The Gale Encyclopedia of Childhood and Adolescence defines caregiver as the person who has responsibility for meeting the physical and psychological needs of an infant, child or dependent adult. The term generally refers to anyone who provides assistance to someone else who is in some degree incapacitated and needs help.

Still, another definition is that a caregiver is a person who provides, without supervision, in a private household in which the person resides, child care, senior home support care or care of the disabled.

The label caregiver is known by many other names in developed countries. As defined in the international Nanny Association's fact sheet, related terms include:

  • Au pair - refers to foreigners who live with American families for up to a year, living as part of the host family and receives a small allowance/salary. They help with household work, providing child or elderly care even without prior experience.
  • Babysitter - provides supervisory custodial care for children on an irregular, full or part-time basis.
  • Governess - usually qualified teachers for full or part-time at-home education of children and are not responsible for physical aspects of childcare.
  • Mother's Helper - works for the family to provide full-time childcare and other domestic help with one parent at home most of the time.
  • Nanny - employed by families to provide unsupervised full-time childcare on either live-in or live-out basis.
  • Nursery nurse - term used in the United Kingdom for a person who has received special training and preparation in caring for young children and has passed certification exams given by the National Nursery Examination Board.

Demand Situation

It is foreseen that the demand for caregiving services would continue to rise in the next 4 years. Demand prospect are expected not only in the traditional markets of USA and Canada but also in other developed and rich countries of Europe and even Asian economies Japan and Korea. This is in view of their increasing need for caregivers on account of their large aging population.

POEA data would show that the bulk of job orders for caregivers of licensed placement and recruitment agencies are in Israel, Bahrain and the United States. Market for caregivers is also growing in Spain and Saudi Arabia as reported out in major dailies.

Caregiving is a huge industry especially in the US. In a 1997 nationwide research, It was found out that total amount spent on formal caregiving provision reached US$115 billion.

The Japan market, though still close at the moment, is seen as a potential market for caregiving because of the increasing trend fo graying population. This is further boistered when in her recent visit to Japan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi agreed to enter into an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will boister economic cooperation between the two countries. The agreement will encompass not just trade, but will also cover the mutual recognition of professions and skills, human resource development and technology transfers. It will facilitate the access of our healthcare and information technology professionals in the Japanese market.

Provision of healthcare in the domestic market is also expected to rise with the government promoting the so-called "medical check-up tourism" in our renowned medical centers. The Philippines is considered as an ideal site to provide healthcare services and to serve as retirement haven in view of lower medical costs and presence of advanced medical facilities. Caregiver facilities are also planned to be set up in conjunction with the economic zones so that expatriate communities can be developed in tandem with investment ventures in nursing care in those areas.

Supply Situation

With the emergence of the Philippines as a major source for care workers in hospitals, hospices and old-age homes in developed countries, current demand exceeds the supply. This is validated by the consistent job advertisements for caregivers in major newspaper dailies. It is but natural that numerous schools and training centers offering caregiving courses sprung up in the country. Of the almost 150 caregiver institutions nationwide, whose programs are registered with TESDA, 49 can be found in the National Capital Region. A greater number of caregiver institutions can also be found in Regions III, IV, I, CAR and XI.

However, fly-by-night training centers for caregivers is causing problems and are posing unfair competition to the legitimate ones. Being bogus training centers, graduates from these unauthorized centers would be lacking in proper training and knowledge to work in hospitals, hospices, retirement and nursery homes. Thus, TESDA is closely monitoring the various training centers in order to curb out the apparent proliferation of unauthorized training centers.

Caregiver Requirements

The Canadian market which is the most publicized destination for Filipino caregivers had listed the following qualifications for a prospective caregiver:

  • Course of study equivalent to the completion of Canadian secondary education (At least second year of college education in the Philippines);
  • Six to twelve months of training and/or experience which directly relates to the duties of the offer of employment;
  • The ability to read, write and speak English or French;
  • The ability to work independently, without supervision; and
  • Completion of one year of related full-time paid employment, including at least six months of continuous employment with one employer, within the three years immediately prior to the application for employment authorization.

Being a foreign worker, Filipino caregivers just like any other applicant for working visa would be assessed by Canadian authorities based on the following factors:

  • The employment of foreign worker will not adversely affect employment and career opportunities for Canadians;
  • It will maintain or increase employment and training opportunities for the Canadian workforce;
  • That the wages and working conditions offered are sufficient to attract and retain Canadians; and
  • Has been confirmed as a bona fide job offer and is not designed to be inaccessible to Canadians.

Outline of Caregiver Course

The Caregiver course covers several topics that will provide the trainees the opportunity to learn and experience the various skills and working knowledge vital in the performance of a job of a caregiver. The course modules specifically for Canada, generally focus on the following:

  • Overview of the Live-In Caregiver Program of Canada
  • Introduction to the Live-In Caregiver Skills Enhancement Program
  • Basic First Aid
  • Basic Life Support
  • CPR
  • Home and Client Safely Management
  • Home Management and Client Care
  • Nutrition and Food Preparation
  • Care of the Child
  • Care of the Elderly
  • Canada: People, Culture, Traits
  • English as Second Language
  • Personality Development
  • On-the-Job Training in Caregiving Institutions

Some of the training centers also offers job search and placement services for their graduates. Others had established direct links with embassies of target host governments for caregivers in order to ensure high employment rate of their graduates.

The Role of TESDA

In order to ensure quality training, TESDA must judiciously perform its role of standard setting, registration of programs, assessment and certification, as well as the conduct of monitoring and continuous evaluation. TESDA through its offices nationwide must stay vigilant to ensure that no caregiving training programs without appropriate registration are operating within their areas of jurisdiction. Through these efforts, the public would be protected from unscrupulous and fly-by-night training centers.