Quarantine Chronicles: My First Week As a Health Care Assistant (Domiciliary Care)

I’ve just finished my first week as a health care assistant and it’s been quiet an experience.

Massive shoutout to people who work in all aspects of health and social care!!

This has been an eye opening an experience, one that I didn’t think would impact me in a short space of time. I feel physically and emotionally drained!

I applied for the role as a health care assistant back in January. I didn’t expect anything to come of it, it was just something that I really wanted try becuase of the quiet fascination I’ve had with this sector as a whole. Also have family and friends in the health care sector who say that, even though it’s hard work, it can ultimately be very rewarding. Sounds corny, but I wanted to do a job where I’d be able to make lasting impact. I’d been working in some form of hospitality from a young age and professionally since the age of 17 till 23. I had gained skills and have a lot of fun but it was time for a change.

I had already received first aid and relevant training I needed to be a a health care assistant doing domiciliary care, but I hadn’t a clue what to expect regardless of what I was taught. I’d had experience working with young people and teenagers leaving care in terms of support work but this was different level.

The manager of the health care service I work for it’s very hands on, I have been lucky enough to be pair with her all week, learning the ropes.

Another big shoutout to health care and key workers doing their thing in this pandemic! I will try not to take you guys for granted when this is all over. Seeing things first hands changes your perspective.

The need to be extra careful is essential and I’m grateful that this company make it a priority. Before I started, and even got a chance to get bear any clients, they sent over documentation detailing the measures they had put in place – along with my uniform sent me gloves and masks. They were my responsibility, I was also advised to buy and stock up hand sanitizer (I had already bought it). I could see from all this they meant business so I had no doubt they were following government advice. I saw this was true in the homes we visited too.

I was very skeptical about going into people’s homes at first, I guess I felt awkward, I’m someone these clients and their families hadn’t met before. I consider myself a people person but I still worried. Would they take to me? Would they agree to me taking care of their vulnerable loved ones?

All the people we care for are terminally ill and some are already nearer the end of their lives. It was important for me to just be myself in these circumstances and do everything I could put their families at ease too.

My first three days went off without any major issues. What I found most challenging was remembering the differences between medications and administering them correctly but I quickly got the hang of it.

The clients and their families are what make this job worth while for me. Although they are going through difficult times, everyone I’ve taken care of has had a positive outlook. I already have a favourite client, who has a great dry sense of humor and we always have something to joke about whether it’s something she’s seen on TV or her stories from when she was young.

It’s also a rollercoaster because I have to keep my emotions in check. I know I have a job to do, I can laugh and joke at the same time keeping it professional. That said, every time I leave a home I find have to take a couple of deep breaths to collect myself.

I’ve learned, in a matter of minutes a persons health can deteriorate and also it can get back on track in a matter of minutes too. I saw this for myself properly on Wednesday.

Myself and my my manager went to our client to assist as we usually do and today but she didn’t look well, she wasn’t her usual self, she had a temperature and was barely there. She was still in her bed barely moving. Her husband and daughter were emotional, by her side while we rang the doctors – honestly it looked like she was on her way out. We left them alone to wait. I’d had personal experience with this, and it bought back memories.

We went back to check on her family and the progress of the morning and I had to do an inward double take when I got in, becuase what I saw let me a bit shook. It was like a completely different person! She was sat up in bed, talking with her husband. As soon as we had finished washing our hands, her daughter explained that she might have been reacting to an infection and she’d been given antibiotics which testified to how well she was looking now.

I was baffled, and also naive to how fast things change, especially in this line of work.

I can safely say it’s been a week of ups and downs. In a very short space of time of managed to get great feedback from clients and also gained 4 permanent clients as a result of it. I come home extremely drained and I’m still juggling assignments and landlord disputes but this is something positive because I’m doing what I said I want to do – which is help people.

I’ve come away this week with a lot more knowledge; like giving medical advice, medical and health care terminology, the importance of documenring everything and how no two day are the same. I can’t wait to keep learning and keep being a positive light in an otherwise dark time.

Peace & Love ✌❤

Becky x

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