Staff profile – David, Support Worker
This was (still is!) my first job in the care industry. Why did I choose this career? A few years previously I met a team of people who worked in the care industry and showed me how much of a difference people can make to the lives of others, simply by being there and by treating people as people and not labels. It left a deep impression on me, so when I saw the advert for Creative Support I thought I’d apply and see if I had what it takes.
I wasn’t thrown in at the deep end and told to learn how to swim by myself – every step of the way I was given training to introduce me to new concepts, and from the very first day in the job I was surrounded by experienced staff who taught by example. I was told I would need to take the NVQ Level 2 qualification – my assessor was on hand to help me with this, and it was interesting to see how much you learn in a short space of time, but without realising it! The NVQ is a great way of highlighting how you apply the ethos of the company into ‘real’, practical and everyday terms.
Support Work isn’t something I had ever considered before but now it’s hard to think why. In this job I’ve found you come away with a sense of real achievement, that you are making a difference to people’s lives. Sometimes it can be difficult, but the great thing is that you are surrounded by team-mates who tackle the same challenges together, and find new ways of solving problems and offering a proper support role to our clients. It’s a job you can really hold your head high in and speak about with real pride.
An Average Day
Sometimes I will do a late shift with a sleep-in in the client’s own home. On these occasions I wake up at about 7 and creep downstairs, being careful not to disturb the client’s sleep. I’ll have breakfast, perform any brief tasks that need doing (like emptying the bin, etc) then let in my colleague as he arrives on shift. Once the client is awake the shift really begins. It’s always important to be friendly around the client, so if he looks worried or upset about something, we’ll ask him what’s bothering him; if he is happy and cheerful, we will laugh along with him and encourage him to do the things that he enjoys.
The client I work with at the moment enjoys regular trips to a bowling alley, so we all head off in the client’s mobility car for a game followed by lunch. Getting out and about is massively important for our clients, making sure they have fun and enjoy things which they might otherwise have problems with. It’s also a good opportunity for our clients to show their fun side, our client especially loves to meet new people and introduce himself to them. When I first started work I was a little nervous about this but one thing you totally lose in this line of work is your inhibitions – you see things from your client’s perspective and basically ‘go with the flow’.
You also realise just how much you yourself can take simple things like meeting new people for granted, so it’s great to help your client ‘get stuck in’.
On arrival at home there are things that need to be done around the house, so between ourselves my colleague and I will divide up the basic chores, which include of course the dreaded paperwork as well as tidying and keeping the client’s house clean. We also dispense medication and record this medication exactly (we’re all given training on how to do this).
An evening may see us doing activities inside the house, such as playing games, baking or going on the computer, or going out to a local pub or a service user’s social gathering. Wherever we go we respect the client’s wishes to go off by himself, sit by himself, etc, but obviously that doesn’t mean we just sit around and ignore him – we keep a discreet eye on the client just to make sure he stays safe. Nights out are always fun for all of us, and it’s great to see our client coping so well with things about which we sometimes ‘fear the worst’ – with every thing we do outside the house, we draw up or refer to existing Risk Assessments, just to ensure, as much as is possible, that the client will come to no harm or be in a situation he may find awkward.
It’s always good to see the client ‘prove us wrong’, and enjoy something with flying colours where WE, the support workers, thought there might be problems. This goes to show that our clients can teach US more than just a thing or two!