Case study taken June 2023
How did you start a career in care and what initially attracted you to the sector?
I met one of the ‘By Your Side’ workers at a job centre in Hemel Hempstead and through them I was able to give them my availability and what I was interested in. After our initial conversation I was invited in for an interview and was successful in obtaining a job with the organisation. Almost one year later and I am still here! One of the key benefits that attracted me to the sector were the flexible hours, which work around my family commitments and enables me to have a life outside of work. I also love that I can give back to the community, especially with domiciliary care because we go into customers’ homes and provide care for them which is nice.
Could you give some details about your current job role and what it involves?
I work for a company called ‘By Your Side’ who are based in Hemel Hempstead and are Dementia Care Specialists. Our main responsibility is to visit homes within the local community and perform companionship, personal care, or anything else that they need. The type of support a person requires varies, for some it may be taking them out shopping or for a walk, for others it could involve helping them to get showered and ready for the morning.
What training have you completed in your care career so far?
I have completed my level one and am currently doing my level three training. I have also completed my end-of-life work with HCPA, first aid and medication training. We do training every fortnight at By Your Side and there are regular e-mails sent round asking if we want to book onto certain training courses, which is really comforting.
Is there any other training that you would be interested in completing in the future?
When it comes to care there is so much training you can do and there is a lot of progression. To be honest, I am happy to do any training as I just want to be the best I can be can at my job and ensure I am confident with my knowledge. I do have quite an interest in the medication aspects as well as the Cs of care, so perhaps this is something I will develop further within the future.
What support have you received from your line manager and team?
We are extremely lucky to have such a supportive team, I couldn’t wish for anything else. If there are ever any issues, they will be taken care of, and no one is ever blamed if there is an accident.
As I often do the double calls, I am usually working alongside a colleague which means we can support each other which is nice. We also have a fantastic office team that help with anything such as staffing issues, customer issues as well as queries and complaints. It’s just a really nice team to be a part of.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My favourite part of my role is getting to know our customers. It’s really nice to see them smile, especially as we are sometimes the only person they may see on that day. The bond that we create with the people we support is very special, and I always leave feeling good because I know that I have done something to help.
What do you find the most challenging part of your job?
I think within my job role, many people would probably say personal care, but for me it is end-of-life. Unfortunately, in this job you do have to deal with that sadness, but we deal with it together as a team and with the family of the client. Quite often it can feel like you’ve lost a family member because you have built up such a strong bond, so it can be quite emotional. However, what we can take away from the sadness is that we have been able to make that person happy in that time of need, which is one of the best feelings ever.
What are your hours of work and how does this fit around your personal life?
I work Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Thursdays and Fridays, I work whilst my three-year-old is at school and then Saturdays they are cared for by family members which means I can pick up extra hours which is great.
In your day-to-day role, how do you enable clients to live as independently as possible?
We keep the customer at the base of everything, if they have the capacity, then they can make that decision. For example, we would not just go in and say, “You are wearing this today” but rather, “What do you want to wear today?” It is very much the customer’s choice, and we want to keep them and their opinion at the heart of everything we do.
What would you say to someone considering a career in care?
100% do it! I was very sceptical to start with, I wanted to give it a go, but I didn’t know if I would be able to. Now I have been doing it for a while, I can confirm it is the best feeling ever being able to make someone smile. We’re very lucky that we get to meet lots of different people and although some calls can be tough it’s only a bad half hour or hour, not a bad day or week which, you can experience in other professions.
There really is no other job like it, it is so rewarding.
Would you like to progress in your career? If so, what would you like to do next?
Yes, I would absolutely love to progress in my career. I think my next step is a Senior Care Worker or a Senior Care Leader. I like training people and I feel like I retain information quite well. It would be nice to see all the new faces and watch how they progress within their care career.