Day in the life of a first time CAREGiver
No one could have predicted Coronavirus or seen 2020 becoming such a mess! Being made redundant from my role within marketing having only worked in this area throughout my career, I never would have seen myself working in care, but here I am and I love it.! After hearing and reading a lot about care within the media, I didn’t know what to really expect and some would say went into the role with ‘rose tinted glasses’. But here it is, my journey so far as a first time CAREGiver.
Firstly one thing is for sure, becoming a CAREGiver, truly requires unrelenting energy and positivity, it’s both physically and emotionally demanding but every day I know I have helped to improve someone's life.
Following redundancy I was lost, I just knew I had this inner urge to help people, especially during COVID-19. I found the job advert for Home Instead Cannock and applied, on the off chance they might like me, even without having any health or social care qualifications. Luckily, they gave me a chance and following the interview, the next stage was training.
Training was completed within four days and covered a lot of different areas, which was initially very daunting. When hearing scenario situations, mental health training and medication training and advice, It was only then it truly hit me that I would be responsible for vulnerable people. A few days later, I had received all my PPE, filled out all my forms and had the app at the ready. My alarm was set for the morning, and I slept nervously, anticipating my first day as a CAREGiver.
The support I received throughout from the Home Instead Cannock team was phenomenal. They guided me through every stage and answered all the questions I had. I was told that with every new client a senior member of staff would introduce me and stay with me until I felt comfortable.
My day to day life has changed dramatically, from marketing products to now visiting lovely people, cooking, helping with medication, personal care (which isn’t as daunting as it sounds), companionship and home care.
As my alarm goes off I start my day, I check my app which contains everything I need from their care plan, the address of clients, tasks that need completing once there and notes from previous visits. Typically, my morning calls involve making breakfast and a brew, medication and personal care. These visits vary, as with us all, some mornings clients really don’t want to be woken up but others are cheerful and full of joy, looking forward to their morning cup of tea. On the app everything is logged, so all CAREGivers are in the loop on what has happened with that client at previous visits, the good and the bad. There is also always someone on the end of the phone if you need help or advice with anything. The Home Instead Cannock staff truly treat you like family from day one and always there for help and support.
I then move on to other calls throughout the morning, afternoon and evening. These are all quite similar, making meals, companionship and helping around the house whether that is ironing, hoovering or laundry. You also can’t forget any pets, quite often you have clients with cats or dogs who also have to be cared for whether that is a walk or simply feeding.
Before taking on this role, the thought of personal care really worried me. I have never been responsible for anyone other than myself and my dog so thinking about washing someone or changing the continence product really worried me. Although we don’t wear uniforms, I still have a set section of clothes I wear. Once my ‘uniform’ is on you would be surprised what you can handle and you simply just get on with it. I have surprised myself in more ways than one during my first few weeks as a CAREGiver.
Although there is some sort of routine with visits, each person is different and sometimes you really don’t know what you're walking into even with previous notes. For some people this might give them anxiety but for me it keeps it all exciting and after a few visits you soon learn their quirks. Building a bond and understanding your client is massively important as this builds trust. Knowing that client well also makes it easier to tell when something is wrong, like a change in behaviour, or characteristic that could then be an early sign that there is a medical problem. Conversations vary with clients from them telling you about their life, them wanting to know more about you, and some who are quite reflective and make you think.
Visits last minimum 45 minutes which gives you and your clients a lovely amount of time to get all required tasks done while also enough time for a chat. Quite often me and the other CAREGivers within their lives are the only people they speak to that day, especially during lockdown so this time together is truly important.
Even during COVID-19 I have felt safe and reassured. Risk assessments have all been thoroughly completed and on the app for reassurance. All PPE is provided and replenished every week to keep us safe and all CAREGivers are asked to complete special infection control training. I feel safer going to my job than to the supermarket or restaurant!
For the first time, I have discovered what real job satisfaction is. My office is now the home of these wonderful people, and seeing the difference I make to their lives and quite often their families lives is the ultimate reward. But it can be tough, you’re required to have energy, positivity and complete attention; you’re caring for people’s lives and this can’t be done half heartedly. You have to be calm in a crisis, a caring companion, a listening ear through the good and bad and quite often a MasterChef. The truth is I wouldn’t have it any other way. From the moments that make you cry with laughter to the others that simply make you want to scream. The people I have met so far, the stories I have been told, and the smiles you receive make it all worthwhile. At the end of the day you have made a positive difference to someone's life.
I never considered that this role would change me but it truly has opened my eyes up to the stark reality of what people have to go through in their lives and how others live. My priorities, outlook on life and values have changed and I certainly now appreciate every moment of life.
Ready to be a CAREGiver or looking for some extra help? Find out more about Home Instead Cannock and how we can help you or your loved one today.