The role of a Health Care Assistant

24 June 2022

Care worker having a water pistol fight with resident

What is a Health Care Assistant?

A Health Care Assistant supports people with all aspects of their day-to-day living.

This might include supporting someone to get dressed in the morning, eat their meals, socialise with family and friends, take up new hobbies and access education or work.

Health Care Assistants can work in a residential care home, in people’s own homes or in the community.

What are the duties of the Health Care Assistant?

A Health Care Assistant empowers people to live their best lives by supporting them with daily activities such as getting washed and dressed, eating and drinking throughout the day, socialising and taking part in activities, and going out into the local community.  

As a general guide, the duties of a Health Care Assistant may include:

  • personal care – empowering people to self-care as much as possible and helping people to get ready for the day
  • companionship – providing friendly company and emotional support
  • social activities – encouraging people to take part in activities that are meaningful to them, both inside and outside the home
  • meal times – encouraging people to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and when required, assisting them at meal times
  • getting around – providing an arm to lean on or assisting people with their mobility through aids and equipment 
  • care plans – ensuring that care is provided in line with people’s choices as outlined in their care plans, and keeping care plans up-to-date.

What skills and qualifications do you need to be a Health Care Assistant?

The most important skills a Health Care Assistant must demonstrate is care and patience.

Some other skills include:

  • excellent communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm
  • great team work.

When applying for a Health Care Assistant job, it might be helpful to have a social care qualification such as a:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Preparing to Work for Health and Social Care
  • Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care.

It will also help to have qualifications that show good English and number skills such as GCSE A-C in English and maths.

However, if you don’t have a qualification, don’t worry – you can do them when you’re in the job. What’s really important is that you have the right values and behaviours.

Are there any career progression opportunities as a Health Care Assistant?

Becoming a Health Care Assistant is a great entry job into the health and social care sector.

There are lots of career progression opportunities for Health Care Assistants.

When you start in the role, you’ll do a thorough induction to learn more about the role and the people you’ll be supporting.

If you’re new to care, you’ll complete the Care Certificate which covers the minimum standards that everyone working in social care needs to know.  

As a Health Care Assistant, you’ll have opportunities to do a vocational qualification such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care or a continuing professional development qualification such as in dementia, end of life or autism care.

At Exemplar Health Care you can do our in-house ABC of Caring training programme (that’s been certificated by the CPD Certification Service).

When you have the right experience, knowledge and skills, you could progress into a Senior Health Care Assistant role, and manage a team on your unit. You can also train to become a Nursing Associate which offers a great progression route into nursing.

Some of our Health Care Assistants become champions in their home, such as a Training Champion, which can lead to progression into our Central Services.

There are lots of Central Services roles such as administration, recruitment, marketing and training.

Becoming a Health Care Assistant with Exemplar Health Care

At Exemplar Health Care, our Health Care Assistants, also sometimes called Care Workers or Support Workers, support people with all aspects of their day-to-day living.

Many of our service users are of working age and are keen to stay active and learn new skills. Your role may include supporting people to take up new hobbies, meet friends, get involved in social activities, go to the gym or look their best!

Our homes have higher than average staffing levels compared to other care providers – there’ll usually be up to six Health Care Assistants on each unit, supporting ten service users. This gives you more time to spend with the people you support.

Our Health Care Assistant roles offer:

  • high staffing levels so you have time to make a difference
  • a fun role with younger service users
  • a thorough induction to welcome you to the role and your team
  • excellent training including ABC of Caring programme and Trainee Nursing Associate apprenticeship
  • career progression opportunities.

If you apply to become a Health Care Assistant, you could start working with us in as little as three weeks.

If you’d like to find out more, visit our Health Care Assistant job vacancies or get in touch.