As the country celebrates Carers Week 2018 (11th - 17th June), Barchester Healthcare has thanked its 9,000 carers by sending biscuits and cards to every Barchester care home across the UK. The annual campaign highlights the contribution of caregivers across the world and the challenges they face in their roles.
Although often unrecognised, carers carry out a vital job and create very special and unique bonds with the people they look after. In Barchester homes, they are the day-to-day faces that greet residents, families and visitors, and help to ensure the very best quality of care and support is given to everyone who walks through our doors.
This Carer’s Week, we speak to Lisa Silvers, a Team Leader at one of our care homes, who gives us a peek into a day in the life of a carer, and what it means to work at Barchester.
What does it mean to be a Barchester Carer?
Being a Carer at Barchester is really rewarding, as you’re able to help someone live their lives as normally as possible with dignity and respect. It can be quite daunting to become a Carer, because you have to get quite close to the residents where we’re used to having boundaries, but it really takes just a little bit of patience and understanding, and of course, a positive attitude.
First thing in the mornings, the team and I have a handover meeting with the night staff to go through each resident and any developments. Sometimes doctors have to be called out or residents taken to hospital during the night so it's important to get up to speed with each of them so we can monitor their recovery.
As Team Leader, I then allocate two carers on the team to attend to the residents. Many in our home are under-65’s and have MS, so they can struggle with everyday tasks like getting showered or having breakfast.
Being able to take care of yourself independently is a big element of feeling like yourself but with age or illness, it can become difficult for many people to do what they want to do without any support. At Barchester, we work hard to give residents as much choice and independence as possible so that their lives can be as normal - and as dignified - as they can be.
One of the main areas where we support residents is in personal care, such as showering and getting them dressed. This can feel quite nerve-wracking for the residents, which is completely understandable, so as carers we try to give them as much control as possible over the situation. Whether it's asking permission to touch them, explaining what we're going to do before we do it or asking them what they want to wear, these little things can make a big difference to how safe and comfortable they feel in our care.
Throughout the day carers perform hourly checks on the residents and support them however they need. Daily activities take place and most residents will need some help to allow them to get the most out of the experience.
If residents are feeling unwell or struggle with mobility, carers will take activities to their private bedrooms, such as the Sensory Unit. The activities team also offer manicures and pedicures, as well as foot massages, which many residents enjoy.
In the afternoon, the tea trolley goes round, allowing residents to pick from a selection of cakes and sweet treats. This is normally the time when relatives will visit too, so there's a nice relaxing atmosphere, with those who don't have visitors usually relaxing in their rooms or watching TV.
Our team will then hand over to the night staff again. Understanding residents' needs and communicating them effectively to other teams is essential for keeping everyone safe and comfortable, so this is one of the most important times of day. Often it's subtle things, like a new resident being agitated or someone not eating much, but identifying these smaller problems helps us deliver a high standard of care.
I feel proud to come in every day to help the residents at our home. I really think how I would want my mother to be taken care of should she ever need to have full-time care and try to deliver that every day, so residents and their families feel like they are in safe hands.