My workday begins at 7am – my morning involves a range of duties, from helping people to get up out of bed, to wash and dress, prepare breakfast and medication, and use the toilet. I also help with catheter care, changing bed linen and laundry.
As I work through my day I always work to my training around moving and handling, how to give medication and how to make observations about my Customers’ health and wellbeing. It is important that I am familiar with my Customers’ needs and preferences so that I can provide quality support. I find all of this information in the Customer’s Support Plan which is in the Customer’s file and their home; this also tells me anything that has happened of note from the last visit. If I am unsure I can ask other Care Practitioners, look at observation sheets or ring the office; of course, the Customer may also be able to tell me. I also need to have a thorough understanding of the aids and equipment I will come across in people’s homes. I have learnt all about this in my training but if I am unsure I always ring the office for advice and support.
The aim of Home Care Support is to enable Customers to maintain as much independence as they are able, and throughout the morning I encourage my Customers to do as much as they can independently, or with as little help as possible. I find that the morning call is vital to my Customers as it sets them up for the day ahead. It is important that I continually check the Customer’s general welfare and wellbeing, and that I monitor any health issues that they have.
Each person that I will visit throughout the day has a degree of vulnerability, and if I think someone’s situation has deteriorated I must inform the Customer that I am going to let either their family or their Social Worker/GP/Community Nurse know that I am concerned. Often the care people receive needs to be adapted after changes in their health or situation have been highlighted. It is an essential part of the job to be aware of this and to report and record any changes in the people I visit.
The middle of the day is taken up by lunchtime calls. Some of the calls will be returning to Customers from my morning visits. Lunchtime calls are varied and involve food preparation, medication, assisting to use the toilet, helping with incontinence pads, help with eating and laundry.
In the late afternoon some of the Customers may receive another visit. Again this will involve similar duties – food preparation, toileting, catheter care, medication, perhaps helping people to bed and securing the property.
From around 6pm to 10pm, the other Care Practitioners support Customers to wash, prepare light meals and get into nightclothes, helping them to get to bed safely, making drinks and ensuring they have everything needed to make it through the night in comfort. They also secure the home if necessary.
Throughout the day in each Customer’s home, I must record what I’ve done during the visit. I also record any concerns about the Customer’s welfare, mental state, mobility and especially any changes. I also write down any messages in the care notes that the next Care Practitioners will need to know – like accidents or incidents and any aggressive behaviour. I also report any concerns about these issues to the office.
To become a good Care Practitioner, I think you have to be patient, calm, understanding, open minded, flexible and hard-working. However, if you are suited to the job nothing will give you greater satisfaction than to know that you are providing a very worthwhile service – helping people to lead independent and active lives in their own homes.