February 17, 2017

Being A Carer at Essential Care Group: Gemma

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What made you want to be a carer?

There’s over 800,000 care workers currently working in England, according to the latest study by Skills for Care.

Gemma works for Essential Care Group on a part-time basis and has been with us for over a year. To find out what it’s like to work at Essential, we spoke to her about longer call times, how it compares to other care jobs and what a typical day at Essential is like.

What made you want to be a carer?

“I thought ‘I want to help people more.’ My mother in-law is the supervisor of Wakefield Council Carers and my grandma was a carer, so I thought I must have it in me somewhere. “

“I feel like I’m supposed to be doing this. I feel like I fit in now. I can’t think of anywhere else I want to go. I don’t want to go into a different industry now.”

What is it specifically that you enjoy about your job?

“You get satisfaction out of your job. I get satisfaction out of my job knowing that I help people. Even if it’s just the slightest thing like making a meal – you know that they rely on you, and you feel appreciated for what you do. I feel satisfied just helping people with everyday things.”

What kind of tasks do you undergo?

“Personal care, supporting people helping them go out and do their shopping, making a cup of tea, making them some food. Knowing that you’ve made a meal and knowing that they’re eating, it makes you feel happy – because without you, they probably wouldn’t have that.”

“It’s entertaining as well, keeping them smiling and keeping them company. It’s things that we take for granted really I think – that we help people with, getting people dressed and personal care, showering and bathing.”

“This is what I love about Essential – they understand a work life balance. They understand that you’ve to be rested and have your own life.”

How do you think it makes the service users feel?

“It makes people feel better and they appreciate you. I think they feel safe as well, knowing that people will be there going to help them, they know that somebody is going to be there. I think it is a sense of safety really.

Do you think you build relationships with the people you care for?

“I think so yeah. I do think I have built up a good relationship with the clients I have. I think it’s still nerve-wracking when you first meet somebody but then I quickly learn how people have things and their routine, which then puts their mind at rest. But I think you’ve got to do that as a carer, you’ve got to learn.”

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Here at Essential Care Group, it’s different because we have longer call times than others, how does it feel for you having a longer call time?

“I think it’s the best way to go. In previous roles I didn’t feel like we had the interaction I do now, because you’d be straight into the house, helping them with tasks as quick as you could then writing notes and going to the next client before you know it!”

“You shouldn’t rush people it’s not fair. Taking your time – I think care should be this way, I do, because there’s less stress for the carer about being late and here, I’ve never had that, I never panic because there’s enough time between calls.”

Talk us through a typical day for you when you go to see clients.

“I’m up early, depending on call times. Today I started at quarter to 7 and finished at quarter past ten. Within that time, you get them up and let them come round and make sure that they’ve got everything they need to go along with their day. Then you drop them off at the day centre. And then you come back and do some cleaning, make sure everything’s tidy from that morning.”

“Then, you make sure you’ve done as much as you can and make sure you’ve done it properly. I’ve got a few hours off now before I go back to the day centre and pick them up at quarter to three. “This is what I love about Essential – they understand a work life balance. They understand that you’ve to be rested and have your own life.”

“Tonight I’ve got a sleep at a new client’s – that’s quite exciting. I finish at seven, from being with the same person from four till seven.”

“In previous roles I didn’t feel like we had the interaction I do now… Taking your time – I think care should be this way, because there’s less stress for the carer about being late.”

How does it feel having that time off in-between?

It is a massive help. You can do a lot in four hours – and you just don’t rush. Before, I’d do a 15-16 hour day and I’d be lucky to get an hour off. I would have preferred to have a proper break – to go home and have a shower and get ready for my evening shift. Whereas now, I could instantly go home – you can do your shopping, you can have time to yourself and relax. It’s just – it’s brilliant.

So, you said you’ve got new shift with someone?

I’ve got a new client tonight, starting at 22.00 until 8.00 in the morning. But it’s a sleep, you assist them to bed and then they go to sleep and you go to sleep and if they wake up in the night, there’s an alarm that will go off on the bed, that I’ll hear downstairs. So I need to get up to them quick and assist and support them. it’s just reassuring her and then getting her up in the morning and getting her ready for the day.

I generally have about 35 to around 40 hours a week. But it doesn’t feel like it. It doesn’t feel so long. Because you’ve got that work life balance. So I’m at home as much as I am at work. At the company I was at before, I was doing about 65-70 hours. You were out 15-16 hours a day. I need that break, it really does break your day up.

“I enjoy getting up to come to work now and the uniqueness is the longer call times, the work life balance, the weekly pay, the chance to progress which you know that you won’t really get in a standard homecare company.”

What would you say to a carer that isn’t working for Essential, is doing those 50 hour jobs, what would you say is good about Essential compared to that?

“I could not find a bad point about Essential. To me it’s all positive. I can’t praise Essential enough to people. If I was trying to sell Essential to another carer, I’d sit them down and ask what don’t you like about your job? I know I could put a positive turn with what Essential could do for them. Essential could do something for somebody out there that the existing company couldn’t.”

“I just simply praise Essential all the time when explaining it to people. I think the selling point is longer call times, that’s what I start with and then I go onto the hours and things. It’s just all positive, there’s nothing bad to say and I’ve been here just over a year. When I was off sick, they were so understanding.”

“I enjoy getting up to come to work now and the uniqueness is the longer call times, the work life balance, the weekly pay, the chance to progress which you know that you won’t really get in a standard homecare company.”

“We work as a team here and you can really see it.”