Tell us about yourself
My name is Sophie, I have 2 teenage children. I have lived in South Yorkshire all my life.
How long have you been a support worker?
I have been a Lotus Home Carer for almost a year now. I used to work in Factories and even a call centre. I got no satisfaction from the job whatsoever. I did my work and came home. I was very close to my Grandparents when growing up, so working with older adults was perfect for me. I started working on Double up calls where I worked alongside an experienced carer, I learnt so much from him. After 6 months and completing my Care Certificate I asked to do single calls, and that it mostly what I do now.
What’s a normal day like for you?
No two days are ever the same, you never know what the day will bring. This makes it really exciting and a change from the same old routine of previous jobs.
My shifts generally start around 7 am. I have the same clients each day that I visit and have built a great relationship with each of them. One of my clients always looks out of the window for me, she always gives me a beaming smile and a wave. Some days I finish around Tea time, other times I choose to work later. Staff are always great at accommodating me and I return the favour in helping them if they are short.
What kind of needs do the people you work with have?
I care for people who need varying degrees of care, sometimes it is just a meal call, where I prepare them a healthy meal, other clients it involves full personal care. This took a little while to get used too, but with ongoing training and building relationships with clients means I really want to make the person comfortable and happy. Other clients need that bit of extra support with their medication.
How do you view your contact with the people you support?
As I mentioned before building relationships with your clients is hugely important. Some aspects of the job can be intrusive, so having a good bond helps the person (and me) feel much more comfortable doing this. Also, when I know them, I can read their body language and distinguish likes and dislikes and how they may be feeling.
Some of my clients don’t have any family or friends nearby (The lady that waves at me every morning). I know myself and my colleagues will probably be the only person they will see for perhaps a month.
Having a good chat helps me identify any underlying issues and can massively improve this ladies mental health due to isolation. I do sometimes wonder how my clients are getting on when I’m on holiday, but my colleagues are brilliant and have the same great relationships with our clients.
Give us an example of a challenge you have had
I work with one lady, she hates going out, doesn’t feel confident or safe. I worked on graded exposure. We first went out to the garden (She loves flowers) and we talked about the different varieties. After a few weeks of moving further away from the house, we got to the local shop. We decided to go the route that she took to school when she was much younger, I asked her about the school, the things she used to get up on the way, it distracted her brilliantly and she was so proud that she managed to make it to the shop. We now go out once a week, sometimes for a coffee and a chat.
What have you learned from working with Lotus Home Care?
I have learned that everyone should be treated as an individual, even if people have the same illness it can vary in so many ways. When people are given the correct care with compassion and love they can achieve so much more and continue to live much more independently. I have learned so many new skills, from moving and handling correctly to administering medication. I am starting my NVQ 3 in a few weeks which I am really excited about!
Have you found any of your work particularly rewarding?
Knowing that my clients are happy, comfortable and safe when I go home. Knowing I have made a difference to somebody’s life every day. You don’t get that feeling in other jobs.
What other challenges have you faced?
Sometimes we care for people that are fast-tracked from Hospitals. This means that they have come to the end of their lives but desperately want to be at home. The first time I cared for a client at the end of life I did find it really upsetting, especially seeing the family in pieces. But being there to make them comfortable, making sure their mouth wasn’t too dry and ensuring any pain medication that had been prescribed was being administered and ensuring that person was free of sores. That person died exactly the way they wanted, comfortable, free of pain and surrounded by their loved ones at home.
How do you view that experience now?
It is something you don’t or to be honest should never get used too. Building relationships with people whether it is your client or someone you know personally will always be upsetting. However, I know exactly what to do now in making sure all aspects of care is in place for my client at the end of their life.
What’s the best thing about your job?
My clients and my colleagues!
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