Caregivers

“We are all here to be a service to those who can’t be a service to themselves. We can give people hope and more reasons for being human.”, Dionne Warwick

In some countries, caregivers must receive formal training and pass a competency test in areas such as personal hygiene, safe transfer techniques, reading and recording vital signs, infection control, and basic nutrition in order to qualify to work for certified personal care service agencies.

Caregivers sometimes work on a freelance basis, taken on directly by the family that needs assistance. They can also work for a larger staff network of care providers, or they are employed by a private, government-operated or community-based organization. They can have only one patient or a group of them. Some will work with patients with long-term care needs, while others may help hospital patients who have relatively shor-term needs.

In some countries, a careers right movement has developed asking for better conditions. They claim that there is not a program to offer them the adequate wages for the often very intense and physically demanding work. The truth is that nowadays most home care is still informal, provided by family and friends.

Case studies

When you take care of a patient, you should write comments on the state of the patient and the personal care that the person requires. Here you can see a case study:

1. Name: Mrs Globe

2. Date: 30 June 20xx

3. Mobility

Disabilities: she has arthritis in the knees

Aids: walking frame

Remarks: Needs to be encouraged to move around the house

4. Communication

Disabilities: has difficulty hearing

Aids: hearing aid

Remarks: encourage to wear hearing aid, and check if the volume is set correctly.

5. Medical issues

History: has high blood pressure

Medication: blood pressure tablets

Continence: has some problems with continence.

6. Diet and weight

Special diet: low cholesterol, low sodium

Food preferences: doesn’t like vegetables

Remarks: she should be encouraged to eat a more varied diet.

Language notes

Formal training: (Cat. formació reglada) Education in the formal learning system.

safe transfer techniques: (Cat. tècniques de transferència segures) Methods to transfer people, for example from bed to wheelchair.

On a freelance basis: (Cat. com a autònom) Working as a freelance, self-employed.

Network: (Cat. xarxa) Structure of group of people in an organization.

Wages: (Cat. salary) Payment for labour or services to a worker.

Needs to be encouraged: (Cat. cal fomentar) Someone that needs someone to tell him/her to do something because it is better for him/her.

Blood pressure tablets: (Cat. pastilles per la pressió) Medication against high blood pressure.

Storyline

Thomas: “Céline, this is my wife, Linda.”

Céline: “Pleased to meet you.”

Linda: “Pleased to meet you too. Thank you for coming to the interview-”

Céline: “You’re welcome.”

Thomas: “Céline, you have already met my parents. My mum has Alzheimer, and my dad is affected by dementia. They both have memory losses and they need assistance.”

Céline: “How old are they?”

Thomas: “My mum is 71 and my dad is 76.”

Linda: “In your CV you say that you have experience taking care of elders. Could you tell me more about it?”

Céline: “Certainly. I worked in Badalona for six months. I took care of an old lady. She had restricted mobility. She was on a wheelchair and I had to assist her in her daily routines. I helped her to bathe and to dress. She had an adapted chair and a grab bar in the bath. She was a bit shy, and she wanted to do everything alone. She wanted to be independent.”

Thomas: “I see, she’s like my dad. He loves being independent.”

Linda: “I can see that you are from Barcelona. How long are you going to stay in UK?

Céline: “I haven’t decided it yet.”

Thomas: “How much do you expect to get paid?”

Céline: “Well, I’ve done research, and caregivers get a salary of about 1600 pounds, but I can be flexible. What is your budget?

Thomas: 1600 pounds is ok. You’re hired!”

Grammar

The comparative and superlative sentences are those which are used to compare two or more things. To make comparisons, we must use an adjective (a word which tells a quality or characteristic of a noun) or an adverb (a word which tells how an action is done). In comparative and superlative sentences, both adjectives and adverbs sometimes take a special form, which is called the comparative form.

A subornidate clause (Cat. oració subordinada) is a part of the sentence that has no meaning of its own. Its meaning depends on the main clause (Cat. oració principal).

On the other hand, the relative clauses are subordinate clauses that we can add to a sentence to speak about the characteristics of a noun. In this sense, they are similar to adjectives. All the relative clauses are introduced by a relative pronoun. This pronoun refers to a noun, called the antecedent, of which we say or explain something. The relative clauses are often used to describe things.

The comparative sentences

The comparative sentences are used to compare two things. There are three types of comparative sentences: comparative sentences of superiority, comparative sentences of equality and comparative sentences of inferiority.

Comparative sentences of superiority

In these sentences, we say that one thing is more than another. To express the comparison, the adjective and the adverb take the comparative form, which depends on the type of adjective or adverb. The following tables show the comparative forms of superiority for adjectives and adverbs:

Adjectives:

Taula: comparative forms of superiority (adjectives)
Type of wordComparative formExamples
One-syllable adjectives-ER big > bigger (Cat. gran > més gran)
Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y -IERhappy > happier (Cat. feliç > més feliç)
Other adjectivesMORE + adjective intelligent > more intelligent (Cat. intel·ligent > més intel·ligent)
Irregular adjectives good > better (Cat. bo > millor)
bad > worse (Cat. dolent > pitjor)

Adverbs:

Taula: comparative forms of superiority (adverbs)
Type of wordComparative formExamples
Adverbs ending in -lyMORE + adverbeasily > more easily (Cat. fàcilment > més fàcilment)
Other adverbs -ERlate > later (Cat. tard > més tard)
Irregular adverbs well > better (Cat. bé > millor)
badly > worse (Cat. malament > pitjor)
far > further (Cat. lluny > més lluny)

In the comparative sentences of superiority, the two elements of the comparison are separated by the conjunction than (Cat. que). Here are some comparative sentences:

  • The English grammar is easier than the French grammar (Cat. La gramàtica anglesa és més fàcil que la gramàtica francesa)
  • But the English pronunciation is usually more difficult than the French pronunciation (Cat. Però la pronunciació anglesa és normalment més difícil que la pronunciació francesa)
  • Running is certainly better than smoking (Cat. Córrer és certament millor que fumar)
  • Nowadays we can send a message much more quickly than before (Cat. Avui en dia podem enviar un missatge molt més ràpidament que abans)
  • Cats usually run faster than dogs, don’t they? (Cat. Els gats normalment córren més de presa que els gossos, no?)

Sometimes it is not necessary to include the two terms of the comparison in the same sentence. For example:

  • Which is better -the red one or the blue one? (Cat. Quin és millor - el vermell o el blau?)
  • I think I’ll take a beefsteak although it’s more expensive (Cat. Em sembla que em prendré el filet encara que sigui més car)
  • If you ask for somebody’s help, you will can do the job more easily (Cat, Si demanes que algú t’ajudi, podràs fer la feina amb més facilitat)

Comparative sentences of equality

The comparative sentences of equality are used to indicate that two things are on equal terms. We express the comparison of equality like this:

  • Affirmative statements: …AS + adjective/adverb + AS…
  • Negative statements: …(NOT) SO + adjective/adverb + AS…

Here are a few examples:

  • The son is as nice as the father (Cat. El fill és tan agradable com el pare)
  • You can do it as easily as a child (Cat. Ho pots fer tan fàcilment com un nen)
  • Working too much is as bad as doing nothin (Cat. Treballar massa és tan dolent com no fer res)
  • The speech was not so good as I expected (Cat. El discurs no va ser tan bo com jo esperava)
  • We didn’t finish so early as you had promised (Cat. No vam acabar tan d’hora com m’havies promès)

Comparative sentences of inferiority

This type of comparative sentence is used to say that one thing is less than another. To separate the two terms of the comparison, we use than, like in the comparatives of superiority. We form the comparative sentences of inferiority like this:

  • …LESS + adjective/adverb + (THAN)…

Examples:

  • This programme is less difficult than I thought (Cat. Aquest programa és menys difícil del que em pensava)
  • With the economical crisis, we are less rich everyday (Cat. Amb la crisi econòmica, cada vegada som menys rics)
  • I think the new CEO is less intelligent than the previous one (Cat. Crec que el nou president és menys intel·ligent que l’anterior)
  • I would invest in a developed country. It’s less risky than investing in developing countries (Cat. Jo invertiria en un pais desenvolupat. És menys arriscat que invertir en països en vies de desenvolupament)

Note: the comparative of inferiority is not very much used; when we need to establish a comparison, we tend to use the comparative of superiority.

The superlative sentences

The superlative sentences are used to compare one thing with all the others. As in the comparative forms of superiority, the adjectives and adverbs take a special form called the superlative form. The following tables show the superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs:

Adjectives:

Taula: superlative forms (adjectives)
Type of wordSuperlative formExamples
One-syllable adjectivesTHE -EST big > the biggest (Cat. gran > el més gran)
Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y THE -IESThappy > the happiest (Cat. feliç > el més feliç)
Other adjectivesTHE MOST + adjective intelligent > the most intelligent (Cat. intel·ligent > el més intel·ligent)
Irregular adjectives good > the best (Cat. bo > el millor)
bad > the worst (Cat. dolent > el pitjor)

Note: one-syllable adjectives with a vowel + a consonant double the consonant when we add the ending -est: big > the biggest, thin > the thinnest, fat > the fattest, mad > the maddest, red > the reddest, etc

Adverbs:

Taula: superlative forms (adverbs)
Type of wordSuperlative formExamples
Adverbs ending in -lyTHE MOST + adverbeasily > most easily (Cat. fàcilment > el més fàcilment)
Other adverbs THE -ESTlate > the latest (Cat. tard > el més tard)
Irregular adverbs well > the best (Cat. bé > el millor)
badly > the worst (Cat. malament > el pitjor)
far > the furthest (Cat. lluny > el més lluny)

Here are some examples of superlative sentences:

  • Microsoft is one of the most important companies in the world (Cat. Apple és una de les empreses més importants del món)
  • And Bill Gates is one of the richest people (Cat. I Bill Gates és una de les persones més riques)
  • Talking to the manager was the worst thing you could do (Cat. Parlar amb el director és el pitjor que podies fer)
  • Do it the best you can (Cat. Fes-ho el millor que puguis)
  • She went the furthest she could go (Cat. Va anar el més lluny que va poder anar)

Summary of the comparative and the superlative sentences

We are going to compare the four boxes in the picture below in terms of size. To speak about the size of an object, we can use the adjectives big and small:

Figura Comparative and superlative forms

Now read these comparative and superlative sentences:

  • Box A is bigger than boxes B, C and D.
  • Box A is the biggest of the four.
  • Box B is smaller than box A, but it’s bigger than boxes C and D.
  • Box C is as big/small as box D
  • Box D is as big/small as box C
  • Boxes C and D are smaller than boxes A and B
  • Boxes C and D are the smallest of the four.

The relative clauses

The relative clauses are used to explain the characteristics of a noun. This noun is called the antecedent and it usually appears immediately before the relative clause. Here are some examples of relative sentences (the relative clause is in italics):

  • I haven’t sent the mail that I’ve written in the morning (Cat. No he enviat el mail que he escrit aquest matí)
  • The restaurant where we met is no longer there (Cat. El restaurant on ens vam conèixer ja no hi és)
  • Where’s the person who was waiting for me? (Cat. On és la persona que m’estava esperant?)
  • A job interview is the moment in which you can explain your skills (Cat. L’entrevista és el moment en el qual pots explicar les teves habilitats)

Now let’s see the elements of a relative sentence. The following sentence will serve as an example: We need a person who speaks English and German.

  • The main clause: We need a person…
  • The relative clause: …who speaks English and German.
  • The relative pronoun: …who…

The relative pronouns

The relative pronouns depend both on the noun it refers to (the antecedent) and on its function in the relative clause. Here is a list of the relative pronouns and their use:

Taula: The relative pronouns
Relative pronounIt is used when…
that the antecedent is a person or a thing and it is the subject or an object of the relative clause
whothe antecedent is a person and it is the subject of the relative clause
whomthe antecedent is a person and it is an object of the relative clause
whichthe antecedent is a thing and it is the subject or an object of the relative clause
whosethe antecedent is a person or a thing and it has the function of a possessive adjective
wherethe antecedent is a thing denoting a place and it is an adverbial of place in the relative sentence
whenthe antecedent is a thing denoting time and it is an adverbial of time in the relative sentence
whythe antecedent is the word reason (Cat. raó) and the relative sentence explains the reason of the main clause

As you can see, all the relative pronouns (except that) are the same as the interrogative pronouns.

You should know the following things about the relative pronouns:

  1. The pronoun that can be used instead of who and which. It is mostly used in the spoken language.
  2. Whom is only used in the formal written language. In speech, we normally say that or who.
  3. Which can have a preposition (in which, for which, about which, etc.).
  4. As whose has the function of a possessive adjective, it must go before a noun.
  5. The antecedent reason is often omitted from the main clause: This is (the reason) why I didn’t go

Omission of the relative pronoun

In speech, we often omit the relative pronouns that, whom (who in informal style) and which, but only when they are the object of the relative clause. For example:

  • This is the book that I bought or This is the book I bought
  • Sarah is the girl whom I called last night or Sarah is the girl I called last night
  • The video which we recorded has been lost or The video we recorded has been lost

However, we cannot omit the relative pronoun in these sentences because it is the subject of the relative clause:

  • That’s the book that became so famous last season
  • Sarah is the girl who called last night
  • Here’s the video which explains how to deal with conflicts at work

Types of relative clauses

We can distinguish two types of relative clauses:

1) Defining relative clauses: these clauses define or identify a noun. For example:

  • The people who live next door are the Simpsons (Cat. La gent que viu a la porta del costat son els Simpson)
  • Paris is a city which lies on the river Seine (Cat. París és una ciutat que està a la vora del riu Sena)
  • That was the summer when we travelled to Austria (Cat. Aquest va ser l’estiu en que van anar a Àustria)

2) Non-defining relative clauses: these clauses do not define or classify, but only add some extra information about the noun. It is mostly used in the written language, always between commas (or in brackets). Here are some examples:

  • Mr Branson, who has no experience, made many mistakes (Cat. Mr Branson, que no té gens d’experiència, va cometre molts errors)
  • They say that sake, which I’ve never tasted, is quite a strong drink (Cat. Diuen que el sake, que jo no he provat mai, és una beguda bastant forta)
  • Toronto, where I was in 1984, has grown a lot (Cat. Toronto, on jo vaig estar l’any 1984, ha crescut molt)

Communication

When looking for a job, it is essential to write a good curriculum vitae (or CV). The CV is called resumé (with the graphical accent) in American English. As part of the job searching procedure, it will also be necessary to write a cover letter, which usually accompanies the CV. Both the CV and the cover letter say a lot of things about the writer, so in order to cause a good impression on your potential employer, it is necessary to be very accurate and follow the conventions of this type of texts.

The final and most important stage in the job search is the interview, where you must show your oral skills and control your body language. The job interviews are often carried out in English, even if you are applying for a job in your own country, because a knowledge of English is one of the most important skills for many jobs.

Writing a curriculum vitae

You have probably learned that we must not judge people on first impressions. However, when an employer looks at a curriculm vitae (CV), he does precisely that: to judge a person on the first impression produced by the CV, without even knowing the candidate personally.

Curriculum vitae vs. resumé

The term curriculum vitae (or CV) is mostly used in BrE whereas AmE prefers the term resumé (spelt with the graphical accent).

This is the reason why you should be very careful when you write a CV. It must convince the employer that you are the appropriate candidate for the job. With hundreds of other CVs waiting for an opportunity, the most important thing is that your own CV attracts the employer’s attention. However, to attract the employer’s attention does not mean to write your CV in a variety of colours and/or spectacular font types. This will only distract the reader from the important information. Instead, you should use a conventional format and organize your information clearly.

There are many different models, but the basic elements of all the CVs are:

  • Contact information: your name and surnames should be prominent (usually centered and in bold type). Add your telephone number, your address and your e-mail address.
  • Work experience: your relevant job experience should be listed chronologically, starting with your most recent job. For each job, you should mention the company and your job position.
  • Skills: this section summarizes your personal skills and relevant achievements for the job. Here you should include your language and computer skills.
  • Education: you must list your degrees, the school where you obtained them and the years you were in that school in reverse chronological order.

You may also include any additional information that you think is important for the job (for example, courses you have attended). Except for the contact information, you must include the title of each section, in bold type or capital letters.

Here is a list of things that should not appear in a CV:

  • Errors: making grammatical and/or spelling mistakes in a CV is the worst thing that can happen to a candidate for a job. The employer will immediately relate the mistakes to the candidate’s carelessness and he/she will be obviously discarded.
  • Salary: do not include your current salary or that which you expect to earn. Salary negotiations usually take place during the interview.
  • Irrelevant information: you should only include the information that is relevant for the job and that can benefit your interests. For example, do not include an average mark in a course if it is not a good one or hobbies that have nothing to do with the job.

If you have little or no work experience, you can list your school and social activities and link them to the job you are applying for.

Writing a cover letter

A CV should always go with a cover letter. A cover letter is a formal letter where you explain why you are the ideal candidate for the job. Cover letters have no special format. They follow standards applied to all the other formal letters.

In a cover letter, you should include the most relevant aspects of your experience and education for the post. To do that, you must select the aspects from the CV that can contribute to raise the company’s interest in your application.

Here are some useful expressions which you can use in a cover letter:

  • I am writing to you in response to your advertisement for the post of… (Cat. Li escric en resposta al seu anunci per a la feina de…)
  • As you can see from my enclosed CV, my experience and qualifications match this position’s requirements (Cat. Com pot veure al currículum que adjunto, la meva experiència i qualificacions es corresponen amb els requisits de la feina).
  • I would like to point out that… (Cat. Voldria indicar que…)
  • I look forward to an opportunity to speak with you in person (Cat. Espero tenir l’oportunitat de parlar amb vosté personalment).

Equivalence between the academic degrees in the Spanish and the British school systems

The Spanish and the British academic degrees belong to different school systems. Therefore, it is not possible to make a literal translation of your degrees. We must find the equivalent degree in the foreign school system.

The following table shows the equivalence between the Spanish and the British academic degrees.

Taula: Academic degrees
Spanish school system Brititsh school system
Educació Primària / Educació General Bàsica (EGB) Primary Education
Educació Secundària Obligatoria (ESO) / Batxillerat Unificat Polivalent (BUP) General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)
Batxillerat / Curs d’Orientació Universitària (COU)General Certificate of Education (GCE)
Cicle Formatiu de Grau Mitjà (CFGM) / Formació Professional de Primer Grau (FPI) Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Cicle Formatiu de Grau Superior (CFGS) / Formació Professional de Segon Grau (FPII) Certificate of Higher Education (HNC)
Diplomatura (3 anys) Bachelor’s Degree (B)
Llicenciatura / Grau University Degree
Enginyeria Tècnica Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
Enginyeria Superior Engineer’s Degree / Engineer Diploma (DI)
Postgrau (de 30 a 60 crèdits ECTS) Graduate Certificate (PGCert)
Màster (de 60 a 120 crèdits ECTS) Master’s Degree (M)
Doctorat Doctorate (PhD)

You can use a general term to describe the vocational studies. For example:

  • Business Administration and Finance (Cat. Administració i finances)
  • Secretarial Studies (Cat. Secretariat / Assistència a la direcció)
  • Commerce (Cat. Gestió Comercial / Gestió de vendes)
  • International Commerce (Cat. Comerç Internacional)

Preparing your job interview

If the employer has considered your CV, he/she will call you for the job interview. This is the time when you meet the employer so he/she can find out more things about you. The interview may take place in a face to face meeting or online via Skype or any other videoconference program. In any case, the interviewer will ask you about your experience and qualifications, and you will also need to show your skills for the job.

Here are some tips to help you before going to a job interview.

1. Prepare your answers in advance. Think about the questions they employers frequently ask in a job interview and prepare your answers in advance.

Some frequent questions in job interviews

These are commonly-asked questions in job interviews:

  • What can you say about yourself?
  • Why do you think you are good for this job?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to work in our company?
  • What salary do you expect to earn?
  • What are your motivations?
  • What makes a good team, according to you?
  • Have you got any questions?

2. Make some research. Before going to the interview, look at the potential employer’s website and check the company’s details. Having the information will help you in the interview.

3. Have a good appearance. First impressions are very important, so make sure that you wear smart clothes and have a nice appearance.

4. Be ready. Try to get to the interview with plenty of time. If you get late, you will be doubly stressed and, besides, it will cause a very bad impression. Make sure that you have everything that you need: notebook, pen and a copy of your CV.

5. Show your good character. Although you will probably feel nervous, try to smile all the time. This will help you feel more relaxed and will give a good impression. Make sure that you look your interviewer directly in the eye, and concentrate on what he/she is saying.

6. Ask questions. Do not tell the interviewer that you do not have any questions. You should prepare some questions in advance and be ready to ask them if they tell you so.

Questions that you may ask in a job interview

Here are some questions that you may safely ask in a job interview:

  • Why do you need to fulfill this position?
  • What are the objectives of this position?
  • How do you expect to meet the objectives?
  • What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?
  • What do you do to create a good atmosphere at work?
  • Are there any plans for expansion?
  • What does the company expect from the employees?

7. Take notes. Taking notes will give the impression that you are paying attention and that you are very interested in what the interviewer is saying.

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