Wishing that sometimes We didn’t know what We know!!

Decided that sometimes knowledge of something can make you know too much.

I am sure this sounds like I have possibly lost the plot but I have worked in care for 30 years. Supporting people to develop skills, keep skills and to be cared for through the end of life process.

Some people would think knowing information or knowing what’s to come is a good thing. However, not always as at the moment it isn’t. Knowing the progression within Dementia and knowing the end of life process means, I know what my dad is possibly going to go through. As a trainer in social care I stand each month and teach about dementia awareness which has an impact on me as I am actually talking about what might happen to my dad, over and over (I love my job but it can be hard when going through something).

Knowledge and experience

As my dad progresses through the dementia journey I struggle to get those images out of my head of people I have met, cared for through this incredibly harsh disease. I see the people screaming as they are being cared for and shouting for mum because they have forgot the reality they are in. I see the progress of having to assist the person to eat with a puréed diet because there swallow has been effected. I also see the families broken and frightened of who they now, don’t really know. I see the daughter visiting their mother but she no longer remembers being a mother. I have also been lucky enough to be with people at their end of life and know what it can be like sometimes I wish I did know as I am sure others wish they didn’t know.

My reality at the moment is wishing I didn’t know wishing I was being told by a professional at each stage rather already knowing quite a lot all at once so I know the possible end journey.

Just a family member

We forget that people who work in care or in the caring profession whether a doctor, nurse or care worker that they will have loved ones who may be suffering from a condition. But just because they have the knowledge they are not a doctor, nurse or carer when we are talking about a family member they are just a daughter, son, husband, mother etc. They too will be on the journey and even though they can’t forget what they have learnt or seen they will wish they could for a day so they can be just like everyone else and be the daughter, son etc.

Dementia is a journey for all. Just remember to enjoy the good days and role with the punches on the not so good days. Do what you can and just love each other.

Take care all.

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Social Care and the NHS…

For the last few days I have been ‘tweeting’ I am new to this and just wanted to be more pro-active. I have had a good time just commenting and retweeting tweets until today. I know social media is known as a bit of a harsh place to be at times. However, being part of the care industry and training both nurses and carers I think it is important to be fair when posting about social care and the NHS. I made a comment that it is not only social care that has the poor care but so does the NHS and the response from a particular person was rather harsh. Telling me that NHS is superior and telling me ALL social care providers are rotten (not word for word but that the tone of the comments).

I am not disrespecting the NHS I am grateful for it but when will people understand bad care happens in the NHS to. We as a family have witness this on a number of occasions (not just once). It seems everyone is quick to speak negatively about social care both home care and care homes. Don’t get me wrong I have been honest about our experience with home care also but lets ensure we are not constantly thinking the NHS is superior to everything. It has it’s faults as does social care.

Social care is so devalued and until we value it more we will always have people saying all social care providers are bad and all NHS is superior.

There are many things wrong and one of the things wrong is providers not being held responsible or monitored properly by local authorities. Recruitment of managers, recruitment of care workers not appropriately done. However, the issues are similar within the NHS as well and we should not forget this. The lack of monitoring of how a ward is run as I just don’t get that in the same hospital wards can be so different.

We must push care/nursing/healthcare as a chosen career so we need to show that society and politicians value it . Time we pushed the best practice that is out there, time we were more constructive with our concerns, time to be a solution so if you have a concern do speak up regardless of whether it’s the NHS or not.  Local authorities and CQC time to really understand that one persons experience is important to check out. Time we had zero tolerance of poor practice and care. We have the 6 C’s lets make sure they are followed. Stop thinking all are bad there are so many good providers, hospitals, carers/nurses out there. Stop tarring all with the same brush.

I don’t expect all to agree and I don’t mind if you disagree but once I replied to comments today the person sent me a very harsh reply and placed a screen shot of may profile up. It felt like I was being bullied into shutting up. Sadly my confidence on social media is still not up there so I deleted and blocked the person. I am not about airing my laundry in public. I am about being fair. I am about voicing an opinion. I am about learning from others. I will continue of Twitter but it has left an uncomfortable taste in my mouth of how people can be. Kindness and respect cost nothing.

Innovation and Social care :( :)

Innovation is a great thing it really is and I am all for change and progression. On reading a few months ago about the Alexa assisting within loneliness for people who are in care homes or home care I was sceptical in the idea that is was going to relieve pressure on carers. I was sceptical as the outreaching idea had made suggestions that it was going to be doing task carer do and so less time to be with the person, this is where I then get very frustrated about as replacing human contact will never be the best thing to do ever. It may alleviate loneliness in the sense when the carers are not there that it can be set to read or play music but not instead of carers please.  It could also mean that the individual could raise the alarm if they fall if they are able to. Or to call if there is a potential intruder, also, if get a camera and an Alexa show then they can see who is at the door. So there are uses but not to replace care. I know personally that actually the Alexa has been a great thing for my mum. I got her an Alexa show and she loves it and it has really given her something to do but also, she can call me on it and she can carry on doing things as she chats and she has. I believe it great for her as a carer for her husband.

Then this morning I read an article about a robot being heard in parliament and the article stated ‘robot to care for nations elderly population’. I understand cuts and innovation but come on please again social care is been undervalued and stating in some sense (I know not fully) that a robot can replace a human to care for people. It doesn’t just talk about loneliness it talks about caring. It got me thinking about the people that are most vulnerable that require carers/support workers etc, some of the people we are talking about have, dementia, mental health problems which means sometimes they are hallucinating which can you imagine having a robot around your home when you are in a crisis with your mental health conditions. How scary. It mentions care homes, well most care homes will have people with Dementia and I am sorry but if you work in care you know how residents can react when they don’t recognise a human or when they have a piece of equipment brought to them.

I am frustrated I really am and that’s because we are looking at cheapest option (I know money is tight) and already politicians, society do not value the work social care does and here we are lets use robots. If we are doing this in social care then why not replace teachers, doctors receptionists or hospital porters with robots? Why not replace other frontline staff? Lets not just focus on care work and the social care industry. I am sure someone will say they are not but to me this is what it feels like. Innovation is great and I am still interested in reading more and seeing what more of the ideas they have but remember people first always.

Please feel free to debate.

Attention to Care the Aim

Morning everyone, another week in the life of Attention to Care.  After posting about recruitment and retention of staff within care I decided to just write a little more about Attention to Care and what my aim is.

Attention to care as I mentioned in previous post is my own company which is not LTD at this point in time I am just a sole trader. I set it up as I lost a little faith in being employed by others. I felt I lacked control in my life and I was losing who I was, which then meant I lost a little of what I was aiming to achieve. Care has been my life since I was 16 I went to college and did a qualification called Preliminary Certificate in Social Care. It was a good course that then gained me a job within Cambridgeshire Mencap where I worked on and off for 23 years. I then as previously explained went on to Assessing and training. I felt the needed to try and give others the opportunity to learn and develop to then progress. (sorry digressing)

I worked for a number of years with 2 large training providers and learnt a lot but also learnt that there is a push for bums on seats not on quality. Sadly this is true and the fact that we talk about individual learning as far as my experience was there was not individual learning just generic. I ended up having a full break for 6 months and then went to a college (not the best decision) realising that it was really not for me I need a new challenge so luckily I kept in touch with a colleague (friend) and he got me some freelance work as an assessor. 2 years later still dabble in assessing have now about 9 learners. However, my main goal is to build the training in house at care companies which I am loving. I can show my passion and be honest with people about care and all its wonderful colours and sounds.

Attention to Care was set up last year and the aim of Attention to Care is to train in care companies but also to use Facebook to promote care in general. To give care a face, a visibility, a value. I do not wear rose coloured spectacles I know the reality within care and know when things go wrong they can go gravely wrong. However, I know how great care can be across all companies. I can meet people who are amazing, who value people who promote fully the 6 C’s (care, compassion, commitment, courage, communication and competency) people that wants to make some difference whether that is leaving a person with a smile after they have supported them or supported someone to be independent.

So if we commence sharing the good stories and valuing the care staff and management then I am sure we can commencing fixing a system that seems a little broken at the moment. If I can be part of that fix then the aim of Attention to Care will have been fulfilled. Its not a lot to ask that we look at care and what people do on a daily basis to support our most vulnerable in society. If we look at the value it has for those that are being cared for then we can see how vital it is to do something to make it what it needs to be. Care needs to have a value, it needs to be about a career choice it needs to be a first choice in options for our children (not a throw away subject).

So the more I spout off , communicate and just generally speak up then hopefully someone will read and help me with the aim then share and like. That’s the aim to show care as something worthwhile.

So if like a soap box, bandwagon or just generally like sound of own voice (Like me) then please read, like, comment and share. Join a community to value care.

 

Colour and sounds of working in care Part 2

Part 2

I could go on and on about being a care worker, which I was for 20+ years I could use lots of  language that may upset my potential customers. So, I am going to try not to swear to much but apologies if one drops in now again.

Care is still what drives me to do what I do. I hope to ensure who I meet will be great at supporting people who are classed as vulnerable and require care. We should share our experiences it’s an amazing but bloody hard job. It’s not valued as much as it should be, and it needs to be. I hear so often about poor staff retention and not being able to fill positions there has to be a reason for this and its time to do some work on finding out why.

I was a young 18-year-old when I first moved to Cambridge on my own for a job in social care. It was my ambition to work in care from when I was 14 and so I went to college for 2 years and then got my first care job in Cambridge. I remember the interview and there were quite a few candidates but was so pleased when I go the job. I moved from home on my own and started my career in care. Part one tells you about my experiences of the first day.

I loved it even though it was so time consuming. I found myself just going in and getting on with empowering the people I supported. I would ensure they knew I was there to support and enable at times with some interesting and noisy outcomes. I wouldn’t say it was all fun there were moment when I was younger where I struggled with my own ability to speak up and stand up for people.

I made a choice at 20 to have children and left the company for 5 years going back a very different person. I had grown as an individual and seemed more able to speak up and I did which meant I was able to be brave enough to speak up about a poor manager. That changed the lives of the people I was supporting in such a positive way but had a positive effect on me also.

I have had the honour of supporting people who have learning disabilities to develop and achieve independence as many levels and I value my input and the input that the people have had that I worked with over the years. I was lucky enough to work for a company that had many supported living homes on one site within a small village. we were a tight knit team and would ensure that there was full social inclusion both between the support living homes and the local community.

The growth in the people I supported is what drove me to continue and to then go onto become a Senior to deputy manager to a registered manager. I saw every level as a step to my ambition of being a manager that could make a difference. I had an amazing team of young and older people who were committed to providing a support service that was focused on people being a valued member of the community. We did that, we did somethings that were new and never achieved before. We sometimes think we can support people to the end of life, but this is not always the case, if someone reaches 65 and still in supported living at one point they would have been transferred to the ‘older persons team and potentially moved to an elderly residential home. Which was not in my opinion the best option. So, we worked hard to ensure the people we supported had a home for life. I had a great team to work with. We changed the registration and ensured we had the staffing levels and equipment to ensure we could meet the needs. So, we did it we ensure that if someone was unwell and at end of life we enabled them to stay and die in their own home.  I have to say that being with the persons family and support them was very valuable. I was able to see someone be settled with loved ones around them. I remember on person we supported and being with the family after he died and the family saying ‘mother always said he would be a tall man in death’ the person we supported had scoleosis but when he died his family found comfort in seeing him that way.  It was one of my best achievements in my career and will always stay with me.

All these journeys that we go through are as important as each other.  (think I might be waffling). As carers/trainers/managers etc we have an impact in all we do so for those days that are hard look back and remember the good ones.

So now that I am training I use all the experience I have had. All the noises and colours of living to ensure the training is interesting and honest. Training for me is about reality of life and living well with the support of people who want to enable you.

Simple.

What’s next, What can I do?

Today I am sat at home, waiting  to do some one to one session with learners (working from home), had appointments booked in but sadly not one completed at the moment and its gone 12:00 (tick tock). However, I have had an interesting call about a new idea for a support site and I am now questioning what I want to do next.

Don’t get me wrong assessing in general is a good job and it fits with my life but like today, I have not had a session completed, sadly people not picking up the phone, no work to mark so in some sense it becomes hard to ensure someone’s learning journey is consistent and meaningful. Commitment sometimes is lacking or schedules change in care and people just don’t let me know.

So I am now sat here thinking (cogs turning, head full).

My ultimate goal was to go into more training, motivational sessions to get people to buy into the care and how to be the best. I wanted to get a community talking about care but not sure how.

I see the best but some times not the so good (poor practice and care). I set up my Facebook page and this blog to try to get a community talking and sharing their stories but to be honest its not working. Have less then 100 likes on FB page which if you consider the amount of people in care that’s just nothing. Followers on word-press I have 21. Is this because I don’t use profanities, I do a blow by blow log of my day, is it because people just don’t talk about care or is it people in care just don’t have the time.

So where am I going wrong? What do I need to do?  Where do I go from here?

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