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Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Life of a Care Assistant Part 1 care

I have recently been asked by the Matron at the home where I work to keep a detailed diary of my day to day tasks in order for the management to get a better idea as to what the staff on the floor do on a day to day basis and the time which each of these tasks take. They maintain that getting this information directly from the staff will give them a clearer idea of what challenges we face on a day to day basis when dealing with service users. I maintain that they are asking us to do this because it means that they don't have to get off their arses and leave the office or, heaven forfend actually have to interact with the service users, but what do I know.

While this is tedious and just adds to the even increasing list of things to take up my time at work I thought that it would make quite an interesting blog topic and so I will be sharing this working diary ( with a few alterations to avoid breaching client confidentiality) here. Enjoy

Diary Day 1

Today I was slightly out of my comfort zone as I was required to work on a unit that is not where I am usually based due to an imbalance in staffing levels ( aka those who compiled the rota didn't pay any attention to how many staff we actually need). On the plus side though today was the one day a week where I work a half shift so and we had a very peaceful morning so all was well.

My day started at 6am when I was woken up by Sheldon bringing me breakfast ( he's so considerate bless him.) I ate my breakfast in bed, got myself up and ready and made it out of the flat for just before 7am in order to catch the 7:05 bus to work. The bus was actually on time so I wasn't stood out in the cold for very long :)

Following the bus ride and a then a brisk walk ( the home is on a tiny little side road and the nearest bus stop is 3 quarters of a mile away) I arrived at work and clocked on at 7:45. I changed out of my boots into work appropriate shoes and had time to grab a coffee and have a quick chat with my colleagues before heading to the nurses station for my unit handover.

Unit handover is a very important part of our working day as it is where the nursing and care staff meet to share information regarding the conditions of the service users and also where we are provided with crucial information regarding any condition changes from the night staff. In my case this unit handover was particularly important as it had been quite sometime since I had worked on the unit in question and it was a chance for me to receive information regarding changes in the service users since last time I was there. All questions answered and information it was on with the tasks of the morning.

The unit I was working on, on this particular day is home to 23 service users who are both nursing and residential clients of mixed needs and abilities. The unit itself is split into the east and west wings and I was assigned to work the east wing with a colleague and friend of mine Chrissie.* Luckily the night staff who had been on the previous night had actually done some work for a change and a significant number of residents who leave their beds, were already out of bed and in the lounge waiting for the meal time staff to take them through to the dining rooms for breakfast.

The two residents remaining who needed to be got out of bed and ready for breakfast were those who required assistance for 1 carer so we split up and began the task at hand.

At 8:25 I went into the room of Resident A* to assist him with his morning routine, this involved assisting him to get up of the bed and escorting him to his bathroom to use the toilet, while he did so I stripped and changed his bed, (a task which is not difficult but if you'd seen the hash that some people make of it you'd think it were brain surgery, it really is not that difficult to fold hospital corners on a flat sheet over a mattress), ensured his room was neat and tidy and opened his curtains. I then assisted the resident with his hygiene needs, washing if hands face etc before helping him into his dressing gown and escorting him downstairs to the dining room, this particular resident is ambulatory (using a zimmerframe) but is at high risk of falls and therefore requires assistance/observation whilst walking.

After ensuring that this resident was settled in the dining room, I again met up with Chrissie and we headed over to the west wing of the unit to offer our assistance to the staff working there.

At  8:50 we went into the room of Resident B who again was ambulatory with a walking frame, we assisted her with washing and dressing and then Chrissie escorted her to the dinning room, whilst I tidied the room, made the bed and removed her commode to the sluice to disinfect it.

After doing this I heard the call bell and went to answer it, in doing so I met up with Chrissie and at 9:15 we entered the room of Resident C who needed assistance returning to bed after using the bathroom. We noticed that her bed sheets were slightly dirty so whilst I helped the resident to clean up in the bathroom Chrissie changed the bed sheets and we assisted then resident back into her bed.

We were informed by a member of staff upon leaving this residents room that there was a resident who was dressed on his bed but as he needed a hoist to get him out of bed this would require two members of staff, Chrissie and I said that we would attend to him we entered Resident D's room at 9:30 we lifted the resident from his bed using the hoist and transferred him from his bed to the chair in the nurses station where he spends his day. I then went back into his room to make his bed whilst Chrissie headed down stairs to fetch the breakfast trolley up from the kitchen.

The next hour between 09:40 and 10:40 was spent dispensing breakfasts for those resident who remain in their rooms and assisting those who are unable to feed themselves with their meal, and then collecting up all of the dirty bowls, plates, cups and cutlery.

Upon entering resident E's room to collect her breakfast things she pointed to the hair that was growing out of her face and asked me to do something about it. I removed her breakfast tray and then went on a hunt through the toiletries cupboard for a razor and some shaving foam having found these I returned to her room and shaved her face for her.

Having ensured that all of the breakfast things had been collected in I stopped briefly to document the care that I had given that morning on the homes computer system. Before returning the breakfast trolley to the kitchen at 10:55. I then went on my allotted 15 minute break.

Upon returning from my break I found one of my colleagues  handing out mid morning drinks, I teamed up with her and gave drinks to those residents who needed assistance with drinking before I returned the drinks trolley to the kitchen at 11:30

After doing so I went in to the home's main lounge or "day room" as some people call it and covered lounge duty so that the girl who was there could take her break, I spent 15 minutes collecting cups from mid morning drinks and tidying up in the lounge before other colleagues arrived and we began the process of preparing the residents for lunch. This process involves transferring residents from the arm chairs in the lounge to wheelchair where necessary by means of assisted standing, stand-aids or hoists, and ensuring that all residents who need to do so are assisted in going to the toilet, the residents are then wheeled through to the dinning rooms where lunch is served.

At 12:20 I again teamed up with Chrissie in order to take food from the kitchen to those resident who remained in their rooms, as Chrissie was more familiar with the residents in the unit she said that she would run trays to those who are able to feed themselves and would point me in the direction of the residents who needed to be fed. I fed three separate residents returning to the kitchen to dispose of dirty plates ect and collect the next meal in between each client. Following this I went round the unit to ensure that all dirty plates and utensils had been collected and returned those that I found to the kitchen.

At 13:20 I assisted other colleagues in wheeling those clients who had finished eating through to the lounge from the dinning rooms and transferring them into arm chairs at 1:50 I was asked by a senior member of staff to cover lounge duty for 10 minutes while the designated member of staff finished her lunch break. This involved sitting with the residents in the day room as they went about their activities, ensuring that they were all safe an comfortable.

At 14:00 hours, the end of my shift, the designated staff member came to take over lounge duty and I headed to the staff cloak room to collect my belonging, on my way out of the building I was stopped by the training manager who wanted to discuss some continuing professional development training courses with me and after a discussion with her I clocked out and left the building at just before 10 past 2. I then walked down the road and caught the bus at 14:35 arriving home shortly after 15:00.

So there you have it one half day in the life of a care assistant which from leaving the house to returning home took 8 hours, and yet there are still people who maintain that care in an easy job and anyone can do it.

My next shift is Sunday, as I know have 3 days off in a row, and I as I will have to fill in this stupid shift diary again you can expect a Part 2 which will demonstrate the work that I do in a full day (12 hour shift) on my own unit.