Written by Georgie Huntley
Co-Founder, Niche Jobs
The Health foundation have reported person centred care
as treating a person receiving care with dignity, compassion and respect. Additionally, the person who receives care should get to make informed choices about the care they receive.
It is a phrase that has become familiar to care workers, and from experience is a topic frequently re-visited in training session and an expected principle of care in modern day care providers.
In 2008 I started work in older adult nursing and residential homes. As an agency worker, I started my shift and was instructed to make the beds in the care home.
I noticed a lady was crying. I approached her and asked what was wrong. She described feelings of loneliness, and we talked about this for a short while.
After five minutes of conversation, I continued making beds and reported back to the senior of shift.
She was less than compassionate saying, “Well she always plays up like that, especially to new staff”. I was told off for taking too long in making the beds, and felt reprimanded for caring about this women’s feelings.
Fortunately, over the last nine years of working as a support worker and health care assistant, I have not again witnessed this lack of compassion.
It seems that care providers are keen to make written commitments and pledges to providing person centred care to older adults. But, how can we, as Healthcare Assistants
make sure this is the type of care we provide to our residents?
Working in this role is exhausting, demanding, labour intensive and emotional. The precarious shift patterns, being on your feet for long periods of time, and working with people who need support with every aspect of their care can drain our energy.
I will honestly confess that at times, I have found great solace in switching off from the emotional aspect of the work, and complete a few practical and repetitive tasks.
However, I realise that forming emotional connections with residents and giving them time, energy and respect fits with my own moral code and more importantly, is also how I would want to be treated.
For me to do this, I must allow time for self-caring, rest and recuperation, otherwise my robotic nature is in danger of taking over, and I will forget the true reasons of why I started this work in the first place.