Do you care? I DO

A personal blog written by our dedicated Carer Melissa who has been working with HP Homecare for more than 15 years. She wholeheartedly describes what made her choose her profession.

About 15 years ago I began studying on a part time basis. In order to fund this and maintain a flexible schedule I did various part time jobs caring being one of them. I’d worked in inpatient psychiatric settings and mental health day centres. Not really knowing what being a ‘carer’ would actually entail; I thought ‘How hard can it be?’

After an in depth interview with the head of home care a couple of weeks of basic training and DBS clearance I was assigned my first client…. It went well, as a first assignment I was matched to somebody who needed more of a ‘companion’ type role and this eased me in gently. Though dealing with people isn’t always necessarily ‘easy’ I realised that showing empathy, compassion, patience and actually listening to people; all of which I was able to do, then this was a job I was going to really enjoy.

With the extensive training programme offered I have expanded my knowledge in terms of medication use, how to care for somebody physically, how to communicate with other professionals, sometimes on behalf of a client/patient or as support to a client’s/patient’s relative. I update CPR training annually and though I hope to never have to use it, I know that if I ever found myself in a situation where it was needed I would feel confident to apply what I have learnt. With regular training over the years I feel more confident and able to reassure clients/patients when necessary.

After several years of doing not only ad hoc shifts but also longer placements with regular clients, I was assigned to Mr ‘G’. I spent almost 2 years with him Monday to Friday. He was probably my favourite client out of everybody I’ve ever worked with. Mr ‘G’ was a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient, confined to a wheelchair with limited movement of arms and hands. One of my tasks was at times being his hands and because he was fiercely independent only when absolutely necessary. I accompanied him to hospital appointments and helped him re-arrange his scores of books. We listened to music and I’d ask him for help with the crossword. I sometimes fed him and he tested me on the maths papers he set for me! Every day was different and interesting, sometimes challenging and tiring but always rewarding and satisfying.

We struck up a great rapport and enjoyed many activities together. We visited museums and galleries, often travelling across London together, sometimes by bus or when weather permitted he in his electrically charged wheelchair and me on foot. I would help him drink and eat and discreetly empty his catheter when we couldn’t find a loo! I found that all of those skills that I realised in the beginning that I needed to be an effective carer were all utilised during the time I spent with Mr ‘G’. We had a lot of fun, I like to think I created some value whilst carrying out the tasks required of me and we developed a good friendship with boundaries. I was aware that I was working in a professional capacity and there is always a line not to be crossed as a carer however good a relationship you develop with a client/patient, it’s subtle but must always be observed in order to maintain that professional relationship based on a framework of respect.

Who knew after all of the diverse clients/patients and their relational networks that I have engaged with and worked for with Health Professionals Home Care for the last 15 years plus with the inevitable ups and downs of working so closely with people that I would still be happy working as a carer.

This rewarding work has given me everything I have wanted in a job – variety, diversity, flexibility, creative experiences, travel along with the opportunity to work 1:1 and really get to know people, something I very much enjoy and exposure to different cultures, nationalities and traditions.
I would highly recommend this as a profession.

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