So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Provide vital care and support to patients who are near the end of their life and their families
- Rewarding but emotionally challenging work where you'll need care, empathy and resilience
- Opportunities to move into other health and care related roles with experience and further study/training
As a palliative care assistant, you'll provide healthcare support to patients who are in the last months or days of their lives, making sure that they're as comfortable as possible. You'll also monitor changes to the patient's condition making sure you keep other health professionals informed, and give emotional support to the patients' families.
- Applying simple wound dressing
- Giving medication
- Changing medical equipment like catheters when required
- Making sure equipment is cleaned and stored correctly
- Caring for the person's body after death
You'll also provide personal care and support to patients, like helping with:
- Washing, hair and oral care
- Dressing and undressing
- Applying lotions and creams
- Eye care, for example administering eye drops
- Preparing meals and drinks
- Providing social contact
- Encouraging the family to get involved
- Taking patients out, if they're well enough
You could work in the community, in an NHS or private hospital, or at a hospice.
For this role, you'll need sensitivity and understanding, the ability to work well with others, to accept criticism and work well under pressure, thoroughness and attention to detail, customer service skills, knowledge of psychology, and excellent verbal communication skills.
You could do a college course such as a Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support.
You could train towards this role through a healthcare support worker intermediate apprenticeship, or a lead adult care worker advanced apprenticeship.
Direct application might be possible if you have GCSE grades (A* to C) in English and maths, and some employers might want you to have a level 2 qualification in health and social care, like a certificate, diploma, GCSE or NVQ.
Paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare role is usually expected by employers, and some employers will also expect you to have a good understanding of end of life care, or palliative care.
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults.
With experience and training, you could become a senior healthcare assistant. You could train as an assistant practitioner in chiropody or podiatry, occupational therapy, radiography or physiotherapy. You could also train as a health professional like a nurse, midwife or physiotherapist.