Helping people stay connected

On Christmas Day each year many of us pack up the car and drive off to spend precious time with family and enjoy a meal. Although this is something that may require planning, it is a relatively straight forward event. However, this is not the case if your home is four hours away and you’re a person living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) and paraplegia. Weeks of planning, not just about presents and food, is necessary. Consideration for quotes to hire essential equipment, a personal support worker and a wheelchair specific vehicle, are required through disability support service organisations.

Midyear 2016, a family set about planning to bring their paraplegic and ABI brother to Melbourne from North East Victoria, where he resides in a disability supported household. During the Christmas/New Year week, whilst staying at his brother and sister in law’s home, there was to be a reunion with nephews, another brother, and a sister flying in from interstate. A day drive to visit a second sister in country Victoria, was also planned.

The following is the experience of Karen, one of our dedicated Cire in home carers, in assisting one of our clients over the Christmas period.

On December 23rd, two siblings travelled to North East Victoria and swapped their vehicle for a wheelchair accessible van, hired for the week to transport their brother to Melbourne and to go on outings.

As an employee of Cire In Home Care, my involvement was to provide appropriate personal care in the morning and evening, which would entail support with toileting, showering, shaving, putting on compression stockings, and conducting bed to shower commode/wheelchair transfers with the help of the client’s brother.

Essential equipment was hired and delivered to the house. Items such as a height adjustable bed with side safety rails, shower commode, lifting hoist and sling for transfers were all needed.

Following the client’s documented morning and bedtime routines was all important to best support him; that he might remain calm, feel secure and happy away from his usual home environment. During the week he was mostly jovial and told me some very funny jokes. It was reassuring he seemed comfortable with my care of him; giving me confidence.

This family gave their brother the most wonderful Christmas. It fulfilled what was important to him, “keeping in contact with his siblings regularly.”

He said often during the week how thrilled he was being with them, thanking me for my help in making it possible. For my part, the family was very welcoming. Their brother is a real character and a very inspirational man. This assignment was surely a surprise Christmas experience!

At Cire In Home Care we are committed to helping our clients stay connected to family and friends. We regularly transport and support people to their functions and events throughout the year. Staying connected is important and we are there to help. For further information on Cire In Home Care call 1300 835 235 or click here.



More than just a job

Cire in home carers sometimes find themselves in the role of providing comfort and dignity to clients as they reach their end of life. When a carer has had a client for a long period of time, the emotional bonds develop and often there is a sense of loss and grief for the carer when their client passes away.

Carol is employed by Cire In Home Care and she is just one of many carers who have experienced the loss of a client. The following is Carol’s story.

“One of my first long term clients with Cire In Home Care had high support needs. Due to his condition, his mobility and verbal communication were limited. It was a big job with lots to do and so I felt more than a little nervous during that first ‘shadow shift’ following another support worker around. I remember meeting my client, a couple of family members and learning the routine. I asked questions and took a lot of notes that day, knowing I would be working on my own for most of the time afterwards.”

“It didn’t take long before my confidence increased. Written lists became second nature over time; tasks seemed less daunting as little tricks and good time management were learnt.”

“Clients have a way of teaching you a lot about pretty much everything, including yourself – and like anyone you develop a bond with; there will be some deep experiences. When there is little in the way of verbal communication, small gestures take over. Intuition and other senses can seem heightened, sometimes there’s just an understanding and a knowing of what needs doing.”

“Being a support worker feels like intimate and soulful work, rewarding but also challenging. Nothing quite prepares for the physical and emotional demands of caring for someone as they approach their end of life. It can be very busy but there are times when you just have to stop and be there, to hold a hand or offer a hug.”

“When my client passed away, I appreciated my supervisors checking in on me and passing on an invitation to the funeral. They’ve been there; they know what it’s like to lose people. There are a lot of mixed feelings – sadness, yet relief there’s no suffering, concern for their loved ones. It also felt good to go to the service, offer my condolences and emotional support to the family. I loved seeing photos and hearing stories of the younger man I never met, shared interests he’d been unable to tell me about. It gave me a sense of closure to say goodbye and pay my respects to a lovely man and a life well lived.”

Carol is one of many carers employed by Cire In Home Care and we are very fortunate to have such caring and compassionate staff. If you would like to find out more about the services offered by Cire In Home Care visit our website or contact Cire In Home Care Co-coordinator, Deb Wright, on 1300 835 235.

If you work in the industry, care for a loved one or need to know more about end of life. The Eastern Metropolitan Region Palliative Care Consortium is pleased to announce that ticket sales are now open Death and Dying – lifting the lid on it with Anny and Shelley event.  Places are limited, so early registration is recommended. It will be a fun and informative night. The event is open to the public and is relevant to everyone as we will all need to deal with these issues at some time in our lives.

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.