In June 2016, I applied for a job at a care home for adults with disabilities, and amazingly I got the job, however the care home was quite some distance from home, and it December I left, and got a job much closer to home.
I started my new job in January and I became a domiciliary care and support worker – meaning that I spend up to 16 hours a day out of the house, visiting service users within their own homes. And quite often I can be the only person that they see in that day. It’s difficult, yet rewarding – I often talk quite openly about my job on Twitter, but I have never discussed it in this much detail before, nevertheless, I thought I would now share with you what a typical day is like for me.
The first alarm goes off, and it get’s hit to snooze.
Now, the second alarm has gone off and I have to get up. Quick shower, and then to get dressed. I typically grab a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal, and a cup of tea. I’ll then boil the kettle again, and fill up my travel mug with stupidly strong coffee to drink while I am out and about during the morning. I’ll double check that I have my work phone, my water and my PPE, and then I am out the door at 7:00am.
I get on the first of two buses, and head off to work. The journey typically takes about 20/25 minutes depending on the traffic on the morning. Once off that bus, I’ll dive across the road, and dive on the second bus which takes about 10 minutes – again traffic depending. I’ll then get off the second bus and walk another 15 minutes to my first call.
Now, the work day really begins. I’ll make 3 or 4 morning calls, and in each call I will administer medication, apply creams, assist to bathe, or shower, and then dry and dress. Once that is done, I’ll make breakfasts, teas and coffees, fill up glasses of juice, or water and leave them within reach. And then I will run around, and tidy up anywhere that needs tidying, write my notes and complete MAR charts, all whilst trying to have a conversation with the lovely ladies that I have come to visit. This usually takes me to 10:30am.
There is always a lul around this time, and I typically head to my mums for a cup of tea and a catch up before heading back to work at 12:30pm.
Back to work, and now it is the lunch calls – there is medication to be administered, personal care tasks to be carried out and lunch to be made. Again, I will typically see around 3 or 4 service users during this time, and I quite often finish for lunch around 2:00pm. Although, that isn’t the case.
Lunch break – run to Morrisions, drink coffee, and catch up with other carers.
Back to work, again. And now we are on to the tea calls, and then the night run – what I like to call the home stretch. During the tea calls, I see four different ladies, administer three different lots of medication, make three lots of evening meals. I’ll also wash any dishes, clean any surfaces, complete personal care tasks, empty any washers or dyers that had been put on during earlier calls. I’ll find missing keys, and put them back to where they should be. I’ll sit down and have a chat, fill out my notes from each visit and complete the MAR charts again.
On a long day, this marks the start of the night run where I will see six different ladies, some of which I have seen during the day, and some that I haven’t seen since the last time I was on late. During the night run, i’ll administer a further three lots of medication. Assist five of the ladies into their nightwear, and then assist three of those ladies into bed. For some I’ll make a snack, and a cup of tea. And secure their homes ready for the evening. I’ll load up washing machines ready for the morning. I’ll get bread out to defrost for the next day. I’ll shut all curtains and blinds, and take out the bins so that they don’t have to. That takes us to roughly 9:30pm, however we can run over until closer to the 10:00pm mark.
My work for the day is done, my bus comes after 10:00pm so I take a slow work to the bus stop, and wait. I usually get home around 10:40pm. So it is home, grab some toast or a bag of crisps, a quick shower and then I’ll dive into bed ready to start all over again.
But my role as a care and support worker is not limited to what I have mentioned above, not at all. Someday’s I will clean someones house top to bottom, or go and do their fortnightly shop, I will make appointments for them, and assist when the district nurse comes. I will take time out of my day to express any concerns I have with family and the management of our company, ensuring that their care needs are met, 100% of the time. I will be their shoulder to cry on when things get too much, or when they are frustrated. I will listen and implement the advice given by families, and professionals. I will listen when no one else will. I will help them with the things that seem so little to use, like opening jars and rearranging cupboards so that everything is accessible.
People say my job is easy. And it is not. It takes the right kind of person to become a care and support worker. You’ve got to be patient, caring and compassionate. You’ve got to be moral, and knowledgeable. You’ve got to really want to help those you are there to support.
It’s tiring, and emotionally draining. Some days I want to just throw in the towel in after dealing with irate family members, or service users having a tough day. But I couldn’t. It’s the days where you see a service user who you haven’t seen in a few weeks, and they are overjoyed that you’ve come to see them. It’s the trust you build with these ladies, and yes it’s a job but you can have a laugh and joke with these ladies. Sometimes, when you’re the only person that they would see that day, the relief they show when they spot you walking up their drive fills you up with a warm feeling that I couldn’t possibly describe. It’s the thanks that you receive and it’s the bonds that you form.
My god, it does make it all worth while.