As I mentioned in my January In Review post, I got hired as a part-time healthcare worker at a company in Hove called Brunswick Care. Although I have no professional experience, my mom is disabled and I have been helping her with all sorts of tasks ever since I can remember. I wasn’t entirely confident about the interview (for the lack of my professional qualifications), so I was pleasantly surprised when I was offered the position.
My position involves providing “personal care needs of service users in a way that respects the dignity of the individual and promotes independence. Care provided by care assistants is expected to include care that would reasonably be given by members of the service user’s own family.” My tasks vary from client to client based on their needs and are always subject to change. When I tell people about my position, they automatically assume that it’s exclusively elderly people care for. While I won’t reveal the exact demographic of the clients for privacy reasons, I’ll leave it at this: disabilities don’t discriminate and they can effect people of all ages.
After a short induction, I was sent on my way to complete a training packet and online course covering the basics needed for my care certification qualification. After my care packet was mostly completed, I began shadowing a few clients to understand the routine before I visit alone.
I won’t reveal too much about my clients for privacy reasons and what I do for clients vary based on their needs, but some of my tasks include: making tea, coffee and food, administering medication, light domestic chores such as dish washing, ironing and sweeping, help with toilet, shower and getting dressed and simple companionship (I literally get paid to talk to people, dreamboat). When I first arrive, I log in through the landline (remember those?) and check the communication book to see if any of the other healthcare workers or family members left anything about the client that needs attention (may be about things such as when they last used the toilet, how they were feeling during the visit, etc.) before I carry out the routine according to the plan drawn up by the client and their family and leave any other notes for the family and the company records. My visits are usually one or two hours once or twice a day depending on the client and the day. Currently, I’m working about 15 hours a week, but hope to push closer to 20 once we take on a few more clients in the coming weeks.
My most regular client is P. They live close to my house (about 20 minutes from door to door) and I usually visit once a day first thing in the morning with an extra afternoon visit on the weekends. P. is absolutely lovely (and so is their partner I see some days) and I’ve grown really fond of them and I like to think the feeling is mutual! It’s quite an easy visit and only an hour duration. Additionally, I have two more regular clients that I see up to three times a week, depending on if they need covering.
This job is a massive commitment. Maybe not exactly time-wise, but the clients rely on me to be there, so getting someone who the client is unfamiliar with to cover a shift isn’t always in the cards, even if the routine is simple. It is also seven days a week and comes with a constant flow of time sensitive e-mails, phone calls and shift covers. But even on tough days, I can walk out of a client’s house knowing I helped them life their best life and there’s no better, more fulfilling feeling in the world.
Photo by Christian Holzinger.