellbeing support.

The bottom line? If you don’t effectively show you understand and deal with the risks that your care workers face daily, you’re looking at a potential exodus.

So… how can you care for your care workers?

Reducing the risks your care workers face may not be as difficult as you think.

After all, knowledge is power. And knowing the root of the risks brings you one step closer to mitigating and managing them.

Here are some quick steps to help you address the key risks:

1. Keep your risk assessments updated, easily accessible and understood by your support workers.

2. Ensure that your care workers can easily input and access all key client information, so they’re empowered to care for their clients – and protect themselves.

3. Ask the right questions to help you pick up any changed client circumstances or concerns – and record all the answers.

4. Make sure you assess equipment needs and follow up on getting it out to the home, so your care workers have everything they need to support their clients.

5. Match the right care worker with the right client – based on physical attributes, knowledge, skills and location.

6. Check your rostering to ensure your care workers are not overloaded with clients who need high-level assistance – and that everyone’s workload is balanced.

7. Use a digital management system that is user-friendly, straightforward and easy to understand for your care workers – including those less skilled in English.

8. Provide adequate training, resources and assessment to confirm your care workers are equipped with the latest industry knowledge and practices.

VIPS Care is designed with these risks in mind. Find out how our apps can help you streamline processes, improve communication – and most importantly, reduce risks for your care workers.

Request a demo or get in touch today.