Tricks of the Trade

This document outlines tips & tricks to ensure the safety of our community.

At Like Family, we have a number of core values that were developed to ensure every interaction within our community feels safe, respectful, and positive. Every Member, Social Carer, and Like Family staff member is expected to uphold our values and follow the guidelines surrounding them at all times.

Genuine Care: “We demonstrate kindness and compassion in every interaction.”

Trustworthy -We keep our promises and honour others' privacy.

Reliable - “We can be counted on and are always there when needed.

Respectful to all - “We are inclusive and respectful to all in our diverse community.”


Roles and Responsibilities of Social Carers (SC)

A Social Carer is a person who provides assistance or support with daily activities. This can include low-care activities such as cooking, personal admin, grocery shopping, housekeeping, help with meals and encouragement of behaviours that enhance community involvement. This training focuses on the skills, knowledge and abilities that have been identified as light services and companionship.

The list of things that a SC can and cannot do depends on the setting and the job description. These are some common tasks for a SC:

  • Personal care: helping a person choose an outfit, assisting a person with eating
  • Running errands and shopping
  • Taking a client to appointments
  • Chores around the house: cleaning, meal preparation
  • Help a person become more self-sufficient: teach and encourage them to live the most independent lifestyle

In order to know job expectations and responsibilities, a SC should carefully read and understand the job descriptions provided by the member on A SC also needs to become familiar with the client and their needs.

The fact that a SC knows how to do a lot of things does not mean that the SC will provide all of these services to every person.

Philosophy of Providing Direct Care


All people have rights, abilities and freedom of choice. Like Family supports these principles.

  • Independence: The freedom to direct one’s life and the ability to do things for yourself when possible.
  • Choice: Each client chooses what to do and when to do it – caregivers do not tell them what to do.
  • Dignity: Each individual is a person. Each person needs respect, privacy and to be treated in the way that he or she wants to be treated. When people need assistance, they still need to feel that they are valued and in control of their lives.
  • People can learn: Some people may be slower, some need assistance, some have only a little energy. All can learn and develop.
  • Person-centred approach: Assistance or support is given when and how the person needs it. For example, a person from another culture may prefer certain foods, or some people want a lot of assistance while others want less.
  • Consumer-direction: Where possible, the client tells the caregivers what to do, when it’s to be done, and how to do it.


Autonomy and Independent Living

Independent living and autonomy are important values to the Like Family community. Everyone has the freedom to make their own decisions and decide on their own potential to fully integrate into the community.

What does this mean?

Everyone is in charge of their own life. Members may need your assistance for specific tasks, but they remain in control of their own decisions. It does not mean that members should be left doing everything by themselves – they might require supervised assistance around the house. The opportunity for independent living and autonomy is essential to the well-being of people with disabilities and limited functionality.

Older Adults

As people get older, movement and tasks tend to take more time. It is normal that younger people can become impatient and show disrespect. Age discrimination is all too common in our society and we see older adults as being too slow. If you work with older adults, it is important to have the right mindset. Keep in mind a few principles:

  • Older adults can do a lot and can still learn new skills.
  • Older people have experience and wisdom. They may not know everything you know, but they know a lot.
  • Always treat an older adult as an adult. Adults are not children.
  • Older people have interests, likes and dislikes. They want to make their own choices.

Legal Terms and Definitions

Abandonment is the action or fact of abandoning or being abandoned.

Assault is harmful or offensive contact with a person. An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause harm.

Battery is a criminal offence involving the unlawful physical acting upon a threat and is distinct from assault which is the act of creating apprehension of such contact.

False imprisonment is a restraint of a person in a bounded area without justification or consent.

Fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain.

Invasion of privacy is the intrusion into the personal life of another without just cause. This can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded.

Liability is a hindrance that puts an individual or group at a disadvantage. It is also the position in which someone is responsible for something.

Malpractice is negligent conduct by a professional person that results in damage to others, such as the misdiagnosis of a serious illness.

Negligence is a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances.


Distinction between Law and Ethics


Law is a system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour. Laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations or by judges through binding precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions.

Ethics is a system of moral values; a set of principles of conscientious conduct.

Avoiding Legal Action

Confidentiality: Do not discuss confidential information with anyone. Confidential information may include medical, financial, or family issues.

Only perform work assigned: If you perform a task that was not assigned in the job description, you become liable for those actions. All tasks and jobs should be disclosed and explained on the Like Family platform before you accept the work.

Complete the work assigned: When you fail or forget to do all of the tasks assigned, you may put your client at risk. As a result of your failure to act, you might be found negligent. Again, it is important that you understand the care or support plan for the client. You must do all the tasks assigned to you as described in the plan – no more and no less.

Do not leave any half-done jobs: When you fail or forget to do all of the tasks assigned, you may put your client at risk. As a result of your failure to act, you might be found negligent. Again, it is important that you understand the care and job description for the client. You must do all the tasks assigned to you as discussed on the Like Family platform – no more and no less.

Report misconduct or abuse: Ensure that you report any misconduct and abuse to Like Family as soon as possible.

Ethical Principles


Honesty: Do not be afraid to politely say “no” to a task that you are not assigned to do. Also, do not be afraid to admit that you do not know an answer to a question or how to do a task. Never steal, take a client’s possessions or falsify documents or reports.

Respect: An individual’s religious or personal beliefs and values may differ from yours. Acknowledge and respect those differences.

Loyalty: Arrive for assignments 5 - 10 minutes before schedule. Always finish your shift, even if a client is being difficult or the workload is difficult. You can address those problems by discussing this with the member or raise it with Like Family if the discussion is unsuccessful after you have finished your shift.


You should not accept gifts or tips.

Follow the client’s requirements.

Take pride in doing your job well.


Member Rights

Members have the right to:

  • Consideration and respect
  • Kindness, politeness, and not to be offended emotionally, sexually, financially or physically
  • Refuse service if a SC is not following ethical or legal practice
  • Privacy
  • File a complaint with Like Family
  • Confidential handling of their personal information

Each client chooses which services they want to receive. They may also choose how services are provided. For example, each person chooses what clothes to wear and what food to eat. Having choices improves the well-being of a person and makes them more independent. The SC should respect the client’s choices. As a SC, if you are concerned about a choice, explain why you are concerned, discuss an alternative, contact Like Family for instructions if required and document what has happened.


Social Carer Rights

SC’s have the right to:

  • File a complaint without the fear of retaliation
  • Not be abused emotionally, sexually, financially or physically
  • Work in a safe environment
  • Provide input for changes or the level of care required to a client’s service
  • Be informed when a client files a complaint against him or her through a confidential investigation, a fair hearing, and to be told the outcome when addressing complaints against him or her
  • Receive timely payment for services including salary, where appropriate


The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) regulates how personal information is handled. The Privacy Act defines personal information as:

“…information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.”

Common examples are an individual’s name, signature, address, telephone number, date of birth, medical records, bank account details and commentary or opinion about a person.

The Privacy Act includes thirteen Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which apply to some private sector organisations as well as to most Australian and Norfolk Island Government agencies. These are collectively referred to as APP entities. The Privacy Act also regulates the privacy component of the consumer credit reporting system, tax file numbers and health and medical research.

The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which are contained in schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), outline how most Australian and Norfolk Island Government agencies, all private sector and not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, all private health service providers and some small businesses (collectively called ‘APP entities’) must handle, use and manage personal information.

Like Family complaints handling process treats each person making a complaint in a manner that protects their privacy and respects their confidentiality by;

  • Keeping their information safe and the details of the complaint private.
  • Assessing the complaints and seeking a resolution in confidentiality.
  • Mediating and negotiating conflicts between two parties as a neutral third party.

Components of Effective Communication


The Communication Process

Communication in home care is essential as you represent yourself, the client and Like Family. Sharing accurate information and observations with the client’s family and the agency improves the care for the client.

The goal of communication is the acceptance of the sender's message by the receiver. If the receiver understands the meaning of a message and perceives it the same as the sender, the goal of communication is achieved. The sender gets input as to how the receiver has perceived the message via feedback from the receiver. If the feedback never comes or if the feedback is not what the sender expects, communication is ineffective.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication uses words. Often we use the word verbal to mean oral, or spoken, language. But verbal communication also includes writing and different ways of expressing words. Sign language and Braille are also considered as verbal communication. Braille is the writing system that uses raised dots to express the letters of the alphabet.


Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication does not use words. There are several categories: facial expressions, head movements, hand and arm gestures, physical space, touching, eye contact and physical postures. Even a person’s emotions or how she dresses can influence the communication process.


As much as 90% of communication can be non-verbal.

Non-verbal means no words are used.

Have you ever visited a country and didn’t speak the language? How important was non-verbal communication?

When verbal and non-verbal communication are combined effectively, a stronger message can be sent. A completely different message is sent if the verbal and non-verbal communications do not agree.



Attitudes influence our communication in three ways:

  • Attitudes toward ourselves (the sender).
  • Attitudes toward the receiver.
  • Attitudes of the receiver toward the sender.

An attitude is an expression of favour or disfavour towards a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport once described attitudes as "the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology". Attitudes can be formed from a person's past and present. Key topics in the study of attitudes include attitude measurement, attitude change, consumer behaviour, and attitude-behaviour relationships

Dress Code

This one should be easy… don’t go to someone’s house looking like an extra from The Walking Dead! First impressions are crucial if you want to receive more and consistent work hours.

  • Avoid Singlets
  • Preferably long pants
  • No thongs or sandals

Showing Respect

It is important to treat adults with respect. As a SC, you may work with people who have a hearing or speaking disorder. Perhaps they take longer to respond or you may sometimes have to repeat the message. It is disrespectful to treat an adult person as a child.

  • Do not talk down to a person who has language difficulties.
  • Use adult language; don’t use baby talk.
  • Use adult words. For example, adults use “briefs”, not “diapers”.
  • Choose adult books and TV programs for your clients.
  • Let each person make choices, don’t de
  • cide for them.

Show respect for people with disabilities.

The following Communication Styles for people with disabilities have been taken from The Arizona Direct Care Curriculum Project. Their research is detailed and aligns with the values that we share at Like Family.


Vision Impairment:

  • It is appropriate to offer your help if you think it is needed, but don’t be surprised if the person would rather do it himself.
  • If you are uncertain as to how you can help, ask the one who needs assistance.
  • When addressing a person who is blind, it is helpful to call them by name or touch them gently on the arm.
  • Do not touch the person’s guide dog.
  • Let the person hold on to you versus you holding them.
  • When walking into a room, identify yourself.


Hearing Impairment:

  • If necessary, get the person’s attention with a wave of the hand, a tap on the shoulder, or another signal.
  • Speak clearly and slowly, but without exaggerating your lip movements or shouting (sound may become distorted with shouting).
  • Give the person time to understand and respond.
  • Be flexible in your language. If the person experiences difficulty understanding what you are saying, rephrase your statement rather than repeating it. If difficulties persist, write it down.
  • Keep background noise at a minimum – turn off the TV, step away from others who are talking.
  • Place yourself in good lighting. Keep hands and food away from your face.
  • Look directly at the person and speak expressively.


Language Impairment (Aphasia):

Some people can speak but not write. Others can write but not speak. Such language disorders are called aphasia and are often the results of a brain injury from an accident or a stroke, but it does not affect intelligence.

  • Get the person’s attention before you speak.
  • Reduce background noise. Turn off the TV.
  • Use simple communication, but keep it adult. An example is providing “yes/no” choices.
  • Don’t speak louder and don’t talk down to the person.
  • Use and encourage different communication techniques: writing, drawing, gestures etc.
  • Give the person time to respond.
  • Give feedback to encourage the person; don’t correct or criticise.


Emotional/Mental Health Impairment:

A person with an emotional or behavioural health issue may have distorted thinking. He or she may hear voices, see things that aren’t there, be paranoid, or have difficulty communicating effectively. Usually, this does not mean that the person is aggressive unless he or she feels threatened. Here are some communication guidelines to use:

  • If the person has difficulty having a conversation with you, he or she may be able to enjoy your company in other ways. Consider watching the TV, listening to music, playing cards or reading to them. Talk about childhood events.
  • Allow the person to have personal space in the room. Don't stand over them or get too close – this includes touching the person. Be aware that the person may hit you if you try a soothing touch.
  • Don't block the doorway.
  • Avoid continuous eye contact.
  • Try to remain calm with a soothing approach. Speak with a slow-paced and low-toned voice.
  • Use short, simple sentences to avoid confusion. If necessary, repeat statements and questions using the same words.


Cognitive/Memory Impairment:

A person with cognitive or memory impairment has difficulty thinking, reasoning, and remembering. These individuals can become very embarrassed or frustrated if you ask them names, dates, what they had to eat, who called, etc. Since their long-term memory is much more intact, they may dwell on events in the past and not remember such things as a relative’s death or that a child has grown and married.

Do not argue with the person. If the person tells you that he is waiting for his wife to come and you know that his wife died several years ago, do not state, “You know your wife died several years ago”. The person may get mad because he feels that you are wrong or become grief-stricken because he has just learned that his wife died. It would be better to reassure the person that everything is all right and that his wife has probably just been delayed. Then divert his attention to an activity.

Treat each person as an individual with talents and abilities deserving of respect and dignity. Individuals can usually tell if they are being talked down to like a child, which can make the situation worse.

A Guide To Wheelchair Etiquette

Ask permission.

Always ask the person if they would like assistance before you help. It may be necessary for the person to give you some instructions before assistance. An unexpected push could throw the person off balance.

Be respectful.

A person’s wheelchair is part of their body space and should be treated with respect. Don’t hang or lean on it unless you have the person’s permission. When a person transfers out of the wheelchair to a chair, toilet, car or another object, do not move the wheelchair out of reaching distance.

Speak directly.

Be careful not to exclude the person from conversations. Speak directly to the person and, if the conversation lasts for more than a few minutes, sit down or kneel to get yourself on the same level as the person in the wheelchair. Also, don’t pat a person who is in a wheelchair on the head as it is a degrading gesture.

Give clear instructions.

When giving instructions to a person in a wheelchair, be sure to include distance, weather conditions and physical obstacles which may hinder travel.

Act natural.

It is okay to use expressions like “running along” when speaking to a person in a wheelchair. It is likely that the person expresses things the same way.


Questions are okay.

It is alright for children (or adults) to ask questions about wheelchairs and disabilities. Children have a natural curiosity that needs to be satisfied so that they do not develop fearful or misleading attitudes. Most people are not offended by questions that people ask about their disabilities or wheelchairs.

Some people who use a wheelchair for mobility can walk.

Be aware of the person’s capabilities. Some people can walk with aids, such as braces, walkers or crutches, but use wheelchairs some of the time to conserve energy and move about more quickly.

People who use a wheelchair for mobility are not sick.

Don’t classify people who use wheelchairs as sick. Although wheelchairs are often associated with hospitals, they are used for a variety of non-contagious disabilities.

Relationships are important.

Remember that people in wheelchairs can enjoy fulfilling relationships which may also develop into marriage and family. They have physical needs like everyone else.

Wheelchair use provides freedom.

Don’t assume that using a wheelchair is, in itself, a tragedy. It is a means of freedom which allows the person to move about independently. Structural barriers in public places create some inconveniences, however, most public areas are becoming wheelchair accessible.

People-First Language

A very useful concept for communication is people-first language. For example, saying "people with disabilities" can sound less offensive than saying "the Handicapped or disabled".

Cultural definitions and awareness

Culture: In the words of E.B. Tylor, culture is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."

Cultural competency: Requires that organizations have a defined set of values and principles and demonstrate behaviours, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally.

Cultural awareness: Is the foundation of communication that involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions.

Cross-cultural: Cross-culture is a vital factor in this business as the success of trade and agreements depends upon the smooth interaction of Social Carers and Members from different cultures and regions.

Ethnicity: Is a category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural or national experiences. Unlike most other social groups, ethnicity is primarily an inherited status.

Race: A group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics.

Fire, Safety and Emergency Procedure

The emergency procedure is a plan that outlines actions to be conducted in a certain order or manner, in response to an emergency event.

Care workers have a duty of care to provide assistance to clients in an emergency situation within Home Care guidelines and their own level of expertise. With this in mind, the following information provides guidance on Home Care procedures to follow when confronted with an emergency situation in a client’s home. At the end of this fact sheet, there will be a list of important steps to take when contacting an ambulance by dialling 000. Please keep this information with you at all times.


If you arrive at a client’s home and the client does not answer the door:

Refer to the client’s secondary number, their next of kin or the instructions on their profile if they cannot answer the door.

If the client does not have any of this information on their profile:

  • Attempt to contact the client by trying the doors, windows and/or phoning the client.
  • Check with neighbours
  • If unsuccessful, contact Like Family for further instructions. LF will attempt to phone the client and/or call the emergency contact person.
  • If the circumstances appear unusual, out of character, or of concern, the service coordinator should contact the police. If outside of business hours, the police should be contacted.


If a client becomes ill:

  • The client/carer or care worker should seek medical advice and/or assistance immediately.
  • Assess the client’s well-being and, if they are very ill or not responding, dial 000.
  • Determine whether the client is injured or ill. Ask them how they are? Are they able to move their limbs, do they have any pain or breathing difficulties?
  • In the meantime, reassure the client and make them comfortable by placing a pillow or towel under their head and cover with a blanket if they are cold. Do not give them fluid or food. If the client is having breathing difficulty assist the client to a half-sitting position using a pillow for support if the care worker has a competency in first aid.
  • The care worker should notify the service coordinator/branch and may contact the family, carer or doctor.
  • The care worker should remain with the client until the required assistance arrives.


If a client has fallen:

  • The client/carer or care worker should seek medical advice and/or assistance immediately
  • Determine whether the client is injured. Reassure the client. Ask them how they are? Are they able to move their limbs, do they have any breathing difficulties?
  • If someone falls on the floor, under no circumstances should the care worker attempt to lift the client from the floor.
  • If the client is unconscious or seriously injured and requiring emergency care, dial 000 for an ambulance.
  • If the client appears uninjured but is unable to get themselves off the floor, dial 000 for an ambulance.
  • The care worker should remain with the client until the required assistance arrives.
  • If there is no apparent injury and the person is able to help themselves to get themselves off the floor with verbal instruction or with minimal assistance e.g. positioning a chair for support, ensure that you notify your service coordinator.


Outside of business hours:

  • If any of the above situations occur outside of business hours, the care worker will not be able to access the service coordinator.
  • The care worker should contact the ambulance as above or an after-hours contact carer if known.
  • The care worker should advise the service coordinator during the next available business hours.

Calling an Ambulance

The following information outlines what to expect and what questions you will be asked when you dial 000 in an emergency. This information will assist the ambulance in being dispatched without delay.

The emergency response starts as soon as you call 000:

  • The emergency number in Australia is 000. This is a free call from any phone including mobile and public phones.
  • When dialling 000, an operator will ask which services you require – Police, Fire or Ambulance. Ask for the Ambulance Service.
  • You will be asked a standard set of questions by the call-taker to help them get an ambulance to you as soon as possible.
  • Stay calm and speak slowly.


Information asked by the 000 call takers:

  • What is the exact address of the emergency? NB: also provide the nearest cross street if you are aware of those details.
  • What is the phone number you are calling from?
  • What is the problem? Tell me exactly what happened.
  • How old is he/she?
  • Is he/she conscious?
  • Is he/she breathing?


What happens next:

Once you have answered these questions, the first available ambulance will be dispatched. Additional questions will then be asked by the call-taker who will also provide further assistance or instructions depending on the situation.

Remain calm, do not hang up until the call-taker has obtained the required information and always provide accurate information to help an ambulance get to you quickly.


NB: These guidelines have been quoted from and are in accordance with the Home Care Service Personal Care Manual and the Ambulance Service of NSW fact sheet.

To enhance your skills and improve your profile, obtain your First Aid certificate from the following organisations;

Nutrition and Meal Planning for Home Care Services

Please follow the following link to read and understand the principles and guidelines to meal preparation and nutrition.


Assessing, storing and handling chemicals to ensure health and safety

Firstly, SC’s should never handle chemicals or any substances they are not comfortable with.

Under the WHS Regulations, a hazardous chemical is any substance, mixture or article that satisfies the criteria of one or more Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) hazard classes, including a classification in Schedule 6 of the WHS Regulations.

In order to manage risk under the WHS Regulations, all SC’s must:

  1. Identify reasonably foreseeable hazards that could give rise to the risk
  2. Eliminate the risk so far as is reasonably practicable
  3. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk – minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable by implementing control measures in accordance with the hierarchy of risk control
  4. Maintain the implemented control measure so that it remains effective
  5. Review, and if necessary revise all risk control measures so as to maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a work environment that is without risks to health and safety

Workplace infection control

Infection control can be as simple as proper hand hygiene and the use of personal protection equipment as well as the management of sharps and spills in your workplace. Stay safe during flu season and the whole year round.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water
  2. Use a hand sanitiser regularly to avoid the spread 
    of infection
  3. Wipe down your desk, phone and keyboard 
    throughout the day with a cleanser that is at least 70% alcohol
  4. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your inner elbow, covering your nose and mouth
  5. Use and dispose of tissues appropriately
  6. Practice social distancing by staying at least a metre away from clients when you are unwell


Please visit and read the below document from NSW government’s Workcover;


Procedures for assessing and controlling manual handling hazards to ensure safety;


All SC’s should conduct a routine hazard inspection every time they enter a care recipient’s residence. Use this form to assist you to complete risk assessments for hazardous activities and processes. Any serious or ongoing hazards should be reported via Like Family to ensure that appropriate corrective actions are tracked and completed.

Pre-Booking Hazard inspection

Prepared by:
Identify the activity and the location:
Identify who may be at risk:
(This may include fellow workers, students,
visitors, contractors and the public)
Activity or process: 
Persons at risk:
Task or scenario
Associated harm, e.g. what could go wrong?
Existing Risk Controls
Current risk rating
Any additional controls are required?