Before I came to QEF I was working as a carer for the elderly. My mum actually used to volunteer at QEF many years ago, so when I saw there were vacancies I thought I would apply, as the idea of working with younger people really caught my eye.
Previously I was doing lots of dementia and end of life care, whereas here I’m supporting people to live as independently as they can, encouraging them to do things, so it has a whole different atmosphere. I’m a people person and I connect better with young people as I’m young myself; we have lots of things in common like music and some are the same age as me and energetic.
I work on the ground floor with a group of ladies in a group home. I help them with laundry, personal care, activities, daily tasks and just helping them to live independently as possible. I get here at 7.15am each day and after a handover from the night teams, we plan the day with colleagues and then we get going. We support people to get up but there are no set routines here, we listen to residents’ wishes.
Covid has made it hard, but we make a difference to residents. We’ve been doing a lot of in-home activities such as baking and tie-dyeing and the activities team have been great at keeping everyone busy. We can also input ideas and do short activities ourselves if we want too. And we’ve recently we had our first out-home activity when we had a bunch of farm animals visit - it was absolutely fantastic. We actually got in the pens with all the animals and the residents loved it, they were actually encouraging the staff to get involved they enjoyed it so much.
We have a ‘Start of the week’ meeting with residents to discuss everything that’s happening that week and there are also separate resident’s meetings each week where they can share ideas and thoughts as well.
I love working here mainly because of the residents but also because of the technology I get to use. We use Nourish to fill out the care plans and it’s the first place I’ve worked to have this type of technology. Everything is written down on the phone - drinks, food etc and the care plans are all on there, so I literally don’t write at all, where as in other places it can be an hour or so of writing. I’ve worked at other care locations including a private company that haven’t invested in this technology, so its great to have it here. There’s no paperwork – it’s quite refreshing, it’s so much easier, especially when documenting everything is so important.
Hallways are bigger here to allow for wheelchairs so it feels bigger than other places I’ve worked, but because we work in smaller sections we get to know our residents which is brilliant. I had support learning how to deal with non-verbal communication and my biggest learning was to ask the residents not the staff - never assume you know what’s best for someone. They can all communicate in their own way, which took me a little bit of time to realise. The residents have taught me so many things.