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A Day in the Life of some of our staff

  Wendy Andrews

What I do as a Community Carer

Often morning visits include assistance to get out of bed or help with washing, dressing, shaving and oral care. Some people need help with their medication or with toileting needs as well. It is very important to help our service users to stay as independent as possible, so some calls are just to ensure that all is well and that their medication has been taken. Sometimes just a little chat and some company or encouragment to change a soiled shirt may be all someone needs to feel valued and cared for.

Most of my afternoons are spent giving respite care when I spend time with a service user so that their full time carer, often a family member, can take a much needed break. Some of my respite care is with people who have dementia. We walk, talk, bake, make pictures, listen to music, look at photographs or whatever they want to do. The variety helps to keep things interesting for both of us. There are times of grief and frustration as well - but that's life. To balance that, there are plenty of laughs and stories which bring special moments. I like to think that my care helps people to "live in their own homes rather than just stay in them”. I'm not sure that many jobs can give that satisfaction.


  Kate Delves
A day in the life of a Hospice at Home Nurse

8.00am I visit my first patient, a 30 year old lady who lives in Rochford. She has breast cancer and is still receiving chemotherapy treatment. My role is to support her whilst she is undergoing treatment, both mentally and physically. Her husband is at work so my visit gives him some reassurance and allows us some quality time to enhance her care. I am able, as a qualified nurse to reassess her general condition, give appropriate medication and liaise with other professionals if I need to. Her main concern today is her small appetite so we discuss this together and I try and suggest alternative ways to try and increase her appetite whilst she is having the treatment. We have coffee together and a chat about her husband's surprise party that she is organising.

10.00am My second patient is an elderly gentleman who lives with his daughter in Leigh on Sea. He is in the later stages of heart failure and has breathing difficulties which limit his mobility. His daughter is frightened to leave him alone and our visit allows her to go shopping once a week. I help him to go to the toilet and make him a cup of tea. He talks to me when he is able to, but falls asleep for long periods of time.

12.00 - 1.30pm I have a team support meeting to attend. This allows us to share information and to support each other. We often invite other professionals to come and discuss their services with us so that we have a better understanding of each others’ roles and responsibilities towards our shared patients.

2.00pm My last patient is a 61 year old man living in Shoeburyness who is dying of lung cancer. My role is to give him quality care and to support his family. He suddenly becomes very anxious and I am able to give him a prescribed injection to relieve his anxiety. I also help the family to reposition him and he falls asleep. I then make us all a cup of tea while I document the care I have given in the District Nursing notes. The family are very worried about what to expect when he dies so we talk about this and who to call if they are alone with him. I then hand over to my colleague from Hospice at Home who will stay with the family till later, and I leave.

My job is very fulfilling. I feel honoured that we are able to help fulfil someone's wish to be cared for and to die at home in a familiar environment surrounded by their family and friends, reassured by the knowledge and experience that we as part of the Hospice at Home team can bring to them.



      Carol Harmes

A day in the life of a Care Supervisor

My alarm goes off every day at 6am and I immediately get up, shower and dress before a quick breakfast and out of the door at about 6.45am.

I usually get to my first service user at about 7am where personal care is provided according to the Care Plan - this normally consists of preparing breakfast, providing medication and making the bed. I notice on this visit that the service user has not taken the previous evening's medication again so I make a note of this in the care records and also make a note to call my care manager about this concern.

Then it is off to my next visit which I arrive at around 8.15am. The usual routine is followed with no problems so at about 9 o'clock I am off to the next visit. Before that I have to deliver a Medication Administration Record (MAR) sheet, to a service user which I had previously arranged to do.

After I have dropped this off I get to my next service user at about 9.30am and I carry out their personal care needs, tidy round, make the bed and get breakfast before completing the care records as usual. I then leave there at about 1030am for my next visit where the service user requires a back wash and feet soak and, after a chat, I leave at about 11.15am.

I take this opportunity to phone in to the office to speak to my care manager regarding the missed medication from an earlier visit and we discuss whether or not an extra evening visit would be beneficial. I leave it up to my care manager to sort something out.

My first lunch visit is 12.00pm where I prepare a microwave meal, a cup of tea and a piece of cake. I then also prepare a sandwich for the evening, and, after a quick chat, I proceed to the next lunch visit at 12.45pm. The second visit mirrors the first and I am then finished at about 1.30pm.

Having made the arrangements previously, at 2pm I visit a service user to carry out a formal review. This is so that I can find out whether or not they are happy with the care they are receiving or if they want any changes made to the level of care provided. On this occasion I have to make an amendment to the care plan to include extra visits at lunch time. After this review I phone in to the care manager to let her know the outcome and I have made the amendments that were required to the Care Plan.

At 3pm I dash off to another pre-arranged review where I meet with the service user and their immediate family where I again discuss whether or not they are satisfied with the level of care provision that they are currently receiving. Fortunately on this occasion they are very pleased and no changes are necessary - I inform the care manager as appropriate.

To finish the day at 4pm I have to attend a service user for a 2 hour respite which requires me to keep them company for a couple of hours whilst their normal family carer has some time alone to attend to essential business.