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Health and Wellbeing
A Health and Well-being Wales Partner

If you have never worked in a social care or health environment, it can be terrifying to be suddenly faced with a houseful of medical equipment, hoists, alarms and sensors.

If you are new to caring or the person you are looking after is very frail or ill you might be afraid of hurting the other person if you make a mistake or fail to take proper precautions.

When you are caring for someone who is heavy or unable to move easily, it is more likely to be you at risk – of doing long-term damage to your back.

Practical training will equip you with the skills and confidence to carry out the day-to-day tasks of caring.

Remember that practical training is not always formal – often it will involve a social care or health professional coming to your home and showing you what to do.

Medical equipment/treatment

If the person you are looking after requires medical equipment at home, the community (district) nurse will show you how to use it.

They will also show you how to carry out simple medical treatment like changing dressings or feeding someone through a tube. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Moving and handling at home

The community nurse will also be able to advise you how to move and handle the other person, using specialist equipment like slide sheets, transfer boards or hoists.

If the other person is not receiving any medical treatment, ask your local council if they are willing to provide you with moving and handling training.

Never struggle to move someone on your own as you are likely to end up hurting them – or yourself. Ask your local council to re-assess the other person’s care and support needs – and your support needs as their carer.

First aid

St John Cymru Wales runs half-day basic first aid, and child and infant first aid courses for the general public at its training centres.

The Red Cross has produced online videos showing what to do in specific situations, for example, when someone is choking or having a seizure or asthma attack. The advice is also available on a free app.

Last updated: 09/02/2023