10 skills of a support worker and a good carer in 2020

Not everyone is cut out and has the carer skills needed for a career in domiciliary/home care or support work.

A good care worker, support worker or care assistant requires special caring skills – some of which can’t be learned or earned but are naturally part of an individual’s personality.

10 skills of a support worker

1 – Patience

2 – A cheery demeanour

3 – The ability to multi-task

4 – Being able to think quickly

5 – Punctuality

6 – Willingness to learn

7 – Being a good listener

8 – Kindness and empathy

9 – Willingness to go the extra mile

10 – Being able to take responsibility

You can read more about the above skills below.


What makes a good carer?

In this article we explore the ten most important care skills and qualities when you think about what makes a good carer.  It’s also worth remembering that this also applies to support worker skills and qualities, as there are a lot of similarities in the role.

So how many care or support worker skills do you possess – and what should you look out for when sourcing private home care?

10 qualities of a carer

1 – Patience – an important carer skill!

If you are looking at how to become a care worker, patience is of course key when dealing with patients and service users with diminished capabilities. Sometimes they may be slower at moving about or explaining what they need. They may also be difficult or frustrated, prone to taking that out on their carer.

Remaining calm and patient no matter how stressful the task at hand may be is truly a skill and is incredibly important, as anger or irritability can affect a care worker’s ability to do their job and can of course upset patients.



2 – A cheery demeanour – An essential carer skill

A smile is sometimes more powerful than a thousand words.

A carer or support worker might be the only person an individual comes into contact with during their day, so if they are pleasant, friendly and personable this could make a real difference and demonstrated core carer skills.

A cheerful demeanour also puts patients at ease and helps them to feel comfortable – and this is especially important if a care worker is dealing with personal care requirements.

3 – The ability to multi-task – An essential support worker skill

When you are looking at how to become a carer, one of the key things you need to consider is your ability to multi-task.

Often carers are expected to work alone or as part of small teams, which can lead to them frequently being overstretched with lots to do. Good care skills mean you step up to the challenge and can effectively deal with more than one task at once whilst ensuring that the level of care they provide remains high.


4 – Being able to think quickly – An essential care assistant skill

The very nature of care means that things can change quickly – especially when patients have severe care needs.

Therefore, one of the skills of a support worker, or a good carer, is their ability to think on their feet and deal with unexpected occurrences and difficult situations can be invaluable – and can even save lives.



5 – Punctuality  – Qualities for all carers

This is especially crucial when working in a home care capacity – because often those receiving care look forward to or plan their day around care provision. If a carer is late it can be disruptive or disappointing and may even impact on the level and amount of care that person receives if their time is restricted.

6 – Willingness to learn – a key skill for any care worker

Good carers and support workers are never satisfied with their level of training or ability. They always want to learn more, progress further, be better at what they do and provide the best care possible.

7 – Being a good listener – something that all cares of all types have to show

Naturally people receiving care often have stories to tell or feel they need someone to talk to – especially elderly patients.

Therefore, having good, and patient, listening skills is one of the many qualities of a carer for the elderly.

Great carers take time to listen – both to the feedback they receive and any issues patients share with them, but also in a personal capacity.


8 – Kindness and empathy – a key skill to work with the elderly

A little kindness goes such a long way when looking at at support worker skills, especially when you are looking at qualities and skills of a carer for the elderly – and it is often greatly appreciated by patients.

When a carer is able to put themselves into the shoes of their patient they can truly appreciate what a difference they can make.



9 – Willingness to go the extra mile – a quality for all care assistants

Good caring skills mean that you will often stay past you clocking off time if it means a patient is properly attended to.

They’ll go out of their way to find the snacks a patient loves, sit for longer than they should as they talk about their family, or signpost them to other services when they indicate that they are struggling or need more support.

It’s these little touches that make a really good carer – and could make a huge difference to patients, especially where you are looking at qualities of a carer for the elderly.

10 – Being able to take responsibility

Ultimately carers often have great responsibility placed upon their shoulders. The best carers take this in their stride and never underestimate the importance of the work they do.

They also fully accept any mistakes they make and understand that nobody is perfect – taking something from errors and mishaps rather than blaming their rota or their patient.

Carer skills – How to become a carer

If you do want to become a carer, and feel you have the necessary carer skills, then you can start by approaching some of the companies on our job board looking for staff.  Many will look to take on people with little or no experience.

About the author and her expertise

This article was written by Rose Walters a published writer that has written on a range of care related topics.   Rose writes from a lot of personal experience and is able to bring this in to the writing alongside the specialist knowledge she has on these topics.


Are you looking at becoming a carer? If so, have a look at the range of products you can buy that can help make either your life or the person being cared for much easier.