No two days as a care worker are the same. Whether you support the same service user daily or have a range of service users whose needs you attend to on a weekly basis, it’s likely that each day will bring with it its own rewards, as well as trials and tribulations.
All service users have different needs, which is what makes care a job role that is so varied in the tasks carried out. One day could be spent preparing meals throughout the day; another could involve ensuring that bills and household paperwork is in order or another may require more hands-on, physical assistance such as washing, dressing and toileting.
Working in the caring profession is one of the most rewarding and satisfying jobs that a person can undertake. However, it is also a selfless role, which requires carers to place the needs of a service user first, and ensure that they are able to lead a safe, comfortable, rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle, despite whatever illnesses or personal struggles they may be facing. It is important to remember that working as a carer can leave you physically and emotionally tired, but the reward greatly outweighs this.
As a carer, the primary role is to promote independence, something which, of course, means different things to different people. To one service user independence may mean being able to go to the toilet without assistance, while to another it may mean making a cup of tea, or independence may be being able to go out into the community unaided; whatever the independence goal is, as a carer, it is your responsibility to help the service user fulfil their potential.
As we mentioned, working in care is extremely varied, and while you may work closely with one service user each day, you may find one day that your services are no longer required or you need to assist with a new person whom you have not met before, or perhaps you may see different service users on a rota basis. Therefore, it’s important that if your day changes at a moment’s notice, you are able to jump right in and build a rapport quickly with a new service user. Entering another person’s home who you do not know is a daunting experience for both parties involved, but if you are able to swiftly put them at ease and strike up a conversation, it can make the sudden change for both of you much more comfortable.
Working with the same service user or users day in, day out, means that you will have a deep understanding of the more minute details day to day. For example, while you may complete the same tasks on set days of the week or set times during the day, as a carer who works closely with a service user, you are likely to know exactly how this task should be carried out.
For example, you will know exactly how an individual likes their meals dished up onto a plate, how much milk or sugar is needed in a cup of tea, how they like their clothing to be put on or the way that they like cleaning tasks completed. Similarly, you’ll also know where everyday items are stored and be able to conduct these tasks without having to ask the questions – it is this ability to fit seamlessly into another person’s life that you will learn when working closely with a service user and working to support their daily goals.
Each day may bring different appointments that a service user may need to attend, and you are likely to be working alongside other health or care professionals, family members or friends who are involved in a person’s care too. For example, you may be providing additional support to a live-in carer or be required to assist a health worker in ensuring that the correct medication is administered daily. Therefore, you are likely to be working collaboratively with others when providing care for a service user.
Providing care means supporting a service user with their daily needs. This means that each day is likely to involve assisting with washing, dressing, food preparation, eating, drinking, help with household tasks such as cleaning and paperwork maintenance and organisation, as well as travel to appointments and activities.
With this overview in mind, we have outlined a possible day of activities and responsibilities in the life of a carer.
If you are working with a service user who needs assistance with getting out of bed, then it’s likely to mean an early start as you will be required to help with this task, washing and dressing and other preparations for the day ahead. This is usually from 7am onwards.
This may also include the preparation of breakfast and help with eating and drinking too.
If medication needs to be taken then you may need to assist with this and make all the required notes.
By mid-morning all early morning tasks are likely to be completed, therefore you may need to help with any administrative tasks involved with running the house such as organising bills or completing the housework.
A large part of your role as a carer is to provide companionship, therefore it will also involve enjoying the company of one another, perhaps over a cup of tea or watching television or completing an activity such as a jigsaw.
Similar to breakfast time, you may need to prepare the lunchtime meal and help with eating and drinking of the meal.
Medication may need to be taken at lunchtime, so you will need to check if any drugs are required and record everything necessary in the daily log book.
The afternoon may involve visits from friends or family, visits to a doctor’s appointment or an afternoon trip out with friends. You will be required to provide assistance where necessary help moving around the home or providing vehicle transport to appointments or activities.
By early evening, meal preparation may once again be required, as well as assistance with eating and drinking.
It will also be time to wind down before bed, therefore calming activities may take place.
At bedtime visits, you may need to help once again with an evening wash and getting into nightwear. Your final task will be to ensure that the service user is comfortably in their bed and safe for the night.
All activities and observations of the day will need to be recorded.
Lastly, you will need to ensure that the home is tidy and secure before you leave, ready for the following day.