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Training to help you in your caring role

It can be easy to assume that because so many people are carers, everything it entails must just be common sense and not require any specialist knowledge or training. In fact, there are a number of training courses that might help you to do the role better, be safer and reduce your risk of injury.

Everyone could benefit from taking a basic first aid course. But it can be particularly beneficial for carers who may be more likely to face a medical issue with the person they are caring for. Knowing what to do in a medical emergency could save lives. And if something more minor happens to the person you look after, such as they get a small cut or burn, it would give you the skills to care for them yourself. Even just the knowledge that you would know what to do can give both you and the person you care for some peace of mind. You can even find specific first aid courses tailored to carers and the situations you are more likely to have to deal with.

If you ever have to move or carry the person you are caring for, you are likely to benefit from undertaking a basic manual handling course. Even if you are generally fit and well, and think of yourself as quite strong, it is still very easy for you to get it wrong and injure yourself or the person you care for. These courses may also cover how to use particular manual handling equipment such as hoists. Your local council has an obligation to make sure that you don’t take any health and safety risks, so they may well run their own free manual handling courses or be able to give you a direct payment towards funding an external one.

Some carers find that they are now expected to cook healthy, nutritious, balanced meals for somebody, when they may have never had to do so before. Perhaps the person you care for used to do all of the cooking, and you are now not sure where to start. A cooking course would be able to give you basic kitchen skills and teach you how to make a good selection of recipes as well as giving you a general understanding of healthy eating and balanced diets.

If you don’t feel you need that level of support, you may still want to take a food hygiene course to ensure that you know how to make sure the food you prepare is safe. Many people who are cared for would become dangerously ill if they were to get food poisoning.

Some carers report having benefited from learning more about one or more of the different relaxation techniques that are available, including yoga, meditation and mindfulness. These can be helpful for you to manage your own stress levels. And they could also be something you could teach to the person you are caring for too to help them relax.

You could also consider learning a complimentary therapy, if you think that it would benefit the person you care for and be safe with their condition. These include massage, reiki and reflexology.

There are a wide range of books and courses available to help guide you. Everyone is different, so you could give a few of them a go and see what works for you and the person you care for.

It might be difficult for you to imagine when you would be able to find the time to take these courses. However, many training providers offer flexible learning options to allow you to fit studying around your caring responsibilities. You might even be entitled to some financial assistance from grants or bursaries because of your situation, either from the training provider, the government or from external organisations. If you still think it would be impossible to find the time to take a course, then it might be worth arranging to take a break from your caring role to fit this in. Have a look at our guide 'Taking breaks as a carer' for more advice.

You may have doubts about attending some of these courses because you have done elements of them before, perhaps in a different role. Even so, it can still help to have a refresher to improve your skills.

If you are anxious about the idea of doing a course alone, you may want to suggest to any family or friends who you share the caring responsibilities with that they take part too. Not only is it helpful for all of you, it is more fun doing it together, and you may even save money from a group booking.

Even if you feel like you have already learnt a lot about a particular subject ‘on the job’ as a carer, it can help to have these skills officially accredited. And taking a training course could also help you to access paid work in the future. For further information about getting back into work, take a look at our guide 'Working when you are caring'.

Online Help and Advice

Visit our online support section where we have provided advice and guidance on a range of relevant topics to help you in your caring role.

Online support
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