A day in the life of a home carer – Heather’s Story
My name is Heather and I joined Universal Care back in 2009. I had never really thought about a career in care before; the only experience I had was helping my elderly neighbour with a bit of housework and shopping. I noticed an advert in my local paper seeking caring, compassionate people who want to make a real difference to people in their community; so I made that first phone call to Universal Care and I haven’t looked back since! It was a little daunting at first – it is a big responsibility looking after people, but Universal Care supported me every step of the way. I started by attending a 4 day induction course which gave me a good understanding of what to expect and some of the practical skills that I would need. I was then paired up with an experienced carer who took me to see her clients and really showed me the ropes – it was a great way to gain some practical hands on experience with the knowledge that I had someone there to help me if I was ever unsure.
Working in a care environment
Six years later and I’m still loving it! I have even achieved a qualification in care, something I never thought I’d do and there are plenty of opportunities for me to develop my knowledge further. You may already know about working in a care environment, or like me, this may be the first time that you have considered a career in care – so I just wanted to give you a taste of a typical day in my life as a home carer.
I get to spend more time with my clients
My first client is at 7.30am with Jean, I like to get there slightly early as I know that she will be looking out the window waiting for my arrival. For many clients I am the only person they will see in a day so it is important to make sure they know they are the focus of my attention for that visit. I help Jean get washed and dressed and make her some breakfast. I tidy up a little and ensure that she is settled, safe and secure. Most importantly I have a chat with her and listen to how she is feeling. One of the great things about Universal Care is that they do not do 15 minute calls – which means I get to spend more time with my clients, making sure that they get the care they really need. Once she has eaten breakfast I do a quick tidy up and then help to administer Jean’s medication. I need to make sure I record all of this on the medication record and fill in the care book, making sure I write down everything that I have supported Jean with during her call. We say our goodbyes and then I’m off to my next call.
Maintaining privacy and dignity
My next call is at 8.45am with Geoff. This call is time critical as I am due to be working with another carer (Ben). Some clients need extra equipment such as hoists to help them get up, these tasks will always be done by two carers. After saying hello to Geoff we check the care book to see if there are any updates from the carers who visited the previous night. We hoist Geoff to the toilet – I always make sure the curtains are drawn and the doors are closed to maintain his privacy and dignity. We assist him into the bathroom to have a shower and then help him to get dressed in the clothes that he has picked out for the day. We’re a great team and work well together – I will tidy the bathroom and bedroom whilst Ben chats to Geoff and gets his breakfast ready. His medication has to be taken with food, so Ben and I both check the medication against the paperwork and administer it according to the instructions (and make sure we complete the relevant paperwork!). I tidy the kitchen and make up a flask of tea to be left on Geoff’s trolley so he can enjoy a nice brew before the lunchtime carers arrive.
So many amazing stories
I have a quick break and check my phone for any messages from the office – someone from the team is unwell and I am needed to cover some extra calls. I check their details and write them onto my rota – one of them is a shopping and companionship call with a lady I haven’t seen in a while. When I arrive we have a good catch up – companionship is such an important aspect and I love finding out about their lives and what they were up to when they were younger. There are so many amazing stories and I really learn a lot! Together we write a shopping list and plan the week’s meals; Mary is no longer confident at leaving the house so I go off to the shops with the list and money to pay for the shopping. I make sure that I keep all of the receipts and complete the financial records kept in her care book. I help prepare something for Mary’s lunch and after a quick tidy up leave her with some drinks and snacks for the afternoon.
Getting to know them as a person and their routine
I now head home for a break, I am not working again until this evening where I will be helping to get people ready for bed and making sure that they are settled for the night. I can visit a number of different clients throughout the day, but by giving regular availability it means that I have been able to build up a regular client base. This means that I really get to know them as a person and their routine. It is a very varied role and gives me great job satisfaction; there aren’t many roles where you can say that you have really made a difference. Working for a company that values and supports it’s carers just as much as their clients makes it all the better!
Challenging and rewarding
I am really glad that I took the plunge and started my new career in care. I would recommend that anyone who is looking for a rewarding, flexible job who doesn’t mind the odd challenge calls Universal Care – I can guarantee you won’t regret it!
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