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Caregiver University: The Most Complete In-Home Caregiver Training

Online learning set up

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 25, 2021

In-home care clients expect more from their caregivers, and a lack of training may be the primary problem. Are you a caregiver looking for the best, most comprehensive Virginia caregiver training program?

In-home care companies recognize the need to train their caregivers in practical and hospitality skills. Do you know the difference between in-home practical skills and hospitality skills? Do you possess these skillsets?

Keep reading to learn all about Commonwise Home Care’s complete caregiving training and how you can participate in an exceptional in-home caregiver training program.


The Fundamentals of Caregiving Training

Unfortunately, caregivers don’t usually receive on-going training and experience upward mobility in their careers. More than that, they aren’t compensated fairly for the valuable work they do day in and day out.

The clinical, or practical piece, has always been part of caregiver training. But what if there’s another piece of caregiver training that’s just as important yet overlooked?

Commonwise Home Care saw the caregiver training gap and decided to step in. Instead of sticking with the status quo, we set out to improve training for home caregivers.

We discovered most elderly clients’ complaints arise from a caregiver’s lack of hospitality, which is a soft skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone.


In-Home Caregiving Soft Skills and Practical Skills

The difference between soft skills and practical skills can be confusing. Not until recently have medical professions seen the need for hospitality skills—including in-home care companies.


Practical Skills

Practical skills are the technical skills that caregivers must learn, the hands-on part of the job:

  • Bathing and toileting
  • Transferring to a wheelchair or bed
  • Feeding and meal prep
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, social events, etc.

Every in-home care company will teach their caregivers practical skills or require that caregivers already possess them. But mastering technical skills can still leave holes in your ability to provide premium home care.

A caregiver may be great at the hands-on aspects of their work, but caregiving is so much more than completing tasks.


Hospitality (Soft) Skills

When a caregiver goes above and beyond the physical needs of a client, that’s showing hospitality. Excellent caregiving considers the emotional well-being of the elderly adult, not just physical ones. 

Caregiver hospitality means knowing how to enter someone’s home, make them feel comfortable with you being there, ask them questions about their life, and build trust in the caregiver/client relationship.

“I really liked the module about being a “guest/host.” I hadn’t thought about how strange it must be for an older adult to invite a caregiver in their home as a guest but then rely on us to take the wheel. Just being aware of that dynamic made me a better caregiver.”              

– Denise, Commonwise Caregiver

Soft skills teach a caregiver how to do practical skills with a “white glove” level of service—exceeding expectations, so the client feels cared for and valued.

Let’s use the practical skill of transportation as an example. If all you know are practical skills, then you’ll shuffle an elderly client into the car, drop them off at their appointment, and drive them home.

Practical skill plus hospitality makes transportation more than driving a client to their appointment. A hospitable caregiver will:

  • Understand that the client might be worried about driving with someone new or having someone else drive their car. 
  • Leave plenty of extra time to get to the appointment without being late. 
  • Make sure they’re comfortable with your driving.
  • Ask if the temperature in the car is okay.
  • Let them pick the radio station.
  • Ask if they want to take the scenic route home.

Hospitality skills involve seeing the client as a human being and having compassion for them, allowing a caregiver to move past doing a job and into the realm of caring for the whole person.


The Best VA Caregiver Training Program: Caregiver University (CU)

At Commonwise Home Care, we aim to provide exceptional service to elderly adults and their families, which is why we provide elderly caregiver training programs to our caregivers.

We developed an in-house training program only available to Commonwise caregivers called Caregiver University (CU). 

Caregiver University is an innovative VA caregiver training program. By merging online training content with in-person skills training, we created an in-home caregiver training program that’s comprehensive and engaging. CU trains participants on both the soft and practical skills caregivers need.

Here’s how caregivers can join the training program and all that it entails.


1. Become a Commonwise Caregiver

The first step to enrolling in this unique in-home caregiver training program is to join the Commonwise family of caregivers. We look for care professionals who want to provide outstanding care to the elderly community.


Benefits of Working at Commonwise

  • We pay generously.
  • We select thoughtfully.
  • We train extensively.
  • We support creatively.
  • We deliver confidently.

We exclusively offer caregiver training through CU. Explore open positions at our VA caregiver services locations in Richmond and Charlottesville.


2. Begin Caregiver University

Once you become a Commonwise caregiver, you will enroll in the CU online training. Whether you have caregiving experience or not, you must complete this online training.

CU takes 6-8 hours to complete, but it isn’t lots of text you need to read through. It’s a collection of engaging and interactive videos, games, flip cards, quizzes, and other stimulating activities helping you learn practical and hospitality skills.


3. In-Person Caregiver Training

Once you’ve completed the online training, you will begin the in-person training portion. The in-person training has two parts:

  1. Welcome Day. Everyone attends Welcome Day. We review and discuss the online training, reinforcing the hospitality aspects. We also review some of the basics of working for Commonwise. After this session, those with prior caregiving training or experience can start taking clients.
  2. Skills Training. This part typically occurs the same day as Welcome Day and lasts a few hours. Skills training is only for people who don’t have previous caregiving training or experience. You’ll demonstrate the practical skills learned during the online courses and get feedback from our Care Managers.


4. On-Going Training and Salary Increase

We believe that training for home caregivers should continue even after they complete Caregiver University. Additionally, we think that more training warrants higher pay.

We provide on-going training through “Level Up Days.” These days are times throughout the year that allow caregivers to refresh their knowledge and learn new skills. Not only will caregiver competency grow, but so will your ability to receive a higher salary.

Why should you become a caregiver at Commonwise? Our comprehensive training and high pay make us the premier company for VA caregiver employment.


Start the Best VA Caregiver Training Program Today

In-home elder care is a fast-growing field with a great future employment outlook. If you don’t have the right skills, you may fall behind others in the home care profession. The key to staying ahead is working for a home care employer that values you and your continued caregiver education.

Whether you have lots of caregiving experience or none at all, Commonwise Home Care’s Caregiver University is right for you. Our training program will provide you with a strong foundation while giving you the best opportunity to grow in your caregiving career.

“Before joining Commonwise, I was nervous because I had never provided care to someone in their home. The Caregiver University onboarding program was really helpful because it helped me fine-tune my personal care skills, but also prepared me for the other types of challenges that I faced when I started entering people’s homes.”

– Emily, Commonwise Caregiver

If you want to join a team of highly trained, competent, and compassionate caregivers, join our Care Team at Commonwise. Learn more about our open caregiver positions and apply today!