Friday, April 3, 2020

What I hope ....

When I tell people I own a care home, one of the first thing people often ask is "Is it difficult to find good staff?"

At this point I wax lyrical about the amazing team of carers and staff that work alongside me. I talk about my relationship with S and the rest of the staff, the fact that staff are often messaging me to ask about a particular resident, how they will send suggestions about things we can do with residents.  I am aware that in the last two years I have changed a lot and asked masses from the team (just ask them what the response was when I said we were going to move to online care notes...), if I am not there I am on the phone constantly and I notice when I say "I've had an idea" the staff raise their eyebrows, wondering what I am about suggest....

I tell people about the staff; how we are like a family (and often are infact family as there are quite a few mother and daughter combinations who work together) and how the team support each other and I know that they think about work constantly.  Once you are part of our family you never leave, infact we currently have a resident who was a podiatrist for the home decades ago and we had another resident who used to be a cook at LTC.

One of the senior team told me a story (pre lockdown!). She said that she was at the pub with friends, all of whom did different jobs in different industries.  She told them that she "reckoned" she could have "a good go" at any of their jobs.  She reckoned she may last a week, two weeks, three weeks or more, but that she would try their jobs.  She told them she didn't think any of them would last more than 5 minutes in her job... and I suspect that is true, I think very few people could actually do a care job.

Working in care is not a highly paid job, you are paid hourly (so the fact that staff members are contacting me when they are not working just proves how they love their job). Not all the jobs that a carer does are pleasant, it is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, and at times it can be frustrating and feel thankless.  In recent years you hear lots of horror stories about what goes on in care homes, but the moments of magic (of which there are many) so infrequently get coverage.  
You are born a carer, and it takes a special type of person to work in care, particularly caring for those living with dementia.    

In the current climate, those working in care, like other healthcare workers, we are about to face our biggest challenge ever and yet they are keeping smiling, keeping on working, putting aside their own emotions for the sake of caring about others.

It is lovely to see the clapping which took place last night and the Thursday before, but what do I really hope?  When this is all over, I hope that social care reform really does take place.  I hope that the care industry can get the funding it so desperately needs and that carers can be properly rewarded for the incredible job that they do, day in, day out. 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

To all the carers, thank you.  You are incredible.

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