No Frills - We're Not Superheroes*
*Though our staff are close 😆🙌
So much of what is written about health and social care and the jobs in it are the extremes. How bad something is or what a wonderful world it is to be in. But what is it really like to work in it day-to-day?
Check out one of our other blogs about the state of Health and Social care from the view of one of our Directors
Well in this piece, written by one of our support workers, they tell it very matter of fact.
This isn't dramatised, nothing over-exaggerated, it is just how it is. And that's something rare to see, the honest truth about it all.
A Day in the Life… of a Support Worker
Written by Sheldon Catley
It is 07:00 on Monday morning and my alarm goes off - time to wake up and get ready for my shift. I shower, have some breakfast and make a packed lunch to take with me. I am on a 08:00 – 16:00 shift today.
The role of a Support Worker is to facilitate independence in individuals who are unable to do so for themselves, whether due to Autism or other Learning Disabilities. I encourage my service users to make healthy choices around food, to take part in activities in the community and to be safe.
I Work in supported living accommodation, a small block where seven of our Service users each have their own flat.
The joy of living so close to me is that it only takes me a few minutes to walk there. I arrive and have 10 minutes to hand over with the night staff, to see how the guys had been over the evening.
I go down to see my service user for the day, ‘H’. H has Autism, severe Anxiety and ADHD. I knock on his door and let him know I’m here and he greets me. H speaks with little inflexion or change of tone in his voice and with a slightly limited vocabulary, using the same phrases over and over again.
I encourage him to start making his breakfast, he repeats the phrase “Making Breakfast” back to me and heads into the kitchen. He turns on the Tv, opens the Curtains, lays out his knife, his butter and his plate on the table. Exactly like he did yesterday and exactly as he will tomorrow, H needs routine, he needs to do the same things, in the same way.
After breakfast, H takes his Morning Meds and I encourage him to shower and dress for the day, he repeats back “Having a Shower” before heading into the living room and sitting on the sofa. After 10 mins I asked him if he’d still like to have a shower. He responds “Having a Shower”, gets up, opens his balcony door and stands there looking out over the field.
H can struggle to focus on Tasks and is easily distracted but it’s not a problem, he does things in his own way, in his own time. Eventually, he takes his shower and dresses.
I look over the holes in H’s wall. Sometimes H gets upset if he doesn’t get what he wants right away, if he gets anxious about certain things or if his routine changes and he doesn’t have the time to process it. When he gets upset, he breaks objects and strikes his walls.
H needs space when he gets upset, I tell him to start counting down from 30 so he has time to cool off. Eventually, he comes back down to his baseline and often feels remorseful, saying “H is an Idiot”.
But today is a good day, H says to me “Going for a Walk” and so we head out of the flat. He leads on, stopping at road junctions and repeating “No Cars, No Cars” to himself as he checks before crossing. We head down to a local park and have a walk around the Pond.
H begins slapping the side of his head with the palm of his hand and making high pitch noises. H is happy. Sometimes people look at us with strange looks, but mostly they smile. Not everybody understands H and the way he sees the world, but that’s ok. Because today is a good day, and H is happy.
After our walk, we returned home and H says to me “Making Lunch”, predictably, he heads to a different room, starts to get out a colouring book and I smile to myself.
Eventually, he makes his lunch, asking me for help setting the oven but otherwise doing everything else himself. He sets the table exactly as he likes it and begins to gently tap himself on the head with a pot, H is looking forward to lunch.
After lunch, H says to me “DVD”. He has a large DVD collection, mostly preferring animated or children’s films. He selects one and we sit on his sofa to watch. H fast forwards to his favourite part and for the next hour plays the same 5 mins of the DVD over and over with a big smile.
16:00 rolls around, I collect my things and sign off my day report, a diary of the day that is recorded for all of our service users. Another member of staff comes in, we have a quick chat about the day
Sheldon receiving his BTEC Lvl 3 in