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FAQ About Working in Care

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions that people may have when they first start working in care, plus also some questions that are specific to Avens as an organisation and how we operate. If you have any questions that aren't answered below, then please get in touch with us so that we might be able to help you.

What does a carer do?
OK, but what does a carer ACTUALLY do when they are on duty?
How is caring for adults with learning disabilities different to other types of care?
What is the difference between a Support Worker and Care Worker?
What is the difference between Residential Care, Supported Living and other types of care settings?
What is Avens looking for in a Support Worker or Care Worker?
What if the people I support do not like me?
How long are the shifts?
I can’t commit to sleep in shifts, can I still be a supported living care worker?
What qualifications should I look to take if I want to pursue a career in care?
What is the pay like?
I have never worked in care before, what do I need to start working in care?
I have never worked in care before but have cared for a friend/ family/ love one. What do I need to do to start working in care?
What type of contracts do you offer?
What is the shift flexibility like?
Will I have to work every weekend?
I am a friend/ family member of one of your customers or service users. Can I still care for them?
Who makes sure Avens is doing a good job?
If I suspect someone under the care of Avens is being abused, what should I do?
What does multidisciplinary mean?




What does a carer do?

See our ‘Being a Carer’ explanation here for a detailed answer, however to summarise, a carer is someone who cares for an individual who needs help in areas of their life. Back to the top.

Ok, but what does a carer ACTUALLY do when they are on duty?

A carer will complete a variety of tasks to ensure that the individual or individuals that they support are happy and healthy. This may range from supporting someone to have a shower or bath, going into town with them to help them purchase whatever they want or need or helping to prepare meals and keep their homes tidy. Everyone’s different and each of our Customers or Service Users will require different levels of support, ranging from just verbal prompts and reminders to full hands on support. Back to the top.


How is caring for adults with learning disabilities different to other types of care?

A lot of the skills and attitudes developed when working in elderly care, child care or in other areas of Health and Social Care are transferable to working with adults with learning disabilities, also know as learning disabilities or learning disabilities. You will always want to ensure that the person in your care is happy and healthy and to encourage as much personal development as possible.

You will find many of the issues that you face up in other types of care in this field of work as well, like challenging behaviour and communication issues, but it will be much more varied as well. Like any job, working with adults with learning disabilities will have it’s own quirks, challenges and rewards. If you have worked well and enjoyed caring for the elderly, children or someone who is physically disabled, then there is no reason why those skills aren’t transferable to working with adults with learning disabilities; as long as your approach is calm, caring and competent. Back to the top.

What is the difference between a Support Worker and Care Worker?

Although the job roles are very similar and crossover a lot, the main things that separates a Support Worker from a Care Worker is the place of work.

Care Workers tend to work in a Residential Care Setting and as a result will do a lot more hands on care and group activities.

Support Workers work in a Supported Living setting which will have more of a focus on supporting an individual to gain and retain life skills. This means that a Support Worker may spend more time on emotional support and prompting development than actual physical support.

However, as stated at the top, there is a lot of crossover in the jobs that both will have to do. A Care worker will still encourage independence in those they support, no matter how minor, and a Support Worker may still need to do hands on care work for someone who is unable to do it themselves. Back to the top.

What is the difference between Residential Care, Supported Living and other types of care settings?

In the same way that the role of a care worker and support worker frequently overlap, so to do the classifications for the different types of care settings cross. Below is just a general idea of how they might differ, but this is in no way a complete and accurate representation of the different settings. It’s main goal is to just give someone an idea of the core differences that you might face.

Residential Care is a more traditional care setting where a number of service users live together and are supported day to day by a staff team who are on site.

Supported Living, also known as ‘normal living’, is where one or more customers lives in their own home and is supported by one carer. This aims to reflect ‘normal living’ as much as possible, with customers doing as much as they can for themselves, with minimal staff support. Staff are then there to ensure that everyone is safe in the tasks that they complete, that they are completed correctly and that anything that the customer cannot do is then worked on. The ultimate goal of supported living is to gradually reduce the amount of support that the customers needs, so that they can then move on and live somewhere independently.

This varies from other types of care settings, where support can be more intense and technical, for example nursing care homes, to other types of care homes like for the elderly, where there is an emphasis on quality of life.

No type of care setting is better or worse than the other. It all depends on the individual's needs. This works in the same way as some staff are better suited to different types of care settings. For example, if you like to encourage and see others flourish, then supported living would be a good suit for you. However if you like to be involved in group activities and actively work in a team, then perhaps you are suited to working in residential care.

Either way, you will end up working with amazing people on a daily basis who will enrich your lives just as much as you enrich theirs. Back to the top.

What is Avens looking for in a Support or Care Worker?

Avens are committed to building a consistent, person centered team. This team should be filled with people who are of "good character" which is defined by someone being honestest, trustworthy, reliable and respectful, as well as having a clear DBS. This is the best way to provide the level of care that Avens has become known for, for everyone we support.

Because of this, Avens do not use agency contractors at all, as again we like to know that the support that we offer is coming from a core consistent group who the individuals that we support are already familiar with. Back to the top.

What if the people I support do not like me?

During the interview process, the interviewers will be person matching your personality to someone who Avens provides care for, as well as the staff team that you might work with. There will also be interviews with the people we support, which will give you a chance to meet them and for them to give feedback on you. This provides plenty of opportunity for anyone to raise any concerns.

If there is an issue after the interview process, then senior staff will do their best to resolve the issue by sitting down and talking through any problems, as you would in normal living. If the customer or service user is very much unhappy with you working with them, then a swap can be made for you to work with someone else (and a similar procedure of person matching and customer interviews would take place). Back to the top.

How long are the shifts?

Shift times will vary, however most care homes and supported living properties have 24/7 support, including a Late Shift, Early Shift and Night shift. In Residential Care, the night shifts are waking night. In a Supported Living setting it tends to be a sleep in shift.

With this, the day is roughly split into 3 shifts of 8 hours, however this will vary. For more details on the shift types and shift patterns, please contact the manager of the agency that you are interested in working for. Back to the top.

I can’t commit to sleep in shifts, can I still be a supported living care worker?

Of course. There are contracts that offer just day hours. This will depend on business needs and should be discussed during the interview process and after, if successful. Back to the top.

What qualifications should I look to take if I want to pursue a career in care?

The Care Certificate is the entry level qualification to start working in care. From there, you want to complete the Diploma Level 2 in Health and Social Care and Diploma Level 3 in Health and Social Care.

Avens automatically enroll all new applicants who do not have these qualifications, as we have our own in house training department called "Tailored Training”. Back to the top.

What is the pay like?

The pay, like in any job, will vary with qualifications and experience. Avens is very fortunate to offer one of the best sleep in rates in East Sussex and Northamptonshire. For more details on what your pay would be, please contact the manager of the service that you are applying for. Back to the top.

I have never worked in care before, what do I need to start working in care?

Read our "Being a Carer” section. If it sounds like something you’d be interested in, then you will need to complete an application form and return it to us. You can do this by either contacting the Agency Manager in your area or completing the application form on our site, which can be found here.

Once you have done that, we would recommend doing some research into the following subjects so as to give you a good idea as to what kind of mindset and mentality you should have while working in care. You can also look to see if any local colleges or universities offer the Care Certificate course and the Diploma Level 2 in care, which will give you a basic and fundamental knowledge of working in care. Please note that Avens will automatically enroll any successful staff onto these courses. Back to the top.

I have never worked in care before but have cared for a friend/ family/ love one. What do I need to do to start working in care?

If you enjoyed caring for someone and are looking to pursue this as a career, we would still recommend that you read our "Being a Carer” section. Obviously taking care up as a profession is a little different to supporting someone voluntary, as it would demand a certain level of performance and professionalism. However, if this is something you are very passionate about, then please get in touch with the Agency Manager in your area and request an application form, or you can complete our online application form here.

Once you have done that, we would recommend doing some research into the following subjects so as to give you a good idea as to what kind of mindset and mentality you should have while working in care. You can also look to see if any local colleges or universities offer the Care Certificate course and the Diploma Level 2 in care, which will give you a basic and fundamental knowledge of working in care. Please note that Avens will automatically enroll any successful staff onto these courses. Back to the top.

What type of contracts do you offer?

Avens offer full time, part time and bank contracts which will vary depending on the Registered Location that you have applied for. Back to the top.

What is the shift flexibility like?

This will depend on the Registered Location, however Avens is fairly flexible when it comes to shift flexibility. As long as the customers are happy, the current staff team are happy and the hours are covered and contracted hours are being met, then we will do our best to meet your needs. Back to the top.

Will I have to work every weekend?

Unfortunately in Health and Social Care we don’t close; we are open 24/7. This means that weekend work is required, however we do only ask staff to work 2 weekends every 3 weeks in residential care or work alternate weekends in supported living. Back to the top.

I am a friend/ family member of one of your customers or service users. Can I still care for them?

Of course you can, however you would not be able to be employed by Avens. Instead we would ask you to work alongside Avens staff to ensure that your friend or family member is happy and their needs are being met. Back to the top.

Who makes sure Avens is doing a good job?

Avens is inspected by the Care Quality Commision (CQC), who regulate all Social Care in the United Kingdom. We are also inspected by the Local Authorities, who we get our contracts from. Back to the top.

If I suspect someone under the care of Avens is being abused, what should I do?

Avens has a whistleblowing policy where we encourage all staff, customers, service users, family, friends and other professionals to report any signs of abuse immediately to a manager so that we can investigate and safeguard. Avens takes abuse very seriously and we have zero tolerance attitude to abuse.

If you suspect that someone in our care is being abused, please contact the agency manager in your area immediately. We would also encourage you to contact CQC, the local authority (East Sussex County Council or Northamptonshire County Council) and the Police if you think someone is in immediate danger. Back to the top.

What does multidisciplinary mean?

Multidisciplinary means that Avens is very proud to work alongside several other professional bodies and organisations to ensure that the care we provide is the very best we can deliver. We do this by working with the NHS, local support groups and teams, CQC; who regulate all of Health and Social Care in order to protect those who are vulnerable, the local authorities (ESCC and NCC); who place all of our contracts and many others.

This means that Avens is not an island, but instead part of a web of interconnected work forces that combine together to create the best possible support that someone might need, from their home to out in the community.

This level of partnership means that we are constantly under supervision and inspection from our peers, which only improves the service that we offer. Back to the top.