Case study taken January 2019
How did you get into care?
I’ve now worked in care for 12 years. Before that, I had my own cleaning business. I looked after my Nan for 15 years, and one day we were watching the TV and there was an older lady with a younger man who we assumed was her grandson as we had missed the beginning of the advert, and it turned out he was the postman. He used to deliver the post into the flats, and she would be there every morning to say hello and when he came back down, she would say goodbye. One day she wasn’t there so he thought something must be wrong. He looked through her letterbox and she was on the floor and it turned out she had a stroke. Had she of not built up this relationship with the postman she would have been there for goodness knows how long. She was saying care isn’t always about looking after people, it’s about being there for somebody just to have a quick chat. My Nan said ‘you would be good at that’, and so I looked for a job in home care. I started with another home care company and have been with ENA for 6 years.
Why did you choose a career in care?
It was more flexible with fitting around my children. I work anywhere from 16 hours to 30 plus hours and this works for me as I am able to be flexible, it works well with my children who are now teenagers and it worked when they were younger too. Most of the shift patterns I did started at 5pm and I also worked during school hours when they were younger.
What training and qualifications do you have?
Everyone receives basic training to carry out their role as a care assistant which is the Care Certificate. I am currently completing my Level 3 in Health and Social Care. I am hoping to progress to a Senior position, and this will help me to do so. My long-term plan is to become a Care Coordinator or an Internal Trainer.
What do you love about working in care?
Just the fact that you can help people to stay at home for longer, make a difference to their day. If I can make at least one person smile each day then I have done my job well. Compared to having my own business, I much prefer working in care. I get to interact with people and it’s more personal. These are people that often wouldn’t see anyone else during the day.
The team here are also very supportive. You can just pick up the phone, come in for a chat, whatever suits you. We get enough time here; the absolute minimum is 30-minute visits and often are more. If it ever runs over then the call time would be changed permanently based on their needs. We get time to spend with the client, build up a nice relationship with them, and that continuity is important. I always tell the people who come and shadow me that are new to care to take time so sit down and talk to the client, because there is nothing worse than rushing, and you don’t find out about that client until you go to their funeral. If you sit down and talk, they will open up to you and having that rapport means you will be able to tell if something is wrong. It helps to provide a better quality of care.
What challenges have you had to face in your role?
Getting over when a client passes away, that’s always hard, you never get used to that. It gets a bit easier but you never get used to it. If there’s traffic that can be frustrating as you want to get to your clients as soon as possible and to schedule.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about working in care?
Just try it, the main thing is to be yourself. The personal care can be a bit embarrassing to begin with but you have to remember that is more embarrassing for the client. If you make little jokes and take your time, then you won’t have a problem with it. It’s about making them feel comfortable. I always try to treat the clients as if it is one of my family members, then they let their barriers down a little bit. I don’t see it as working, I enjoy it. There are not many people that can feel like that about work.
You see the same people but every day is different. It’s a very rewarding job. You know you are doing something for people that cannot do it for themselves, and it’s nice to sometimes be recognised. I was nominated for the National Care awards and came 2nd for the East of England. That recognition makes it even more worthwhile. It’s not about wiping people’s bottoms, that’s just a task, the goal is to promote their independence and improve their quality of life.