A day in the life of an in home carer

Cire In Home Care is committed to supporting people to remain living in their own homes and staying connected to their communities. All staff are trained and qualified and have specialist skills in working with children, people with disabilities, people at the end of their life, dementia care, personal care, food preparation, transport and assisting people who are socially isolated. Our team are able to provide services throughout the Outer Eastern region that are professional, person-centred and cater for the changing needs of the people we service.

The following was written by one of our highly valued team members, Karen Oulten. It provides an insight into the important role support workers have in helping people remain in their own home. Karen has shared her experiences in working as a Cire in home carer.

As a team member of Cire In Home Care, my job is to provide support to seniors, and people with disabilities, in their own homes throughout the Yarra Valley and beyond.

 After studying aged care with Cire Training in 2015 I gained skills and knowledge of the aged care industry a dual Certificate III in Aged Care and Home and Community Care (now known as Certificate III in Individual Support). Once qualified, I was fortunate to gain employment with Cire In Home Care.

Cire in home carers follow organisational policies and procedures developed so we can provide high quality care to ensure our clients remain living safely in their homes, and whilst in our care, out in the community.

Our jobs are allocated by the care coordinator, Deb Wright. We are emailed an information sheet that details tasks and background information about our client. The services, which are tailored to meet a client’s personal needs, are varied. I very much enjoy having such variety in my day to day work.

I may start my day supporting a senior client to get out of bed and safely move to the bathroom, where I shower them, help them dress, do their hair and perhaps apply make-up, if the client is going on an outing.

I may also prepare breakfast for a client and ensure they take their medication. Many clients use a Webster Pack (prepared by a chemist). As a personal carer, my level of training does not allow me to dispense pills or medicine. My responsibility is to watch that a client takes the pills out of the correct day/time compartment of the Webster Pack and swallows them. If I see they’ve missed taking any of the pills, I must immediately report the situation by phone and follow-up email to my care supervisor.

Another situation immediately reportable by phone to my supervisor is NO RESPONSE of a client upon arrival at their home. Cire has a strict policy and procedure to follow if this should occur.

I have an insulin-dependent diabetic client. Due to his vision impairment, my job outline is to correctly set-up the glucometer blood glucose monitor with a test strip. He does a finger prick with a glucolet pen, and then I ensure the blood is applied to the strip to record a blood glucose reading. The reading is stored in the monitor’s memory for referral by the client’s doctor. I write date, time and result in a communication book, for other carers. I then oversee that he dials up the charted dose of insulin which he injects by needle into the stomach and ensure the blood contaminated strip and insulin needle are disposed of in a sharps container.

I worked in customer service for 20 years at Bayer Diagnostics, a company which manufactures blood glucose monitors and test strips, and I was trained in its use. I never would have thought back then that I’d be using this skill as I am now.

Some other tasks and services I might carry out as a carer are:

  • Home cleaning, changing bed linen, washing, ironing
  • Check contents in fridge and cupboards for out of date food, help client prepare a shopping list
  • Meal preparation – breakfast, lunch or dinner, cook meals which could be frozen
  • Transport client to shops, ensuring they remain sturdy on their feet using a walking aid, wheel client around in a wheelchair, help them select healthy food items, carry shopping bags into the house and unpack items into fridge or cupboards. Cire In Home Care has a no cash handling policy for carers; the client must be able to manage their own money.
  • Post hospital support – bed bath or shower client, meal preparation, change bed linen, washing
  • Transport client to medical appointments, or social outings
  • Transport and accompany a young disabled adult to the cinema, shop for clothes, attend a sporting event, an outing to a café
  • Respite – looking after a client, providing company and conversation when a spouse, son or daughter (their carer) has to attend their own appointments, or a social outing. A carer also needs time out and to be cared for.
  • Respite for a parent or grandparent caring for a child with a disability. Providing an extra set of hands to help a parent cope whilst their partner is away, to get other young children fed, bathed and bedtime stories read.
  • Home safety assessments on a first visit to a client’s home, using the Cire Services Home Safety Checklist sheet to identify whether a person’s home complies with Australian OHS standards; that it’s safe and accessible for the support worker to undertake their tasks. It also shows where improvements can be made to make a home safer and more comfortable for the client to remain living there.

I believe an in-home carer’s most important attribute is not just to be task oriented. A friendly and happy disposition sets the tone for time together with a client. I can’t expect clients to be trusting of me and happy to have me in their home if I’m grumpy.

Being intuitive about a client’s wellbeing is also important. I can sense from chatting with them whether they are feeling down, and notice when they appear unwell. Many of our clients may be grieving the death of a partner or other family member and experiencing loneliness. It’s my duty of care, and to follow Cire Policy, to report these changes in a client to the care supervisor.

 I might be a client’s only visitor in their week so I strive to offer them companionship and a listening ear, without judgement. As I’ve built up a closer relationship with a few clients I’ve discovered you can never under estimate the positive effect of a caring hand touch.”

“At the end of a shift I go home feeling I’ve made a client’s day; and this in turn uplifts me.”

Karen is one of many carers we have at Cire In Home Care. If you are interested in studying to become a carer, Cire Training offers Certificate in III Individual Support and we are now taking expressions of interest for 2017 courses. If you would like further information about the services we offer visit our website at click here or call 1300 835 235.