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An insight into our role as a Live-in care worker

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CARE. We have heard this word a thousand different times, in a thousand different occasions and applied to another thousand different procedures or activities. But what is it really? Or better said -or written- what is it to us? I know, I know… lots of training, lots of studying the consequences of a diseases or conditions to better understand your client, doing research on the medications they may be taking and, of course, tons of rules and regulations we all hold so dear to our hearts -ahem..-. 

But beyond that, we must be doing it for a really good reason and I think the answer is very simple: we do it for the people. We mind what happens to them; me make their welfare our concern not only because it´s our duty, but because it worries us. Because we care.

We become their eyes, or their ears, or their voice. Sometimes we even become that part of their selves sadly gone, deciphering from their gestures, their moods, their vocalizations what is it that is going wrong. We are the last line of defence they have against a world that is no longer what it used to be to them due to physic or mental conditions. Even though we do not take an oath -we don´t get together clad in our black winter cloaks, hand on the hilts of our long swords: “…I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls” …Sorry, I´ve got carried away…- we are there for them, always. 

Sometimes it´s just a matter of making life a little better during the last times. We are all going to die someday -no spoiler alert needed on that one, mate- but the way in which we arrive to that moment can mean everything. With us there, people can be at their own homes, with their things, comfortable, and affront it with dignity and company. Sadly, there are even moments when we are all they have. I am sure that you, as much as me, would like to have a friendly hand holding yours when the time for the Big Step comes around.

On other times, instead of an end of life situation there is an accident or condition that is life changing. Imagine today having your normal life, and tomorrow, without a warning or a sign, being wheelchair bound. How do you cope with that? How do you adapt to this new life, especially if you have half your life still ahead of you? We are there to give that support and to walk with the client in the process of learning to live again. Working in the Discharge to Assess Team in Portsmouth I have had this opportunity more than once, and it is where I find the real thrill in our line of work. Receiving someone who has been in hospital for months back to his things, helping him or her to learn to live on his own again and what is as important, to gain trust and confidence on themselves again. There is absolutely no better moment in what we do than seeing the smile on the face of someone after they perform a task they weren´t able to before we started working. The moment when I can say: “You don´t need me anymore!”

So, again, what is care? I think it is that little something you feel inside when you are going home and find something to do before you leave, even if it´s not necessary. After your long shift, you don´t need to go back to the lounge and straighten up that mirror…but you know it will make her feel good to see it straight if she wakes up. So there you go and do it. Care is what makes you go that extra mile off duty when you are exhausted, when nobody can expect you to do it and when nobody would even know if you didn´t. Care is what makes you do that little things that get – or would get - no more than a smile or a warm thank you, just for the sake of making someone feel better. But it´s not a bad reward after all, is it?

Martín R.O

Discharge to Assess Team - Portsmouth.

For further information on our Discharge to Assess please click here

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