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Are you a carer , can you come talk to me about your job please

(16 Posts)
Vanillamanilla1 Fri 10-Aug-18 09:48:07

I'm thinking of going into caring , to go round clients homes ,
I've approached a company , after an induction and shadowing a carer for a few shifts I'll be on my own. I'll be starting next month
I've been told I'll be expected to spend 1/2 hour for each client, it will cover ,
Brushing hair,
Changing pads.
Make a sandwich,
Make a drink,
Showering,
getting client dressed
Toothbrush,
I know all this will be done in 1/2 hour , when I'm experienced and can manage my time effectively, and I won't be used to cramming this all in 1/2 hour at first until I get used to it
I'll be working approximately 10am-6.30pm mon - fri
I'll be getting £4.48 per 1/2 hour.
Now my questions are
Obviously I can't be in 2 places at once , I'll be based in one area for the day and have been told I wont be expected to go across towns to see clients, I might be in one town one day and the next town another day, all clients based in the one town
I don't always have access to a car, they know this , so I'll lose time travelling between clients, even if one is a couple streets away from another I'll lost time walking from one to another so straight away if it takes me 5-10 minutes in between clients for travelling then I'm still expected to spend 1/2 hour with each client so it's eating into my time , I'll feel like I'm always behind . Taking me 10 minutes later to the next client, 15-20 minutes late for the next client etc etc , is this right ?
I don't expect to finish at 6.30pm , realistically it'll be more 7pm, travelling in between clients and fitting in 1/2 per client would this be correct ?
Also , feasibly if I'm working 10am-6.30pm I'd be expected to see roughly 14 clients ..so am I right in thinking I'll get 8 1/2 hours @ 1/2 hour a time (£4.48 x14 clients ) or 8 1/2 hours pay ??
Do you love it ? I know the pay isn't there or the pay doesn't reflect what's actually involved and it's all about helping and giving back, BUT I do have bills to pay and I'm looking at taking home £1000 a month , again, is this realistic.
Are the days long, how do you manage your day ? Would you get out if you can, any hints and tips ?

maggienolia Fri 10-Aug-18 15:18:06

I'm in this line of work, have been for 4 years. I enjoy it but it's very physical, and yes, timing is key.
You only get paid for contact time so 8 x 30 minutes, and yes you have to spend a full half hour unless the client asks you to leave (rare).
Most agencies add travel time between calls. I would be concerned if you don't have this; unless every call runs to time (they don't ) you will get more behind.
By the way, there's no way in hell you will do that list in 30 minutes. That would take me an hour.
The problems I see are a) later clients complaining if you're always late and b) you could miss a window for giving medicine which messes up the next carer in.
Is the agency mainly local authority clients? I'd try to aim for one with more self funders personally.
10 - 6.30 is a long run with no breaks. In fact you should legally have a 30 minute unpaid break in that time (yeah right)
Factor in clients going into hospital and I'm not sure that amount of pay is realistic.
Sorry to piss on your chips but that's the reality of the job.

Pinkstars2501 Fri 10-Aug-18 16:30:54

I’m a care assistant, but in a nursing home. I wouldn’t do domicilary care, mostly because the amount of carers we get who come to us having been in Dom care, that tell us of how they work for say 10 hours but only get paid for 8 (for example) because they get paid based on calls and obviously there’s time in between that they don’t get paid for. I know the agency pays mileage, but for a lot of people it didn’t cover fuel costs.

That’s quite a list to do in half an hour as well.... It takes me the half hour or so just to do a shower for a resident. Keeping in mind all parts washed, making sure everywhere is properly dry, creams applied, fully dressed and back to wherever they spend their time. Especially if they have limited/slow mobility.

I rarely get my full break allocation in a home, so I doubt you’ll end up getting it often out in the community.

All that said, I don’t work in the community so only have other people experiences to go on. I think carers generally prefer one or the other, I’m definitely in the nursing home camp.

StopCloudSeeding Fri 10-Aug-18 17:38:06

Ive been doing this since 2010, employed by a couple of different companies and really it is not tenable to do this without transport. It's nigh on impossible with transport! One (awful) company relied on those of us with cars to give lifts to those who had to walk. Some walkers could catch a bus between calls, would that be an option?
There is also the problem of finding a client that needs extra time if they are unwell.
Once you get to know your routine with your client you may be able to do everything within 20 to 25 minutes and leave early. Most clients appreciate all you do and understand the pressure you are under so don't mind if you leave early.
I am very very lucky to work for a company that gives me travel time and all our calls are for a minimum of an hour.
Having said all of that I love the job, it is very rewarding and I've met some lovely people.
Get an employer that will let you take further qualifications if you can.
Good luck.

maggienolia Sat 11-Aug-18 07:34:44

As an aside I have a job survival kit in my car that consists of:
In car phone charger;
Cereal bars and water;
Extra pens
Vicks vapor rub (to put round your nostrils if a client is not entirely lemon fresh)
Washing up gloves
Hand cream
Small handwash (some houses won't have it and your choice will be either Fairy liquid or soap with embedded pubes)
Torch.
In my ideal world I'd add earplugs and a shotgun for annoying relatives, but probably wouldn't go down that well.

GandolfBold Sat 11-Aug-18 08:18:25

I'm a support worker for adults with LD and MH conditions.

I am lucky that I get paid travel time and mileage, so my travel time is on my rota.

I agree with the survival kit posted by Maggie. I have this in my car as well as some sugar sachets as loads of the people I support have sweetener.

It's a brilliant job if you work for the right company. Will they be providing you a uniform and PPE stuff like gloves and aprons? Will you have M&H training as part of your induction and will there be any double up calls?

We are quite a small team but the managers know that there are some staff that will pick up extra shifts. I work 50 hour weeks some times and we do sleepins which are paid at an extra rate.

It's a great job if you work for the right employer. The problem is that for every good one there are four bad ones. Pick your employer carefully.

Hardyloveit Sat 11-Aug-18 08:28:00

I'm in this line of work. Please don't expect to get paid from those times as you don't normally get paid for travel time and I lose sometimes over 2 hours a shift from my pay because it's travelling.
That list would be feasible in 30 mins once you get to know the clients but some showers take 45-1hour but can be done in 30 depending on the needs of the client. Most have a strip wash in 30 mins plus all the other things

It's hard work and sometimes u think y am I working so long when I'm not even getting paid but I do the job because U care and not for the money as such

Vanillamanilla1 Sat 11-Aug-18 09:02:26

Some great advice there thank you and will be putting a survival kit in my car for sure
Yes I'll be supplied with an apron and gloves and they are talking about introducing mobile phones
Because I'm not doing the breakfast shifts I'm missing the showering of the client as I'm assuming they have already been done by those on the morning shifts
It seems like it could be a great company to work for but then all companies make themselves look attractive to start don't they

vdbfamily Sat 11-Aug-18 09:16:04

Do you have a bicycle you can use on non car days? You can get the pannier bags to keep your emergency supplies in. If you start at 10am you might get a couple of visits that involve a shower/wash as some are late risers and want a lie in but it seems most of your visits will be drinks/meals/toiletting which can easily be done in 30 mins as you can put the meal in the oven or microwave and sort out the toiletting whilst it is cooking

politicalcorrectnessisgreat Sat 11-Aug-18 09:52:12

Sorry to be negative but I did this for an agency for two days and it was awful. I couldn't possibly do everything in the allotted time that they asked and then was late for all the appointments after the first one ran over. The old people were shouting at me that I was late, doing it wrong, rushing, taking too long. Worst couple of days work in my life! Might be better when you get used to it though.

refreshingme Sat 11-Aug-18 11:58:33

I am a new carer and struggle to get all this done in an hour although that is with prescribed creams and medications to administer too. We also have to fill out detailed log books. Some calls are ok and I can do everything in time others are harder as the clients have more complex needs, for example, after a stroke, and it is nigh on impossible to even give adequate care let alone do it in the time given. sad

I don't know how I would manage without a car. I really think a car is essential sorry.

refreshingme Sat 11-Aug-18 12:12:50

Yes political I am finding it really difficult atm. I never feel I am doing a good job even though I do everything to the best I can and even always stay on the last visit to make sure everything is ok. There is one client who I stay an extra 40mins - 1hr because I feel so sad to leave him sometimes as he begs me to stay and the house just needs cleaning, clothes washed etc.

What I find hard is that you can never find the appropriate items for personal care - bowls, flannels, wipes, toothbrushes etc in a lot of the houses I visit. You log with the office but nothing changes. So the 30/1hr visit can soon pass by - not being able to get into property because keysafe is not opening, reading care plan, can't find items, checking medication charts/phoning pharmacy/ office as unsure of medication/patch etc, client hard of hearing, grumpy, poorly, sheets soiled so have to change perhaps with an immobile client already in it and on and on it goes...

smurfy2015 Sat 11-Aug-18 17:03:40

Im not a carer at this time but I did a short stint as one many years ago but then worked as a support worker in the community but personal care wasn't one of the tasks. So giving some perspective from the cared for point of view as I am now someone who receives and depends on care on a daily basis.

Can I say a big THANK YOU to all of you as carers both domiciliary and nursing home based. I appreciate all the hard work you do and acknowledge the little pay you receive for it, you all deserve better conditions.

I turn 43 this week and have had 5 stays in nursing homes the last 2 in a different home from the previous 3 and the difference between the 2 was massive.

I have a lovely team of carers who come in 4 times a day to my home on doubles, they are provided by the local trust. The times are short in this area as 30m call is absolutely the max anyone gets. I have 20m for breakfast and bed, 15m each for lunch and tea.

I am incontinent (urinary and sometimes faecal) and often paralysed due to 2 rare conditions I have crossing over each other. I recently spent 10 weeks bedbound. I was recovering and slowly getting used to mobility again when on Thursday I was flattened again by my conditions.

As @maggienolia you could miss a window for giving medicine, this would be a major thing for me as due to the MH risk assessment and to lower the chances of taking an impulsive OD as I have done before my meds are all locked in a safe, the key of the safe is in a keysafe which sits of top of it, the keycode is known only to the carers. I have apart from the medications (which are easy to take if from a dossette pack) so you dont have to work out what to take or when creams, patches, lotions and gels so they are all on a seperate chart.

For me my meds need to be dispensed at certain time scales and is unsafe to do so early or late, it also means I can assure all my medical and psych team that yes I am taking the medication as I have witnesses as mine is what is called a "supervised swallow" - they have to physically see me swallow them to stop the risk of me hiding them as taken and saving them all up. (Ive never actually done this but have thought about it) I asked for that safeguard for myself back several years ago.

@refreshingme We also have to fill out detailed log books. - It can be tricky documenting everything in the time as well as well as the tasks. Remember to document everything because if you dont, it didnt happen. If you have any concerns about your client in any way call the office and escalate it to them, you have done what you needed to. Its up to them now to take next steps.

When someone has had a stroke it is so isolating as they may know exactly what they want to say but often cant articulate it outwards and is frustrating. My latest stroke like episode (thankfully not actual stroke but same symptoms) was Thursday so when carers came in and realised i couldnt speak enough to be understood they asked me yes or no questions which makes it easier. 1 sound for yes, 2 for no or if able with other hand to write down what i need on a whiteboard or a communication flip book.

For complex clients with conditions such as stroke, alzhemiers, parkinsons etc who may not be able to talk to you, chat away to them anyhow, asking them what they think, would they like tv turned over to something else, radio on, what the weather is like outside, lights on/off, very general and light conversation, If some big event is happening talk about it, recent Royal wedding was a big conversation while I was in hospital,

In my recent 10 weeks bedbound, 10 days of which was spent in hospital, I never had a shower basically cos in hospital I wasnt fit to and when home my shower/bathroom isnt accessable to me, It was all sponge/flannel baths, with only the part being washed exposed at a time.

For bed changes we used the rolling technique to and fro, I have a hospital bed and the sheet was changed under me and skin checked for any redness at least daily. I swear by kylie sheets (cheaper brand one) as they are much more comfortable to lie on. The rolling method is ok if the client is co-operative and has the arm strength to grab the side of the bed.

A wash goes on every morning with the contents being moved to the dryer at lunchtime call. On bad days it could have 4 changes of bedding and kylies, and pjs / nightdresses/pants

@refreshingme - What I find hard is that you can never find the appropriate items for personal care - bowls, flannels, wipes, toothbrushes etc in a lot of the houses I visit. -

Totally get this, I have a stack of towels and there is one which seems to creep into it when it comes out of the machine and I always reject it which at the beginning I got a WTF look, its the cats towel for when she has been out playing and comes in wet.

Any ideas that would make any of this easier for carers in small ways?

Something small I do is to have a stack of disposable thermal cups with lids in a kitchen cupboard, teabags and coffee, fruit tea as well, there is a jar of sugar, a tub of sweetener, a biscuit tin which I keep loads of nice bars in. That shelf is for carers stuff, I have it marked out, it has a sign on the door to say help yourself to take on the round.

I also have one of the vegetable drawers at the bottom of the fridge, filled with cans of fizzy drink and single bottles of water. There is a note to say help yourself as they need to sustain themselves. If they end up paying for a cuppa every day in the local shop it's over £10 a week and I feel like its a nice way to help them back for the way they help me.

So OP feel free to ask any questions at all and I will try and give them from this perspective if that would help

maggienolia Sun 12-Aug-18 07:35:28

I'd love to have you as a client smurfy-
just add in a note saying it's fine to use your bathroom as needed and it would be perfect.
A few clients complain about carers using their bathrooms, and one regularly accuses us of stealing her supplies.
I went to one yesterday who had no clean towels or tea towels at all. It makes it very difficult to do the job.
Btw, I take a flask!

smurfy2015 Sun 12-Aug-18 09:55:33

The regulars know they can use the bathroom at any time, I should really put a wee note on the door so the bank ones can see it too. That's added to my job list for today. smile

idonthaveatattoo Sun 12-Aug-18 12:35:38

I must admit, this isn’t a job I think you could do without a car or bike at the least?

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