'That extra Mile'


Bumper to bumper outside Boys High,

The hands of time tick on by,

I glance down and see my rota list,

My starting times already missed.


School run mums are out in style,

This should clear in just a while,

On the pavement cant fail but see,

An elderly lady is beating me.


Ahead of me is quite a fuss,

Black smoke cloaks Arriva bus,

Brake lights gone on white van man,

I’ll try and lose him when I can


Diversion sign by Budgens store,

The bypass closed,

Now that’s sods law,

Frantically searching for my phone,

Bloody hell, it’s left at home.


Neglectful thoughts fill my head,

Not washed or dressed or even fed,

I hope my clients understand,

I’m hours later than I planned


I need not of panicked,

Because you see tea and toast were waiting for me,

My awful journey so worthwhile,

Relieved to see me and missed my smile.

This is a poem that I wrote in my early days of working for Home Instead, nearly five years ago. It highlights one of my main causes of annoyance and frustration and that’s being stuck in a traffic jam. The poem could be compared to that of an elderly person stuck at home. Their situation means they are grid locked within the same four walls, with perhaps only a television for company and many obstacles preventing them from moving on. Most of us find it hard to imagine what this must be like on a daily basis because it's something we don’t envisage. Traffic jams will only hinder our journey but for those who are vulnerable there predicament does not alter, without the support of others. It is encouraging that we are all living longer and there is no doubt that being able to remain at home will benefit physical and mental wellbeing so family and friends are vital but so to are dedicated CAREGivers who can facilitate this process. Being a CAREGiver is more rewarding than I ever thought possible and I have to admit that I was sceptical about applying in the first place.  I initially heard about Home Instead from a friend whose neighbour was a client. I remember her recalling that the carers seemed different from the usual stereotype.  They were smart in appearance, trustworthy, caring and friendly so had made a big impact on the quality of life for the family next door.  It was refreshing to hear, as I had heard some negative aspects of the home care industry Having qualified as a nurse years ago. I hated the thought of not being able to look after people properly due to unrealistic time restraints and company policies. Home Instead logo, To us its personal , showed me that perhaps this was a company who actually cared enough to treat elders with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Over time, I have not been disappointed to discover anything different. In fact, it’s made me question why it’s apparent that not all care companies are like us. High standards are always paramount and working in such a friendly and supportive environment was a key to my personal fulfilment. I have now progressed to my new role as community service representative where I am keen to make a difference by promoting a company that I truly believe in. I am enjoying promoting the business by letting people know what we are all about and why we are so special. Also informing that we all have a choice on our Homecare providers and don’t have to settle for anybody. Another part of my job is to seek out potential CAREGivers, looking for those admirable attributes that are vital to our success.  Laura Speller, our recruitment officer then has the task of the rest of the application process. I don’t envy her as it is vital we employ only the best! Looking at adverts for community carers, I am amazed how many that just ask, do you drive? Do you need flexible hours? No experience necessary. Where is the wording, Do you care enough to make a difference? Are you trustworthy and empathetic towards others? David Bassett started my introductory training with telling us to treat clients as though they were our nans and granddads. I strongly believe this has to be at the forefront of everything we do. My own philosophy is to treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. A very true saying and if we all did this shoddy and inadequate care would rarely occur.  Unfortunately the home care sector has had bad press from time to time. Whether it’s in a newspaper or on the television, all the immoral tales of neglect, abuse and betrayal of trust spill out into the public domain. The Panorama programme on Winterbourne view residential home caused a media uproar and painted the health and social care sector in a worrying light. The quality care commission (QCC) is the independent health and social care regulator in England and monitors, inspects and reports on all establishments. The standards expected by the QCC are high and inspections are more vigorous than ever which means institutions are sanctioned and possibly closed down if there is evidence of poor practice. I am proud to say that Home Instead inspections are consistently good and have never faltered. The league tables reveal we are England’s top homecare provider in East Herts and West Essex. Also we are delighted to announce that we were named winner in the Homecare provider category at The Independent specialist care Awards held in London on Wednesday 11th March 2015 . We were one of only 17 companies to collect a prestigious award at the event hosted by BBC presenter Bill Turnbull. We are quite rightly proud but only too aware that we must not be complacent and let our standards slip. Knowing the management like I do, I feel sure that this would never be allowed to happen. Most of the office staff come away from their desks to undertake care calls. Even the director! It helps reinforce our strong ethos and keeps us in touch with what s going on out there. There is also the element of enjoying the contact with our clients. This is after all why we came into this profession in the first place. I use the word profession as I feel that being a CAREGiver is rarely given the recognition that it deserves. We are a vital service amongst the Health and social care umbrella and very much relied upon. The beauty of working in care is that there are so many different roles and you can progress to any one of these through experience and training. We actively encourage enrolment onto the NVQ programmes as well as specialised training courses like Alzheimer and dementia courses, fraud workshops and many more. I have studied Psychology through the Open University and working in the care sector has benefitted me enormously. The human mind is the source of all thought and behaviour so how we feel can dictate how we act. The clients have contributed to my learning and continue to do so. It has been amazing to hear about the experiences that they have had in life and I will never get tired of listening to the tales from there past. The times I have laughed and also cried with them and I would hope all our CAREGivers would get to know there clients as best they can. Being a CAREGiver means you have the privilege to make a huge difference and its so rewarding to find yourself accepted as part of another family. On a personal note, I never lose touch with a client’s family when they have sadly passed away.  I pop in periodically to see how things are and this I do for my own benefit and peace of mind as well as for the company I am representing. Home Instead is so unique and these are some of the reasons why I feel we shine: We carefully select our CAREGivers on attributes that are vital in order to care for people properly asking for six references at the application process. Our introductory programme will equip you with basic knowledge but shadowing a senior CAREGiver will give you more in the way of learning and understanding. CAREGivers only undertake care calls when ready and there is no rush or pressure.

  • No rushed fifteen minute care calls. Majority are an hour plus.
  • We fully support all members of staff and do our very best to alleviate any issues or problems.
  • We try to match our CAREGivers to our clients .Especially if there are particular hobbies and interests
  • We keep the same known CAREGivers to our clients. Continuity is vital. A client will always know who is arriving at their front door and what time. We never use agency CAREGivers.
  • The Personalised care plans are flexible and variable depending on circumstances of our client.  We understand if a CAREGiver needs to make changes. Although we expect them to ring the office to inform us, we welcome initiative.
  • We regularly hold supervisions with our staff and keep training up to date.
  • Our records show us that our CAREGivers go that extra mile for there clients and we recognise that our staff are the foundation of why we are so successful.

I would like to conclude with some of my personal goals for the future.  Loneliness and isolation are a big concern of mine and the Be a Santa to a senior scheme at Christmas highlighted this. My idea of doing more in the way of befriending the elderly at home involves referring a client (with the clients and families consent) to initiatives in our community that supply volunteers to pop in on a regular basis. Marks and Spencer’s and Tesco have a network of staff who visit the elderly   Also I aim to get more involved with cancer and other charity organisations representing Homeinstead senior care.  There are so many ways we can all go that extra mile and as I now drive from Mildenhall in Suffolk down to Sawbridgeworth , three times a week, I’m putting in those extra miles literally!