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Care Certificates for Home Care Professionals: What Is It, Who Needs it and How to Get One

Sep 16, 2021 | Blog Post, For home care professionals

As a home care professional, it’s important to have a certificate of qualification. This is a document that safeguards your right to work as a certified professional in the field. It shows that you’ve met all requirements and are qualified to provide care for those who need it.

The certificate also provides reassurance for clients and their families by showing that you’re trustworthy and qualified. Here is everything you need to know about care certificates.

What is a Care Certificate?

A Care Certificate is a set of 15 standards that shows that you have met all the requirements for care provision. It provides reassurance for both clients and families that you have been suitably trained.

The Care Certificate will help new and experienced home care professionals to develop and demonstrate key skills, knowledge, values, and behaviours, enabling them to provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

Certificates are issued by your employer. Usually an employee of the organisation, with direct experience of home care provision and of workplace assessment, has responsibility for undertaking Care Certificate assessment.

Under Regulation 18 and 19, the Care Quality Commission in England expects home care staff to have achieved or be working towards the Care Certificate.

The certificate was developed jointly by Skills for Care, Health Education England and Skills for Health.

Who needs a care certificate?

A care certificate verifies you have met all requirements to provide care for those who need it. It’s an important standard for anyone who provides home care services in their profession.

The Care Certificate assessment should be used as part of your induction because it sets provides the fundamental skills and behaviours required to work in health and social care. If you’re interested in providing home care services as part of your career, you must produce this document to verify your status as a certified home care professional.

If you’re employed by others, they might ask to see your certificate when they hire someone new.

You will be expected to complete the certificate if you are new to care work. This certificate is for adult social care professionals working in domiciliary, residential, or nursing settings, hospices, or other community care provisions. It is also for people working in non-care roles including customer service, coordination, administration, kitchen, or maintenance.

How to get a care certificate

Your employer will have a trained assessor responsible for assessing you on what you know and how you show your understanding of care work including carrying out the standards in your specific role.

There are 15 standards each of which you must demonstrate a complete understanding before you can work unsupervised. You don’t need to complete each standard all at once if a phased approach is more practical.

Here are the 15 standards of the Care Certificate:

  1. Understand your role
    Demonstrate your understanding of your responsibilities and areas of accountability within your role. Consider and centre your job description, company policies and procedures, the role ethos and values.
  2. Your personal development
    Create a personal development plan to surface opportunities for your professional development and identify the support you will need and who will provide it.
  3. Duty of Care
    Understand expectations around how to care for vulnerable people and how to assess and reduce risks in confrontational situations.
  4. Equality & Diversity
    People must be treated fairly and feel included in society, yet also celebrate and value individualism. Learn to understand and respect visible and non-visible differences.
  5. Work in a person-centred way
    To support people with the best possible care, understand and choose to live these values in your role: individuality, independence, privacy, partnership, choice, dignity, respect and rights.
  6. Communication
    Communication with patients and their families, clients, care team, and employer through our spoken and written words, paraphrasing and our body language.
  7. Privacy & Dignity
    Identify situations where a person’s privacy and dignity could be compromised, and learn to safeguard these to protect your relationship, earn trust and maintain professionalism and self-esteem.
  8. Fluids & Nutrition
    Adopt the principles of hydration, nutrition and food safety in care provision and understand how to support people in your care to have access to fluids, food and nutrition as set out in their care plan.
  9. Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability
    Promote and support positive health and well-being for a person living a mental health condition, dementia or a learning disability.
  10. Safeguarding Adults
    Grasp the principles of safeguarding adults and uphold and protect their best interest. Learn how to explain what to do if there is suspected abuse of an adult and understand how to minimise the risks of abuse.
  11. Safeguarding Children
    Care professionals must have completed current national minimum training standards for Level 1. Social care workers must be able to explain what to do if they suspect a child is being neglected or abused.
  12. Basic life support
    Complete basic life support training and meet the UK Resuscitation Council Guidelines.
  13. Health & Safety
    Risk assessment, move and assist people safely. Understand procedures for responding to sudden illnesses, incidents and accidents, handling hazardous substances, administering medication and managing stress and potential causes of stress.
  14. Handling information
    Understand the guidance and expectations around handling information including receiving, recording and storing of accurate and legal documentation.
  15. Infection prevention & control
    Learn how an infection enters the body and how your own health and hygiene might pose a risk to others in specific situations, and how to safely handle clinical waste.

The future professionalisation of home care

You are incredibly important. You hold real and regulated responsibility for the quality of life of millions of vulnerable adults and children. Families trust you to care for their loved ones. The NHS are completely dependent on you to accept discharged patients and free beds needed by other people.

Yet although the home care professional role is in fact professional, terms and conditions of work are not appropriate, pay is too low, and the role does not command the respect it deserves.

Change is underway, albeit slowly, as discussions around professionalisation of the care workforce continue. The Care Certificate takes a good step in providing an agreed set of standards that help to shape the consistency in approach to caring required of a society, and of a professional body, that aims to provide excellence in care. Also, the Care Certificate can be utilised towards and part of other formal qualifications.

While leaders debate the professionalisation of the care workforce, in the meantime the Care Certificate embodies a standard to uphold and as such it is taken seriously by people looking to work with the best and highest performing care professionals across the UK.