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Outline the role of the Health Care Assistant (HCA) in the day to day
provision of care for the older person.
The Health Care Assistant (HCAs) duty in the daily provision of care for the
older person is significant and usually necessary. One of the more important role
for the HCAs is providing for the personal needs of the older individuals. The
elder will need assistance with bathing, using the bathroom, dressing and
personal grooming, and many more aspects of maintaining personal hygiene.
Another aspect of care is mobility. This is important to the elderly, even if it is
just within their own surroundings. Proper mobility leads to safety and prevention
of falls and injuries. HCAs make sure they are properly fitted for either a
wheelchair, motorized mobility chair, walker or cane. HCAs can encourage the
installation a wheelchair ramp, hand rails and wider door wells to make getting
around the house hassle-free. A hospital bed, shower chair, lift or tripod bar may
assist with getting up from bed or staying safe in the shower.
Moreover, majority if not all senior citizens need proper medication to remain
healthy. This begins with adequate medical care, such as doctor's visits, dental
care, foot care, eye care, physical therapy and psychiatric therapy, if needed.
Health Care Assistants can assist with taking their pills or giving shots of insulin,
and many more tasks related to medication administration. HCAs can aid in
preventing the medication to be taken the wrong way, mixed up, or abused,
because consequences can be fatal and life threatening.
Last but not the least, the elderly needs help in maintaining proper nutrition
and exercise to stay healthy and enjoy a comfortable life. Meals can be prepared
by Health Care Assistants weekly so it is easier for the senior citizen to heat and
eat a warm meal every day. HCAs can also plan for an exercise program suited

for the specific elderly. Regular exercise protects from chronic disease, improves
mood and lowers chances of injury.
2. Explore the range of the older persons needs in relation to Maslows
Hierarchy of Needs.
The elderlys needs in terms of physiology are the same as everyone. All
people, no matter their age, start with the most basic of requirements which
include food, drink, shelter, sleep and treatment of illness and injury are all
fundamental to living. According to experts, although essential, meeting
physiological needs is more about survival and does not necessarily ensure
quality of life for the aged. The second level of Maslows Hierarchy of Needs is
the need for security and for the elderly desire a sense of security but also
independence. This is a dilemma that many adult children of aging parents worry
about and often the source of conflict because older people tend to react with
anger at being treated like a toddler, especially from their offspring. Sensitivity is
needed when discussing security concerns. It is wise to replace that loss through
transportation services and in-home care. Next in the hierarchy is social needs.
Due to health issues or lack of ability to get out, the older person often find their
social opportunities diminishing and they spend more of their time alone. Being
connected socially becomes a key quality of life concern for the elderly. They
need opportunities to become involved socially with family, friends, and the

Attending functions at the local senior centers, volunteering or

connecting through social media can help them feel like a contributing member
of society. The fourth need according the Abraham Maslow is self-esteem needs.
The loss of self-worth from a limiting illness, disability, or frailty is devastating to
an elders wellbeing and can be linked to depression and increased mortality.
Caregivers need to add to their loved ones quality of life by working together on
project that boost self-esteem. Enjoying hobbies or pursuing projects such as

writing memoirs, or constructing a legacy album or recording family stories can

elevate self-esteem. The final human need based on Maslows Hierarchy is selfactualization needs. This is the highest rung of the hierarchy and only a few
people reach this state. With all the experience of life and maturity, the elderly
should be prime candidates to reach self-actualization. Yet the process of aging
often strips our elders of the higher levels of the self-actualization, self-esteem
and social connection, leaving todays aging just hanging on to the lower levels
of survival.
3. Explore the role of the HCA in the promotion of positive aging.
Health care assistants have a great chance to promote positive aging among
the elderly. There are a number of ways to prevent, delay or manage some of the
physical, psychological, social and personal challenges people face as they age,
the first is having a positive attitude. HCAs can help the elderly have a positive
attitude by allowing them to make choices and have control over important
aspects of their care and life, and encourage them to take part in and enjoy
activities with friends and family. This allow them to feel good and positive about
themselves and get more out of life. The second key management the HCAs can
provide to achieve a positive aging is by Encouraging social networks through
membership of clubs, engaging in group activities, keeping in touch with family,
interaction with others which prevents isolation and promotes good mental
health and physical activity. Social involvement and relationships with others are
associated with positive ageing and feeling optimistic about life. HCAs can also
help promote positive aging by keeping the brain active by encouraging reading
a book or the newspaper, learning a new hobby, or problem solving (for example
doing crosswords). Keeping the brain active, alert and flexible can promote good
mental health and positive aging throughout the lifespan. Another way to reach a
positive aging is by having a healthy, balanced diet. Eating a healthy diet is

important to maintaining a healthy weight, which will help to reduce the

likelihood of developing conditions such as diabetes. A healthy weight will also
improve energy levels and make it easier to participate in daily activities. Last
but not the least, HCAs can help promote and achieve a positive aging for the
elderly by encouraging physical activity. Exercise is a great way to maintain good
health, helps them thinking positively, recover from illness and reduce the risk of
disease. It has been demonstrated that physical fitness is more important than
weight loss. Plan with the elderly to undertake at least 30 minutes of moderate
exercise, such as walking, every day.

4. Explore the role of the HCA in the recognition of cultural differences

amongst older people.
Our heritage influences everything from our values and beliefs, to our
thoughts, communication style and behavior, including beliefs about health and
care. Health Care Assistants have a great deal of responsibility in recognizing
and genuinely embracing cultural differences amongst all level and ages of
society and most especially amongst older people. Many older people may not
share the same values, beliefs, attitudes or experiences. HCAs need to be
sensitive to how they interact with and respect others. HCAs must accept
someones behaviors and decisions about health and care without judging it
based on what that behaviors and decisions mean in his or her own culture.
Health Care Assistants must actively listen with empathy and understanding to
the persons view of the situation and then clarify through asking culturally
relevant questions which also shows a respectful interest in the persons beliefs.
HCAs must acknowledge that there are similarities among cultures but there are
also differences, sometimes, vast differences in beliefs. Rather than question the
rightfulness of the actions, HCAs can be resourceful and research and learn and
try to understand why such actions are done by the person with the different
cultural background and heritage. And then Health Care Assistants can explain to
the older individual what their actions and behaviors mean in his or her own
culture. For example, be aware of differences in etiquette in terms of personal
space, physical touch, eye contact and hand gestures vary from one culture to
the next. HCAs may then demonstrate or describe his or her cultures behaviors
for similar feelings or meanings, so they can learn new behaviors that will them
function in the HCAs culture. Avoid trying to be funny by making jokes or
insensitive comments about others because it can be hurtful and offensive.
Being more sensitive to people who are culturally different from can help HCAs

render the best care for and support them in ways that are consistent with their
values, beliefs and preferences.

5. Outline the requirements for effective communication with an older

Effective communication is generally complex and is the key in building a
solid rapport between care givers, most especially in cases between a caregiver
and an older person. The first requirement for effective communication with an
older person is to understand and empathize with them. They have been brought
up in a very different era with difference value systems and traditions, which
results to a different set of ideals and expectations that may not be the same or
accepted by care providers of today. Communication can also be hindered by the
normal aging process, which may involve physical, psychological and social
changes, the elderly have to adjust too with their bodies. First thing in the
morning, it is important to make older people feel important, Staff members
should greet patients warmly and should introduce themselves by stating their
name. Another requirement is having patience, allow extra time for older
persons. Because of their increased need for information and their likelihood to
communicate poorly, to be nervous and to lack focus, older patients are going to
require additional time. Care givers must not appear rushed or uninterested or
else older people will sense it and shut down. Another requirement for effective
communication is talking face to face and keeping eye contact at all times. Eye












communication. It tells them that the care giver is interested in them and they
can be trusted. Maintaining eye contact creates a more positive, comfortable
atmosphere that may result in additional information from the older people. It is
always vital that the care staff must speak slowly, clearly, and loudly. The staff
must also be ready to physically escort and assist the older persons anytime. The
staff must make sure the older person is comfortable and that any immediate

needs are filled to keep them relaxed and focused. As a result of effective
communication, care will become easier and more effective as well.

6. Explore the needs of the care staff who work with Older People.
There are many needs by the care staff who work with older people. Caring
for the elderly is a highly skilled occupation, though it is not always recognized
as such. Caring for the elderly requires patience and compassion and the ability
to see the person, rather than a resident or patient, or less.
Care providers must have moving and handling skills. Caring for the elderly
almost always involves some moving and handling. Elderly people frequently
have mobility problems, some quite severe. They may need help to mobilize, to
stand or to bathe. Moving and handling often involves the use of equipment. This
equipment must be checked before using and operating safely. Proper
techniques must be used to move residents if injuries to them and the care
provider himself or herself are to be avoided.
Care staff must also be skilled in helping older persons to eat and drink.
Meeting the nutritional needs of the elderly person is paramount. Many elderly
people have difficulties eating and drinking as a result of illness or frailty. Lack of
adequate food and drink leads to further problems, and must be avoided. The
elderly person may just need a little help, perhaps to cut up his or her food, or
may need to be fed. The care provider should maintain as much of the older
persons independence as possible, and always maintain his or her privacy and
dignity. The person should be fed safely, and helped to tidy himself or herself
A care giver must possess communication skills because effective verbal and
nonverbal communication is important when providing care for the elderly.
Having patience is also key. Trying to hurry or rush will likely cause frustration
and nervousness. If assistance is needed, only help with the steps the individual
finds difficult, and allow him or her to do the rest. Moreover, an effective care

staff member needs to have organization skills. Good organization is needed for
proper medicine administration and scheduling.

7. Discuss services available to the Older Person in Ireland.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides public health and social care
services to everyone living in Ireland. The HSE provides a wide range of services
for people growing older in Ireland. Also, the HSE provides a broad range of
services for older people in our community, including in-patient acute services,
step down and convalescent care, day services, rehabilitation, community
services, home care and home helps. The Health Service Executive have Home
Care Packages that help an older person to be cared for in their own home. The
services, for example additional home help hours, nursing services, therapy
services, might be needed due to illness, disability or after a stay in hospital or
following rehabilitation in a nursing home. These extra services and supports are
over and above the normal community services that the HSE provides. Another
program for an older person in Ireland is Nursing Homes Support Scheme, it is a
scheme of financial support for people who need long-term nursing home care.
Under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, the older person will make a
contribution towards the cost of care and the State (government) will pay the
balance. This great program applies whether the nursing home is public, private
or voluntary. Another program available in Ireland is Nursing Homes. Respite care
and public and private nursing and residential care is usually needed after a spell
in hospital, where the older person is ready to leave the general hospital, but not
quite well enough yet to manage at home alone. It can also be the best option
when an older person becomes unable to live alone, through illness or disability.
Another service for the elderly is the Elder Abuse Service. This service is for
victims of elder Abuse, are concerned and have questions about abuse, or if a
person suspects someone they know that may be a victim of abuse. Another
program provided by the HSE is the Health Promotion services which give
advises on maintaining healthy lifestyles and preventing illness and injury.

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James H. Johnson, PhD & Lily Sarafan, MS. 2011, Home Care
Assistance, Inc., Retrieved July 14, 2015, from
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Retrieved July 14, 2015, from
4. Putcha, C., & Fitzwater, E. (2011, October 3). Aging and Ethnicity:
Embracing Cultural Differences. Retrieved July 4, 2015, from
5. Robinson, T., White, G., & Houchins, J. (2006, September 6).
Improving Communication with Older Patients: Tips from the
Literature. Retrieved July 15, 2015, from
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of the Elderly? Retrieved July 15, 2015, from
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from http://www.hse.ie/portal/eng/services/list/4/olderpeople.