Senior Care Assistant, Orchard Care Homes
Charlene Chivers has progressed from care assistant to senior within three years. She tells us more about her role:
What inspired you to work in the Care industry and how did you go about finding your current role?
I studied nursing when I was at school and that was what initially inspired me to look for a career in care. I knew by then that looking after people was something I enjoyed .
Please tell us a little about your role? What are your main responsibilities?
I have a lot of responsibility, dealing directly with the residents. I am in charge of writing detailed, specific care plans for each resident, as well as administering medication. In addition to this, I communicate externally with all the district nurses and doctors – working in care is definitely a collaborative effort. I spend a lot of time in the home, assisting our residents with their daily needs, be that emotional or physical.
What was it that attracted you to this role?
I really thrive off having the additional responsibility. After being at the home for sixteen years, I wanted a new challenge, and this seemed like the next step. I perform the same duties as a Care Assistant, but with the added responsibility of medication administration, which is something that has to be dealt with delicately. What also attracted me was the team of Senior Care Assistants already in place. They were a great support to me, and I was eager to become a part of that, and to learn some new skills.
Why is your role so important to the home and its residents?
We have residents with a variety of physical needs, with some requiring more attention than others. It is important that each Care Assistant is knowledgeable about the type of care that each individual needs, so that we can personalise the care we give. Not only do we know everything about their needs, but we also know them personally, which is what makes working in care so rewarding. You have to be professional as a Senior Care Assistant, because you have a lot of responsibility, but it is important that the residents see you more as a friend. This way, they trust you, and it makes the experience better for them.
My role is also important because I communicate directly with the relatives of each resident, particularly about medical issues, to keep them informed about the health of their family member.
What is the highlight of the role for you?
Every resident in this home is always so pleased to see you, and thankful for the work that you do. They feel more like family, so I enjoy coming to work and catching up with them and hearing about what they have been doing.
Do you have any future plans for the home, do you have any exciting projects coming up?
Things are always changing for the better here. We have just redecorated the dining area, and it has transformed the space, with the residents spending a lot more time socialising there. We often have relatives in the home, and operate an open-door policy, so they can visit anytime. The community is really close-nit, and relatives are always helping us to raise money, and organise events such as our popular summer and Christmas fairs.
What qualities and attributes make a successful Senior Care Assistant? What advice would you give to anyone considering a role in the care industry?
As a Senior Care Assistant, you have a lot of responsibility, so being self-motivated, and showing good attention to detail, and good organisation skills, is very important. You also need good communication skills, as you will be speaking to a variety of people, including your residents, relatives and doctors. It is key to be able to adapt yourself so that you can get the message across effectively. The Senior Care Assistants in this home work together closely so being able to work as a team is extremely important as well.