Caregiver Job Description: Personal Care Job Duties

caregiver with elderly woman patient

If you have already read our Caregiver job description and profile post, you would know that caregiver’s have a wide-ranging set of job duties which means they need to have a diverse set of skills to be able to fully assist their clients. However, we think there are four main categories that a caregiver’s job duties can be classified into: 1) personal care 2) nutrition 3) medical care 4) emotional care. In this post, we are going to talk about the personal care job duties and why they are such a big, central part of the caregiver job description.

What is involved in personal care job duties?

Obviously there is quite a bit of overlap between some of the caregiver job duties within the 4 main categories we just described. Some of the personal care responsibilities include nutrition, some include medical care and some include emotional care too. However, the best way to describe the personal care job duties category is to say they cover many of the day-to-day chores, tasks, grooming and other personal care responsibilities that the patient/client can no longer perform on their own. The personal care section of the caregiver job description probably involves the most recurring daily job duties because personal care is at the core of the caregiver job description. The personal care part of the job has the biggest scope and there are other job duties that could be included here, but we are going to cover the job duties we think are best described first as personal care.

Many of these job duties we are about to talk about are common for most caregivers, but you should keep in mind that not all will apply to your situation. Some of the reasons you may not be asked or expected to do some of these job duties could be:

  • Your state requires a certification to perform the task
  • The patient can perform the task on their own and did not ask your company for you to perform the task
  • Another caregiver or family member already performs the task for the client

Personal Care Job Duties for a Caregiver

– Housekeeping

Housekeeping is a very important job duty of the personal care responsibilities for a caregiver. Housekeeping duties vary but could include vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and bedroom, doing laundry, taking out the trash and cleaning bedpans. Every situation is different though and not all caregivers have to perform tasks like vacuuming and general cleaning. Even if it is not their direct responsibility to actually do the cleaning though, most caregivers will be responsible for making sure the bed/bedroom is clean and disinfected, the laundry is done and bedpans are clean (assuming the patient has to use them).

There are several reasons housekeeping is an important part of the caregiver job description, but the two main reasons are that it helps prevent infections while also improving the clients attitude. By following proper protocol on how to clean the required areas, you can help prevent your client from getting an infection, which can cause serious complications. Additionally, a clean house just improves people’s attitudes about their situation and outlook about their future. No matter how small or modest of a house someone lives in, a clean residence will help improve his or her attitude.

– Bathing

Bathing patients is a very important job duty, but one that requires patience and attention to detail and safety. Following directions in regards to your training and directions from a doctor or supervising physician is extremely important when bathing a patient. The 3 ways in which a client can be bathed are: 1) bathed in bed 2) bathed in a standard bath or 3) bathed in a shower. There are various reasons why each method is used to bathe a patient. Some of the benefits from bathing patients are: promotes circulation throughout the body, eliminates odors, helps prevent infections and allows the caregiver to observe for any changes to the patient’s body. As a caregiver, it may be your responsibility to bathe the patient, but you will only do so at the order from the supervising physician or nurse.

– Running errands

Many patients that require the assistance of a caregiver are no longer able to drive or use transportation on their own. One of the main reasons caregivers begin to run errands on behalf of their patients is because they are no longer able to drive safely because of poor eyesight, motor skills, memory loss or some other mental or physical disability.

Some common errands that caregivers may run are to get the patient’s groceries, prescription refills and purchase any other necessities. Caregivers can often run these errands without the client accompanying them, but sometimes the patient wants to go with the caregiver so that they can get out of the house, which is of course dependent on the patient’s health and if it is safe for them to leave the house. Many companies that employ caregivers have special vehicles that are used to help transport a patient around to run errands. These vehicles often are larger and have easier access for the client to get in and out of rather than a standard vehicle. Otherwise, the caregiver may be able to use their client’s car for transportation. However, you should check with your employer regarding first to find out about liability and make sure it is allowed. Likewise, another employee from your company may be the person to actually run the errands with the patient under some circumstances if you are not able to safely transport them. If you would like to be able to run errands with your client, you will need to have a valid driver’s license.

– Grooming

Grooming is another important personal care part of the caregiver job description. No, most patients that require assistance from a caregiver do not go out and have an active social life, but proper grooming is important regardless of whether or not they are leaving the house. Grooming the patient helps prevent infections, allows the caregiver the opportunity to observe the client for poor diet/health concerns while also helping improve their psychological outlook. Some of the most common grooming job duties for a caregiver include:

  • Skin: making sure the patient’s skin is as healthy as possible by helping to prevent pressure sores and making sure their skin is kept clean.
  • Eyes: eye care most commonly includes helping the client with eye drops or ointment. Caregivers must follow directions on how to administer eye drops or ointment to ensure that their patient’s eyes are properly taken care of.
  • Fingernails: the quality and appearance of most people’s fingernails deteriorate as they get older, but they still should be kept as clean and healthy as possible on a daily basis. The appearance of one’s fingernails can even give some indication about potential health issues or concerns. Caregivers should take note of deteriorating fingernails and report it to the supervising physician or registered nurse so that they can evaluate if anything further needs to be done.
  • Hair: clean hair promotes circulation in the scalp and helps prevent infections on the scalp. Hair care job duties are typically limited shampooing/washing the patient’s hair and combing/brushing their hair.
  • Oral hygiene: oral hygiene should be practiced daily unless not recommended by a supervising physician or registered nurse. Oral hygiene typically includes brushing teeth, using mouthwash and cleaning dentures.

– Dressing

Many patients that require the assistance of a caregiver will need some help dressing and undressing on a daily basis. If possible, let the client pick out their clothes but dress them according to the situation: are they in bed all-day or still active and walking around? The client’s dress should always be clean and reflect their living situation.

– Toileting assistance

Toileting assistance will depend on the patient, but it ranges from patients that need no help to those that are unable to get out of bed and must use a bedpan. Some patients may still be able to use the toilet but require some assistance getting to the toilet safely. Toileting assistance also includes making sure that the bedpans are changed, cleaned and sanitized as often as necessary.

– Escort to appointments

We previously talked about the job duty for caregivers of running errands, but many patients will also need help in getting to their doctor’s appointments.

– Escort to church or other religious services

Many people that require the help from a caregiver still want to be able to attend church or other religious services.

– Taking notes and reporting on wellbeing

This part of the caregiver job description is going to show up in all 4 categories because it is that important. As a caregiver, you will probably spend more time with your client than anyone else, except maybe for some family members if the client is lucky. Because of this, you will become very familiar with the clients personality, behavior, physical appearance and other nuances, and you will notice when any of these changes. Everybody goes through normal ups and downs, but most caregivers can pickup on whether or not their client is facing something more serious. Being able to take notes and report on their wellbeing to a physician or nurse is a very important part of the caregiver job description.

– Looking after pets

If the person you are providing care for has pets, it may be your responsibility to look after their pets also. Most people think of pets as family members and want to make sure they are taken care of whether that pet is a dog, cat, fish or parakeet.

Personal care job duties are key part of caregiver job description

Every caregiver position is different and will require different job duties to make sure their client is receiving the best care. There is not a one size fits all job description, although many caregivers do perform similar duties on a daily basis. However, personal care job duties are a key part of the caregiver job description and if you don’t think you would enjoy doing or are capable of performing the aforementioned job duties on a recurring basis, a caregiver position might not be the best fit for you.


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