November 26, 2016

Being a Carer at Essential Care Group: Kim

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“If you get young clients or middle aged clients who have tattoos, it’s always a good conversation starter.”

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

Kim works for Essential Care Group on a part-time basis and has been with us for nearly 5 years. To find out what it’s like being a carer at Essential Care Group, we spoke to her about longer call times, how it compares to other care jobs and what it’s like to challenge perceptions of careworkers.

What made you want to become a carer?

“I had to help my grandma and my granddad, around 7 years ago. I saw my granddad looking after my grandma and I decided to help out. My granddad had cancer so he couldn’t look after himself, when my grandma passed away and my granddad was on his own, I helped him.”

How long have you been in the care industry?

“I’ve been with Essential Care Group for 5 years and then I worked for another care company for 2 years before that. Im happy with Essential and feel they are better than my last company because they provide longer care calls. I was always rushed in my last role.”

What do you enjoy about your job here, that’s different to your previous experiences?

“That you’ve got time. That it’s more one to one. Now I only support one client but before when I worked with more than one client, the shortest I’d ever work with them was an hour. The rest of the time I used to work 09.00-17.00, so I was with my client all day and I can sit and talk to them, we can do whatever they want to do.”

How do you find the relationship with the office staff?

“I do have a good working relationship with the office staff, as soon as I come in everyone is dead nice. I get a lot of letters and they do keep me up to date, every now and then I’ll come in and have a chat and stuff like that, so it is good.”

Do you think the extra time with your clients helps you build up a better relationship?

“When I first worked with my current client 3 years ago, she used to feel anxious and cancel calls not wanting to go out with me. Now they’ve built a relationship with me, so she doesn’t feel like that anymore and they’re going out every week.”

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What’s your typical day with one of your clients?

“Sometimes we go shopping. If they’re not really feeling up to it, we’ll go to the cinema. Sometimes, I could just be sat in the tattoo studio whilst they’re getting a tattoo. It’s things that they may not want to do on their own or with family which I support them to.”

“If it’s a day where they’re really not feeling up to it, we stay at home and help out around the house having a chat and deciding what we can do in the future. It’s good for them because we have that relationship and it’s been built up.”

Do you feel like you’re allowed to be yourself at Essential?

“Yeah now I work part time for Essential and I’m also a hair dresser, it suits me.”

We love your bright hair and tattoos! Do you feel you have ever been treated differently because of them?

“When I first started working for Essential Care Group and meeting new client, because I have bright hair and tattoos, I always used to think ‘what are they going to think about me when I walk in?’ but I realised after that, some people hate it which is fine, but other people like it because I’m different.”

“I’ve never been rejected from anywhere. And if you get young clients or middle aged clients who have tattoos, it’s always a good conversation starter.”

Do you feel like you’re allowed to be yourself at Essential?

“Yeah now I work part time for Essential and I’m also a hair dresser, it suits me. When I used to work with more clients and more hours, my care management team would come up to me and say I think you should meet this client because they would like you as a person. They don’t see my individuality as an issue.”

What would you say to a carer that isn’t working for Essential, who is working for more traditional home care services providing shorter call times?

“Personally from other care experiences, this is the best provider I’ve worked for. I don’t feel rushed, it’s more relaxed and it’s about you and about the client.”

“If you have a client who says I want someone to be with me for 3 hours, then 2 hours, Essential work around that person. We can’t have a client coming to us and then we decide on their time slot, that’s not what we’re here for. We are about making a difference to someones life and helping them keep their independence. This is the only place I know that does longer care visits.”

If you’d like to join Kim and be a carer at Essential Care Group, visit http://bit.ly/ECGCareers