Before I leave, I manage to grab a quick cup of coffee, kiss my husband and tell him to get the kids up and remind him of anything that needs to be done for our children. The first call that is on my rota this week is at 7am so I take the bus which is a 20-minute ride.
I am really excited today as all care and support staff have been given mobile phones by our company. These phones will enable us to log in and out of calls and we receive our rota for the day on them. Any new customers we can check on Google maps!
Doris is always cheerful even though she has limited mobility and suffers from arthritis. I enter her home and shout upstairs that I have arrived as I don’t want her to worry who is downstairs. I check her log book and check that everything is ok and I then go to her bedroom and have a quick chat with her before putting on my gloves and apron and getting her up and taking her to the toilet. I then give her a wash or shower and get her dressed for the day.
Once downstairs and another set of gloves and apron on I can then make her breakfast. Doris always likes to choose as this gives her variety to her week. I always try and get Doris to do as much as she can in order to retain her independence. I check the log book and update with my visit notes.
Doris has a son and daughter and grandchildren, however they live far away in Devon and have limited time to visit. We always talk about her lovely photos in the house and she always tells me when she has received a new one. Doris is full of stories from her childhood and growing up, what a life she has had.
Off to my next call which I walk to and is about 15 mins away. This call is what we call a “double up”, this means I need another carer to assist me as we need to hoist Betty in and out of bed. First thing is to check the log book for any issues or concerns.
Together with the other carer we change Betty’s underclothes and nightie, bed bath her and cream her arms and legs. Betty has limited speech, however as we have been seeing Betty for a while now we have a good rapport with her and she can communicate in her way which we understand. Again we do try and get Betty to do as much as she can on her own. After we have cleaned and dressed Betty, we hoist Betty out of her bed and place her onto her armchair. Betty will stay in this chair until we come back at lunchtime to change her underclothes and give her some lunch. Prior to leaving I entry comments in the log book ready for the next carer.
Next call is further away and I need to pop onto a bus. Cold morning today and it’s raining!! Arrive at my next call to see Fred and check the log book. Fred it a lovely man who smiles a lot. Fred can speak but is quite slow so you need lots of patience and understanding. Fred’s wife is so grateful for the work we do as she would struggle by herself; the time given by us gives Fred’s wife some time to herself which she really needs.
Fred’s bed is downstairs and he uses a commode so after putting on gloves and apron I get Fred out of bed, take him to the toilet and give him a wash, a shower if he wants it, and then I sit him in his armchair. Time for breakfast and Fred always lets me know what he wants. After breakfast, quick chat, complete the log book and then off to the next call.
I can walk again to my next call; this will be a 1 hour call. Maria has an illness where her mobility is limited and she walks with a stick. Her condition also affects her skin and she needs to have cream massaged into her skin and hair daily. Maria works at a company for 4-5 hours a day and loves the independence that this job gives her. Maria is a lovely lady and is always very appreciative of the time I spend with her. We have a nice little routine now. I don’t see Maria at weekends as her family carry out the caring during these times. On arrival check her log book and prior to leaving enter any comments or issues that I may have.
I am going to my last call of the morning before I start my lunchtime calls. This call is a 30 minute call to a young gentleman who had an unfortunate accident. This has left him in a wheelchair and he can only speak via a voice box. Tony used to live with his mother but wanted his independence to lead a near normal life and I come in to assist him to do this. He can go to the toilet but cannot shower on his own and needs assistance. After showering him I make him a cuppa and leave. His mother comes at lunchtime and evenings to make his lunch and dinner. Again on arrival I check the log book and prior to leaving enter any comments.
Lunchtime calls I re-visit Doris, Betty and Fred and carry out the routines again, however I will always make sure they have a good lunch which they normally select.
I walk to my next customer which is a 15 minute walk. Keeps me fit these walks! Simone is a lady who is blind and has limited hearing, her mobility is also limited and she tends to want to stay in bed. I check the log book as my colleague visits her in the morning and I can check if there were any issues or concerns that I need to be aware of. Her neighbour visits her about 12 noon to make her lunch and check whether she needs anything. When I visit I change Simone’s underclothes, I wash her face and hands to ensure she is clean. Prior to leaving I enter any comments in the log book that I may have.
Walking to my next customer who is a real character. Michael has so many stories of the war and what he got up to as a boy; I am constantly laughing and crying. Michael lost his wife 3 years ago and his wife did most things for him. Michael has limited mobility so need assistance with going to the toilet, making him a cup of tea and simple tasks that a lot of us take for granted. When I arrive I carry out some domestic chores and chat away to Michael. I will then make him a cup of tea and some toast which he likes to have in the afternoon. I ask if there is anything else he needs, complete the log book and then go off to my next customer.
Last customer of the day. Gurpreet has an illness that is slowly limiting the use of her limbs and her husband cannot carry out all the tasks or cope with her everyday needs. Gurpreet lived a very active life until her illness hit her so she is still coming to terms with her limited mobility and this causes her outbursts of anger and frustration. I have been Gurpreet’s carer for a while now and we have a good rapport, however it has never always been that easy. I have worked with Gurpreet and helped her retain her independence and dignity so there is a routine we have when I visit. I assist her with taking her to the toilet, washing or showering and / or washing her hair and helping her put her makeup on. I also make her afternoon tea and tidy up a bit. This is a 45 minute call. Prior to leaving I will update the log book and say goodbye.
Off home to my family and children to start my chores at home.