Firstly, I would say that there is no such thing as a typical day’s work. All our service users have different needs and expectations and on each visit their personal circumstances can change and be quite different from any previous visit.
I have worked for HICA for 11yrs and I find the work extremely rewarding. I generally feel very appreciated by my service users. Some of them have no relatives living close so their carers are the only people they see regularly. I try to spend a little time chatting with them and engage in other activities when time permits. I either attend our service users singly or as a two carer call. This would be when moving and handling is required which depends on the needs of the service user. I use my car to travel from call to call but other carers either cycle between calls or walk. If it’s appropriate, I sometimes give another carer a lift in my car.
My first call is at 6.00am. On arriving and leaving at all calls, we tag in and out using the phone supplied to us by HICA, so our office team can see the call has been attended to. We document in the care diary the care that has taken place and complete medication charts where necessary.
My first call is for 45 minutes and it’s a single carer call. The lady is unable to walk without assistance. She lives on her own. Her bed is in the lounge area. I assist her up and onto her commode. I prepare a bowl of nice warm water and towels, so she is able to wash and dry her hands and face by herself. I assist her to body wash, dress and comb her hair. Ensure she has her pendant alarm on. I encourage her to walk to her comfy chair using her frame whilst I walk with her supporting her if she needs assistance. Once she is seated, I get her breakfast and chat with her. I then prepare her medication which she has every other day. I make her bed, open the curtains and switch on either her TV or radio, whichever she wants. I empty and clean her commode and make sure her reading glasses are handy as she loves completing puzzles throughout the day. We have a little chat and laugh. I complete her care diary and leave her eating her breakfast, reminding her that I will see her later on that day.
By 9.40am I’m onto my seventh call. This is a 30 minutes call and I’m doubled up with another carer as it’s a two carer call. This gentleman lives with dementia. We chat and sing with him and he will laugh back at us (perhaps we’re not very good singers!). We assist with a full body wash and dry, take care of his personal needs and dress him in clean clothes, leaving him comfortable in bed. (I will be returning later in the day to assist him out of bed). We chat to his wife as she won’t leave him alone in the house, so she generally has no one to talk with except his carers. This call is almost as much about making sure she’s fine as well as our service user.
My fifteenth call of the day at 2pm. It’s another single care call, this one of 30minutes duration and I’m back to my very first call of the day. Letting myself in using the key safe this is a lunch call and I give the lady several choices of what she would like to eat. (The Monday carer goes through the food options with her and places her weekly order for her). Whilst her meal is cooking, I assist with her continence care, helping her on and off her commode as required. She discusses her sister and regrets that they haven’t spoken much lately so I ring her up and pass the phone to my lady and leave them to chat. It brightens up her day. I serve her meal with a drink and empty and clean her commode whilst she eats. As it will be dark by her next call I close her curtains and put her lamp on. I leave her finishing her meal, lock the door and return the key to the key safe.
At 16.55 it’s my nineteenth and last call of the day, another 30minute visit and a single carer call to a lady who lives on her own but has a very supportive family. I ensure that her medication is taken and update her documentation. As is often the case, she says she’s not hungry and will only want a piece of cake for her tea. However, I know from experience that if I suggest several alternatives she will opt for something a little more substantial and will enjoy it. We chat whilst she is having her meal. She was herself a carer many years ago and recounts tales of when she was working. I leave her eating her tea.
It’s now 17.23 and I have now completed my day’s work. I set off to drive home having completed 19 calls and 115 minutes traveling time between them all.
I’m now hungry and ready for my own tea. I will have a shower and settle down to watch Coronation Street on television before heading to bed, ready for another early start with tomorrows shift.