Case study taken January 2019
How did you get into care?
I used to work as a store manager for a supermarket, but I felt I wasn’t really going anywhere with it and wasn’t enjoying it so much. I was convinced by a customer to go back to study. I always thought I was too old to study, I was 27 at the time, but that wasn’t true. In 2011 I went to university and did a degree in Psychology which I really loved, but I wanted to do social work. To do my masters in social work I needed experience. I joined Crossroads as a Support Worker with the intention of being here for a year but it’s 5 years on and I’m still here.
How has your career progressed?
I started as a Support Worker which I did for a year and a half, I did care package reviews for another year and a half and the now I’m in care planning. My job is to do the care planning, reviews and risk assessments but I also have three clients that were my original clients when I first started as a Support Worker. I just don’t want to let them go! I see each of them on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I got to where I am through experience and being a manager in a previous sector definitely helped.
What does your role involve as a Senior Care Planner?
The main goal of my job is to create new care plans for clients. The office receive the first call requesting care, we book the assessment, do the first assessment where we explain the support we can provide and discuss what is required. We then get the service started and match them to the correct Support Worker.
How supportive is your team?
I use to work a 6-day week. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my health was not doing so well so now I only do Monday to Friday and help out on weekends if help is needed. On Monday to Friday I work 9-5/6 and on one evening a week I do a support visit. I was talking to a friend I went to university with recently and was talking about how great Crossroads are. Some days my arthritis is quite bad and I can barely walk and I am able to work from home. Everyone knows my situation and they are really understanding. It helps because when I am really unwell and really do need to go sick, I phone up and they have said ‘you never go off sick, you must be ill!’. They’re very good and very adaptable.
What do you love about working in this sector?
Helping others. This is what I really enjoy. One day I will go back and do my masters, but life changes and what I felt when I first started in care to now is different. I love that it feels like you are giving back and seeing what a difference our service makes. I’ve seen all ends of the care needs and people that need care come from all walks of life. Often, we will support someone for three hours and what we do in that time is so crucial to them, and without us coming to see them they could not get their independence. As I have been a support worker, I am able to promote what we do a lot better, and really show how we can help when I am carrying out assessments. I am able to show what a difference we make to people’s lives.
What challenges do you have in your role?
When people pass away it can be hard. Every time I’m told someone I know has passed away, I remember how I felt when my Dad passed away in 2016. As a frontline support worker grief is difficult. If you are told one day your client has passed away but you have seen them regularly for a long time, it can be hard to adapt when you no longer go and see them at the same time each day or each week. When you see a client regularly you build a rapport with them. I always send a card to the family and always attend the funeral as it is closure for my own life too. It gives you that end. To me, that is the only down side to care. You know that this person is going to pass away, maybe in your care or maybe to come, it’s emotionally challenging but that is part of elderly care.
What would you say to someone considering a career in care?
is all about giving back and helping that individual and their family. When I go in or one of the support workers go in, the families have time to do what they want to do, it almost gives them a break. For some people they just want to talk to you and share their past. One of my clients prays for me each week to have good health to go and see him every Tuesday, and my service to him is priceless because he knows that every week I will go there. Seeing the difference you make just by spending time with someone is the reason you do this job. It’s the satisfaction that I’ve done a good job and a good deed for that person, even if it is paid! I even volunteered unpaid to sit with a client on Christmas and boxing day, and he really enjoyed the company. The people that come and work here will enjoy it.