The role of a caregiver is to assist another person with daily life tasks. The role also involves giving comfort and companionship while performing tasks to help a person to whatever level the person needs. A caregiving certificate can be awarded for learning skills to assist any age level, such as children, but a caregiver certificate is typically considered as education to assist adults or seniors who need assistance. The setting is often in an assisted living facility.
The American Caregiver Association (americancaregiverassociation.org) offers a caregiver certificate. The program is intended to prepare a person for a caregiving job. When working with people who need a caregiver, you may be working with mentally or physically challenged adults or seniors who have different levels of mental and physical abilities. An important aspect learned when achieving a caregiver certificate is meeting basic medical needs. A caregiver is not a nurse, but a caregiver is important to a client's overall health. The training for a certificate includes such medically-related topics as hygiene, medications, nutrition, vital signs and preventing the spread of disease within a facility. A caregiver may help a client bathe, eat and dress. The training is intended to prepare the caregiver for different levels of assistance. For example, one client may be self-sufficient, but needs help getting into the bath tub to prevent falling, while another client may not be able to feed himself and will not be nourished without assistance.
As a caregiver, one of the rewarding aspects of the job is to aide a client with daily activities. The goal is to allow the client to live as independent a life as possible. The training and certificate are intended to teach the diverse skills that are needed for different situations with a client. Interacting with clients by talking and helping with activities is a general awareness skill learned in a certificate program. Understanding a client's needs when the person communicates poorly, or may not be able to speak at all, is an important skill that the training teaches. One client may be hard of hearing, or you may need to speak slowly for a certain client, or gently get his attention before speaking.
Learning to be a caregiver has responsibilities. You are assisting a person who cannot perform certain tasks. With the certificate training course, you learn about issues such as emergency evacuation. If a fire occurs and a client cannot walk, you must understand how to get the person to safety. You may also need to deal with difficult behaviors. One client may be verbally or physically abusive to another, and you must have skills to intercede on the behalf of all the clients. If you work in a program for the mentally challenged, you may encounter a client that throws objects when angry. The certificate training cannot give you specific answers to every possibility you will encounter, but you learn techniques to defuse situations.
Additional Caregiving Roles
The University of Arkansas (ecep.uark.edu) has a caregiver certification for child care. The certification focuses on the different developmental stages a child goes through, such as from birth to 3 years old, or 3 to 5 years old. Similar to other caregiving certificates, this course teaches about health and safety issues, but they are different for children. You may learn about playground safety, or protecting a child from ingesting chemicals such as cleaners. Although the focus may be different in the two caregiving certificate programs, much of the core knowledge has a similar basis. You learn how to assist the child or client in a respectful manner, you understand how to guide healthy living habits, such as nutrition, and you learn how to handle behavioral issues.