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  • Nights and days worrying
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      25.11.2009 18:59
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      i love my job

      i work as a carer, although i say work...i dont actually think of it as work. i absolutely love my job!
      i care for adults with learning disabilities living within their own homes. the disabilities range from bi-polar to downs syndrome, cerebal palsy and autism.

      i have worked for the same company now for 3years. although i do have qualifications, i dont think you actually need any to become a carer.
      since working for the company, i have been lucky enough to be funded for my NVQ in Health & Social Care Level2, and would now like to try towards my level3. Also i have been put through alot of training, eg: health & safety, first aid, manual handling, COSHH, POVA, food hygiene and many many more.

      before i actually started my job, i thought i could never do it...with the personal care side of things! but with encouragement from friends and family, especially my mum who works for the same company, i decided to give it a go, and now im so glad i did, i think i can honestly say, that i will stick in this line of work for the rest of my working life.

      the things i love most about my 'job' are; helping people with disabilities be accepted within their community, where they live, where they shop, where they go out to eat...etc.

      i find my job very rewarding, knowing ive helped someone to do normal day-to-day activities makes me feel very happy.

      i would encourage anyone to consider doing this line of work. I think that if you have just 1 caring bone in your body, you would be an asset to anyone who requires support.

      I can't even complain that i work shift work. I have 1 weekend off in every 3, but i wouldnt have it any other way!

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        15.10.2008 12:12
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        Brilliant people!

        Although I have never been a carer myself I wanted to heap praise on those who are, having lived with a carer for years in one way or another I feel well clued up on the subject.

        I say having lived with one because in my younger years living at home my mum was one and in my first few years of marriage it was also my wife's career before she left to bring up our kids.

        The work these people do both in patients homes and in care homes is extraordinary and some of the tales I have heard from my mother and my wife on things they have had to cope with would make your toes curl.

        Stories of becoming attached to certain patients only to see them worsen in condition and ultimately die, or just stories of having to clean and change grown adults with excrement and urine covering the most part of their body.

        I know how horrid it can be to have to change the nappy of a young child who has filled it through the night so god only knows how these fine people cope with this on an adult scale.

        All that aside there is the simple care and attention these people give and how they turn up to what can be a very challenging job and no matter what's going on in their personal lives they continue to offer up a sympathetic and excellent level of care.

        Carers are not rewarded enough in my books and the job they do should not only be paid better but should also get some sort of recognition. Where would we be without these people who continue to turn up to do this job that I do not mind admitting I could never do?

        I have had several jobs since marrying my wife, all of which were a fair bit better paid than she ever was as a carer and I find that disgusting because the work she had to do was a million times harder than the work involved in any of my jobs or indeed all of them put together. My hat comes off to these people it really does!

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          15.10.2008 02:09
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          the life of a care worker

          I have worked in a care home for the past 10 years and I really do love my job. I have grown to love each individual residents for their own little ways and really do love my job.

          I find it really horrible and upsetting that in the paper you only ever hear about the bad sides of the caring industry and never the good. I have only ever read about the elderly being abused in care homes and nothing I have ever read has been positive and apprising. Why isn't the nice things noticed? All the love and care we give our clients becomes un noticed to the public and we all seemed to be classed under the same category as "we all seem to abuse our residents" I really do think this is un fair and it would be lovely to see some praise in the papers for once and to be remembered for all the care and commitment that we apply to our work.

          We get such poor money for the work we do. We have to work under very stressful circumstances and even deal with deaths but we still only usually get minimum wage. I think its terrible. The whole system is completely wrong. I really think its about time that us carers got a bit more recognition for the love and good quality of life we give our residents.

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            07.09.2006 19:52
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            Where is all the help for carers and their charges?

            INTRODUCTION

            This is based on true life, I shall call the couple involved Frank and Hilda (not their real names). I know this is not an isolated situation, there are lots of others out there in similar circumstances, needing care in their old age.

            IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

            Eighteen months ago an elderly gentleman died. He had been a tower of strength, coping almost single handedly with the care of his wife, who had shared his life for over 50 years. Badly disabled with various mobility problems and crippled by arthritis, Hilda had relied on Frank for many of her needs and, like so many other partners, the strain of coping eventually took its toll. Frank died peacefully, literally worn out by the effort of dutifully looking after his wife. But officially he died of pneumonia.

            A CARING HUSBAND

            Before his death the family had helped out as much as possible, but when they visited their parents, Frank would invariably tell them to sit down and talk to Mum and he would disappear into the kitchen, seemingly to make a cup of tea. It is only now after his death that the family realise this was his means of escape from the constant demands of his wife. Don’t get me wrong, they were devoted to each other, but he needed an occasional break and there was nobody to give him one. It now takes a team of eight or nine people to give Hilda the same care her husband gave. No wonder he was worn out. Yet how many other Franks are left out there, struggling on alone? What help is given to them?

            DUTIFUL DAUGHTERS

            His daughters had both made careers for themselves and worked during the week, only having time at the weekend to make a duty bound visit to their parents. Torn - between giving enough time to their husbands and children and still managing a visit to the old folk.
            His sons lived nearer than his daughters, and neither of their wives worked, yet nothing was expected of them. Frank was brought up in an age when daughters-in-law were not expected to help when there were daughters in the family. Even if they offered, their assistance was politely refused.

            FAMILY ARGUMENTS

            When Frank died his wife was left to struggle on her own. With the support of her children of course, but they all had families who also needed them. Soon the strain of sudden bereavement began to show in the family relationships.
            One of the daughters tried to organise things and took leave from her job to cope with Mother until something else could be arranged. The eldest son thought his sister was being too bossy in trying to make arrangements for everyone to do their share and they argued.
            Frank would have been horrified - they had always been a close family and now two of his children were not speaking to each other. This in itself put extra strain on the family as a whole. Other arguments developed between the others, endeavouring to keep the peace.

            AFTER THE FUNERAL

            Friends wrote consoling letters of sympathy to the widow, adoring nephews and nieces from long ago attended the funeral and faithfully promised to visit Hilda more often now she was alone. Social Services visited to make arrangements for home care. “We are stretched to the limit, but we can arrange for someone to come in and make your breakfast” they told Hilda. At least this was a start.

            CARERS’ ALLOWANCE

            After a while it became obvious the eldest daughter was the one expected to take most of the strain on her shoulders. Her family were grown up, she was the eldest, she didn’t really need to work - it was up to her to care for Hilda. She claimed the Carers’ Allowance and was expected to work for 35 hours a week to qualify for what amounts to a very low weekly wage. But Hilda needed help and there was little alternative.
            For a few months things seemed to be slightly easier. The District Nurses visited Hilda daily to attend to her nursing requirements. They were kindly and sympathetic, but very busy people and unable to offer much practical advice. Nieces and nephews phoned and popped in occasionally, but the family were largely left to fend for themselves, juggling their own lives with caring for their elderly mother.

            HOME CARE

            A Home Care attendant came in every morning, sometimes as many as three different ones in a week. Hilda complained - some of them couldn’t make a decent cup of tea, others didn’t wash their hands before making the toast, but then proceeded to tell Hilda, as she ate her breakfast, how they had cleaned up after some other elderly person who had soiled the bed before they came to her. Nobody complained. The Carers should have known better, but the excuse was they were very busy people. Despite their differences, the Home Carers all had one thing in common - they didn’t have much time to spare and Hilda felt guilty for taking up so much of what little they did have. On average they spent half an hour a day with her.

            MOVE IN WITH YOUR DAUGHTER

            “Your mother will have to live with one of you” was the advice frequently offered. But Hilda wouldn’t make a decision as to which one of her children she wanted to move in with. She didn’t like the locality where one of the daughters lived and, besides, she was out at work all day. The eldest daughter - the Official Carer - lived in a smaller house than the others. If Hilda went to live there they would have to build an extension. “Social Services may be able to help” they were told. Social Services were only able to offer help if Hilda sold her house. She couldn’t do this until there was an extension for her to live in. They couldn’t build an extension until she had put in some of the money from the sale of her house ......... Is there a way out of this dilemma?

            WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

            Eighteen months passed, it is now almost two years since Frank died. Hilda continues to live alone. Her eldest daughter divides her time between her husband and her mother. The other children support their sister as much as possible. One sister, working full time on weekdays, spends Saturday and Sunday caring for her mother. When does she have time with her own family?
            Visits from other relatives stopped a few months after Frank’s funeral. It could be they were tired of hearing Hilda’s constant moans. But they don’t realise that sitting in a chair day in, day out, staring at the same scenery, is enough to make anyone bitter and resentful.

            STRESS

            Inevitably there are arguments between the brothers and sisters as to who is spending more time there and who is doing the most to help Hilda. Sadly, none of the family recognise their constant bickering as being signs of the stress they are all under, caused by the insoluble problem of caring for an ageing relative.
            So where is all the help we are constantly being told about? Why aren’t the resources available to help ease the burden on families such as these. They are certainly not the only ones trying to cope in a situation like this.

            SUPPORT – FROM WHOM?

            We read of agencies which give support. Day centres for the elderly, churches which help out and caring neighbours keeping a watchful eye on old people nearby. Hilda has had no support from any of these. Because she is virtually housebound nobody seems to know she exists. Although she lives on a busy main road and has lived there for the past ten years, her neighbours are too involved in their own lives to take an interest. It is assumed the family will cope - but what happens when the strain becomes too much for them?

            HELP AVAILABLE?

            So where is it - all this help given to the elderly and disabled when they are in need? We are constantly being told of all the assistance given to these people, all these aids to help make life easier for them, all the help given to ease the burden on caring relatives. But unless you know who to ask or where to enquire, you are left to cope on your own and like I said at the beginning of this review, Hilda is just one of thousands in this situation.

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              29.05.2005 15:14
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              • "Nights and days worrying"

              Let's start with the definition of a carer :

              A carer is someone who looks after a friend, relative or neighbour needing support due to sickness, age or disability.*

              This definition does not include any professional care-workers, such as home helps or nursing home staff, by definition a carer is unpaid and usually has no training (although they probably have far more experience than trained staff).

              This review will mainly focus on when a parent takes on the role of the carer of their disabled child.

              *Taken from http://www.direct.gov.uk/Audiences/CaringForSomeone/ IntroductionToCaring/CaringArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4000033&chk=Zzoanj

              ---Why I Became A Carer---

              I did not become a carer through choice, but because my son has a disability that affects his whole life as well as severe epilepsy. He is deemed to need 24 hour care, and although I don't begrudge him this care, my personal choice would be that he is just like every other seven year old. There are hundreds of thousands of other people like me that provide care in the home for their children, parents and friends, without whom the government would have to provide nurses, therapists etc…

              ---A Carer's Duties---

              OK let's start with what tasks a carer performs throughout their days, of course I can only tell you about my (and my sons) daily life and I'm not suggesting here that my son is the most difficult child to work with, or that other carers don't work even harder than me, I can only share my experiences.

              --Personal Care--

              Although he is seven my son depends on me for all of his personal care. This includes taking him to the toilet (and wiping his bum), lifting him in and out of the bath (as well as washing), getting him dressed, feeding him and changing his night-time nappies. Knowing how difficult this is for a child, I can only imagine having to perform these tasks on an adult that had recently been your care-giver.

              --Medical Care--

              I provide all my son's medical care, most days this just means giving him his daily drugs. But the responsibility also falls on me to decide if he needs emergency drugs or a trip to hospital. For me this is probably the hardest part of caring for him sometimes the responsibility is just too much.

              --Therapy--

              Although he occasionally receives appointments with professional therapists, again I find it is me that has to perform the majority of his therapy following a specialised program. This includes Speech Therapy, where I'm teaching him to sign so that he can make himself understood by more people and Physiotherapy so that his physical condition doesn't deteriorate.

              --Advocate--

              Because he can't fight for himself, it's up to me to fight for the services he desperately needs, whether it's the right school or simply access to therapy. I also need to translate for him, inform any doctors that he sees about his condition (it's quite rare so no-one knows about it) and ensure that he gets the benefits he's entitled to.

              --Play Leader--

              Because he is on the autistic spectrum my son finds playing with toys and other children difficult. So it's up to me to not only help him learn to play appropriately and socialise with other children, but also provide opportunities for him to learn through play.

              This is only a sample of the sorts of help I give my son, there is also that fact that he has emotional problems and can explode at any moment, and when he does I need to calm and restrain him. And of course there's the fact that his epilepsy is not considerate enough to only strike during waking hours, it has a habit of raising it's ugly head at 2 am.

              ---Holiday Entitlement---

              Ha.

              Sorry you want me to elaborate, a carer is not entitled to any holiday although if you fight very hard you might get a few days respite*, this is quite hard to actually get and then I still have my other children to look after.

              *Respite is where a paid professional will take over the care for a short period of time, we get 21 nights a year.

              ---Support---

              There are two forms of support out there for carers, official and unofficial :

              -Official-

              Official support comes in the form of a social worker, who is normally assigned to the person you are caring for. What you need to do is ask for an assessment of yourself to see what help you need. You're not actually guaranteed that help, but at least it's acknowledged.

              -Unofficial-

              The greatest support any carer gets is from support groups, these can be on-line groups, national or local groups and may be condition specific or encompass a whole range of conditions. I find these groups invaluable, if only to meet people in a similar situation to myself. A good place to start (for parents at least) when looking for these groups is Contact A Family which you can find here http://www.cafamily.org.uk/

              ---The Pay---

              Double Ha.

              To get any money for being a carer you will need to be over the age of 16, caring for someone who receives either Disability Living Allowance (at middle or higher rate care) or Attendance Allowance for over 35 hours a week, and earning less than £82 a week.

              If you meet these conditions you will receive the princely sum of £45.70, which will then be immediately deducted from your income support (if you get it). This works out at 27p an hour when you consider the 24 hours a day 7 days a week (even if my son is at school during the day I need to be on hand in case he has a seizure and needs me).

              ---The Bad Points---

              I'll start with summarising the worst aspects of being a full-time carer :

              * The stress
              * The isolation
              * Lack of official support
              * Watching your child suffer
              * The Fighting for everything
              * The responsibility

              ---The Benefits---

              And the best aspects are :

              * Watching your child develop
              * Beating the system and getting your child what they need
              * The smiles and hugs

              ---Final Words---

              I know this is only the view of a parent who is the carer of their child, and there are many other kinds of carer, including those looking after their spouses or parents, this is all I have experience of. Would I recommend becoming a carer, absolutely not, it's not something I would wish on everyone, as being a carer means that somebody has to be cared for.

              A better question would be, would I recommend caring for your disabled child rather than having them put into care? And then I would say, yes as long as you are actually able to and can get the support you need. I was actually given the choice of my son going into a residential school and felt that I would be better able to provide for him, but I would never condemn anybody who makes that choice as I know just how difficult things can get.

              So this is not the most prestigious job, but it is a job (and far harder and more stressful than your standard 9 to 5 office job) and although it's full of trials and difficult times, it is also the most rewarding in the world and I wouldn't change things for the world, as without his difficulties and the care he needs my son would not be the child he is.

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                21.05.2003 16:14
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                I will warn you before I start that this opinion may be a little disjointed as it is not a subject that I find easy to write about for obvious reasons! Lets get the definitions out of the way first. Carer's Allowance is payable to any individual looking after a person who receives Attendance Allowance, so if you are looking after someone who is not capable of looking after themselves the first step is for them to apply for Attendance Allowance. This is payable to the person needing the care at a normal maximum rate of £46.80 per week. There are higher rates payable for people with severe problems or disabilities. Once the person for whom you are caring is receiving Attendance Allowance you can then claim Carer's Allowance. To claim you must be over 16 years of age and caring for the person receiving Attendance Allowance for at least 35 hours per week. There are restrictions on the amount you can earn if you are applying for Carer's Allowance and it is also not payable to anyone in full time education, but then logically if you have a full time job or are receiving full time education you wouldn't have the time to be a Carer anyway! The amount currently payable is £43.15 per week for daytime care although I think this is increased if the person requires 24-hour care. Right that's the definitions out of the way so what does being a Carer mean? Well I would start by saying that it will mean different things to different people depending on what sort of person you are, who it is that you are caring for and how ill they are. At the moment I am daytime Carer to my father who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, so I'll try and explain what it means to me. One of the days I may feel strong enough to write an opinion about the disease itself, but not yet. Dave and I used to live in the Midlands where we were about 5 miles away from where mom and dad lived
                and, as dad started to deteriorate we decided that the best thing would be for us all to live together so that I could give support to them both. We then decided to move to Llandudno as we had always wanted to live by the sea and we couldn't have afforded a house large enough for us all in the Midlands, as we needed to have separate living accommodation to try and retain a certain level of privacy and sanity! We also wanted to buy our house without using the money from mom and dad's house so that they could retain financial independence. We now live in a three storey ex guesthouse a couple of minutes from the West Shore seafront. Mom and dad have the ground floor as a flat and Dave and I have the remaining two floors. So what exactly does being a Carer mean to me? My day begins when I get up (no? really?) and pop downstairs to make sure that mom and dad are OK and that there's nothing worrying them or that they need help with. I continue to do this on a regular basis during the day, spending time with mom and dad both individually and together to try and help them as much as I can. Dad is still in the early stages of his disease and so some days he is relatively OK, although his memory is such that he needs someone with him pretty much constantly so that he doesn't harm himself because he can't remember how to do something. Some days he is totally confused, very moody and verbally aggressive - totally unlike my dad I have to stress! These days are the worst, as I have to try and calm him down and get him to understand what the reality of the situation is. This can be very difficult and heartbreaking too. The main thing for me to deal with in respect of my own feelings (apart from the distress of seeing what this disease is doing to dad) is a lack of freedom, which is something that I am finding difficult to come to terms with. I have lived alone for a few years so I ha
                ve be en used to being able to do what I want to when I want to, but that has all changed now. If I am in our part of the house I am constantly listening to what is going on downstairs in case mom and dad need my help in any way - either to do something, find something or to calm any volatile situations. Mom is loosing her memory as she gets older and often gets frustrated with herself and with dad and can't help snapping at him, which can result in arguments, which need diffusing. If all seems peaceful I can get out and pop into town for an hour, or just go out for a walk along the seafront, and when Dave is at home we sometimes go out for half a day on our own, so I do get an occasional break. Incidentally a path, which would be open to some Carer's, is Respite Care, where the Carer's 'charge' is looked after at a local care centre or hospice for a week or two to give the carer a break. Sadly this doesn?t apply in our case as we also have mom who would not be eligible so it would not be appropriate in our case. Dad does go to a Day Care Centre one day a week and he really enjoys that, so that does give mom a bit of a break. So all in all it is a seven day a week, fifty two weeks a year job with no holidays, which for £43.15 per week isn't a great career, but given the circumstances it is one I choose to pursue, even if I do get a bit resentful at times! I realise that I may seem to paint a black picture but the good days still outweigh the bad ones at the moment and, after all, mom and dad have looked after me for long enough, so I think it?s fair that I look after them whilst I can. By the way I'm not sure where half the capital letters disappear to when the review gets posted!

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                  09.03.2001 03:00
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                  Community Care Assistants This is a tribute to the many people who devote their lives to the caring of the elderly and infirm and also designed to provide an insight for readers into the role of a community care assistant. Many of us probably take certain aspects of life for granted and may not consider the unfortunate people who are unable to cope for themselves due to old age, the ailments and conditions that are associated with it or due to some crippling disability. On the other hand there will be those amongst us who have first hand experience of these matters where their loved ones may be currently residing in one of the many residential care homes throughout the country and who may be visited by the community care assistant at their home. Many elderly and infirm people have loved ones living nearby and will receive the tender loving care and attention that they deserve. They may have a surviving spouse in the family home to assist them through life but many people who fall into this category may be isolated and very much alone. Community care assistants are employed either by local government institutions and private organisations and visit ‘clients’ or ‘patients’ as a result of provisions that have been made on their behalf by their families or other caring organisations. They are not, however, trained nurses as such but management teams from the governing bodies work closely with the carers to ensure that care services are delivered to a high standard and to the satisfaction of each individual client. Carers visit private dwellings and carry out a wide variety of tasks including personal care, domestic help, respite care, escort services and night care. Personal care includes caring for bed-ridden patients and the terminally ill and assisting patients to get up each morning and going to bed at night. Carers assist patients to dress and undress where patients du
                  e to their condition may have lost the use of one or more limbs. Carers are often called upon to assist patients with personal hygiene, grooming, care of facial hair, shaving, assisting with toilet needs and emptying catheter and stoma bags. Personal hygiene can very often present problems for both the patient and the carer and it is not uncommon for a carer to arrive at a patient’s home early in the morning and find the patient laying in his or her own excrement and urine. The patient may be completely covered from head to toe and totally oblivious to what has happened. The carer would carry out a ‘strip wash’ that might be time consuming due to the length of time the patient has been in this condition. Alternative clothing would normally have been made available by a carer who had visited the patient previously. Some patients are capable of visiting the bathroom in order to wash, bathe or shower and need only a small degree of assistance. Elderly patients who are alone seek stability, continuity and trust from the people who care for them and carers make every effort to enhance the lives of people that they care for. Carers however do not invade the patient’s privacy and ensure that their dignity is maintained and their customs, values and spiritual beliefs respected. The carer may also be called upon to prepare hot and cold meals where dietary needs are always a serious consideration involving each individual patient. Some patients are diabetics and some patients need to be spoon-feed Carers endeavour to encourage patients to carry out those tasks that they can perform and undertake only the tasks that the patient is unable to do thus maintaining the patients independence. The carer is also called upon to assist with the domestic needs of the patient that may include household cleaning, shopping and dealing with the laundry. The carer will always
                  recognise and encourage the patients existing domestic and personal skills and compliment accordingly in an effort to maintain this progress. Carers also provide respite care which allows the main carer such as a spouse, relative or friend to rest whilst the carer takes on the caring responsibilities. The carer may also escort patients shopping, attending hospital appointments, social outings and visits to day centres and are very often entrusted with money. Visiting the home of clients can frequently be a traumatic experience for carers who are quite often requested by the clients who have been satisfied with the service that an individual carer has previously provided. It cannot sometimes be avoided where bonds are formed and friendships made albeit quite often for a limited period only. It is within my knowledge that a forty nine year old cancer ridden patient formed a relationship with a carer and died from that disease within a short space of time leaving behind her thirteen year old daughter who was suffering from down syndrome. The carer was visibly upset and shaken by this occurrence. I am also aware of an eighty-nine year old widow residing alone in a mid terraced house with only one room in the house suitable for habitation due to the decrepit state of the building. The house is in a complete state of disrepair and is what can only be described as squalor. She has no known friends or relatives and is permanently and totally confused with the only contact of the outside world being the carers who visit her daily. Her only other companion is her pet cat but waste material covers the floor in which she lives and is repeatedly cleaned by the carers. There is also evidence that the patient regularly mixes cat food with her food and on occasions cat food can be seen around the patient’s mouth with a strong odour issuing from within. I am aware of a ninety year old man of re
                  asonable health who cares for his eighty nine year old wife who suffers from asthma breaking down in tears in front of the care assistant because he just cannot cope anymore. These are only some of the circumstances that care assistants are faced with on a daily basis and which surely must have some form of emotional impact on them. Community carers offer services of care to elderly, infirm and vulnerable people and it is essential that carers have the ability and knowledge to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently. Training staff with no previous experience would include induction courses prior to commencement of employment with a caring organisation. Internal and external lifting courses and accompanying experienced carers on their daily visits are also included in the training schedule. Theory and practical training sessions to N.V.Q. standards would be available through a local provider and all staff are given the opportunity and encouraged to follow N.V.Q training levels 2 & 3. Community care is provided by many organisations seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day with a member of a management team or senior carer being on call after certain hours applicable to that particular organisation. Many patients are also supplied with a personal alarm system that is directly linked to any such person on call at any given time. The financial rewards from carrying out the many difficult tasks which are regularly demanded from this devout group of people does not in my opinion reflect the true value of their worth and their efforts associated with the most precious gift of all life itself. It may indicate to us that people who have chosen this type of work as a career are genuinely concerned about the care and support of people desperately in need and where perhaps the monetary aspect is only second nature. Their work evolves around confidentiality, empathy and a great d
                  eal of patience and compassion towards our fellow human beings. Community care assistants employed by private organisations could realistically hope to earn between £4.00p and £5.20p per hour depending upon the hours and days that they work. Carers use their own private motor vehicles for use in connection with their work and are paid a mileage allowance of £0.12p per mile that is in addition to their salary. Carers are encouraged to retain all service maintenance and repair work invoices for work carried out their motor vehicles and will on some occasions receive a contribution form the organisation for which they work towards this cost. I may of course not be fully qualified to comment on this topic but I can say that I have spent many hours talking to my daughter who is employed as a community care assistant and has some experience of residential care as well as visiting patients at their homes. On many occasions she will return home and regularly discuss the heartrending tasks that she has had to carry out and the sights that she has seen. Many people I am sure will be able to leave their work in the workplace but I have chosen to listen to my daughter who may need to talk about these tasks. It may be her way of dealing with it but I cannot help but feel that she really does enjoy her work in some way as difficult as it may sound. It is clear that this type of work may be considered unsuitable for many people but it is also heartening that some people choose this as their vocation in life. We may not have immediate need of caring by dedicated people such as these but the time may be not all that far away when we may have little choice but to rely on the help of others when through no reason of our own we find ourselves incapacitated in some way. A useful web site for anyone in need of seeking information on this topic is: Http//www.caringmatters.dial.pipex.com: Welcome
                  to caring matters. This is a national charity helping people to make the best decisions about long term care. The site covers many aspects of care situations that can sometimes last for months or years and can present unique challenges. A disabling or progressive illness, growing older or disabilities that can affect your life at any time. The site also covers family, friends and care providers of the person needing care who are also affected by a persons care needs and provides the right information at the right time to make the best care decisions. Information from this site can benefit: People needing long term care, their loved ones and carers, care managers, social workers, home helpers, doctors, nurses, occupational and physiotherapists and information and advice providers. I hope that this information will prove useful to any person who may be faced with care decision issues and provide an insight to anyone who may wish to pursue this extremely challenging work as a career. Best Wishes, Peter2670

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                    08.10.2000 02:53
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                    Handy little act, this one, and a bit of a sly one too, in some ways, which I'll try to explain. It is aimed to protect or at least recognise the vital importance of carers (that being someone who is providing a substantial amount of care for a disabled, elderly, or otherwise vulnerable person, which includes those with mental illnesses), in the whole structure of the community care policies. This act allows although, interestingly enough, it does not demand, that the needs of carers are assessed separately from the individual for whom they are caring. Although it does not demand that services are provided, it is a step forward in recognising that the carer has needs which are distinct and not always the same as the person that they are caring for. Also, local authorities for the most part, do provide services in order to assist the carer to maintain their caring role, even though not legally obliged. The reason I am explaining this act, and this is the crucial point, is that assessments have to be asked for. Sometimes, they will be offered, but if they are specifically requested, the social services department has a LEGAL obligation to provide, but the obligation isn't there if they are not requested. That always seemed a bit unfair to me, because not that many people know the intricacies of social care legislation, but anyway.. So if you are a carer and you haven't been assessed.. do get in touch with the local social services, they might not actually provide anything, but then again, they might, and they will be more likely to if you point them in the direction of this law. And even if they don't, it will remain on record that you have needs as well as the person you are caring for..

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                      26.09.2000 01:14
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                      I am a carer, I look after my dad who is disabled, and I have been looking after him since I was 14. I help him in many ways the most important ways being pushing the wheelchair, administering tablets, driving him to hospital appointments, helping him to get out of bed, on to the toilet etc. But there are many more insignificant ways I help him such as offering shoulder to lean on and friendship; disabled people can get aggravated and annoyed when they are in pain. So I have to be calm at all times even when this person is insulting me, I suppose it takes a certain sort of person to look after a disabled person. It takes an unselfish and open-minded person. As I carer the only reward I get is knowing that my dad is in good hands, I gave up my education, my friends, nights out plus the little things most people take for granted. I don't get paid, even though I'm doing a full time job; all I get is a small allowance from the government. If I said I never worry what is going to become of my life I would be lying, firstly I don't have any education, but I am doing something about that by doing an open learning course. As we live in a council house I have found out that when my dad dies I will NOT be entitled to take over the tenancy my future will be decided by some bureaucrat who doesn't know anything about me. The chances are I will be rehoused into some grotty council flat. The point I am trying to make is that I feel that I'm doing a responsible job and people like me are saving the government millions of pounds, surly I should deserve some recognition I shouldn't be cast out of my home like some sort of rubbish. The government says there are loads of help for carers, it's totally untrue, for example I wanted to study at home for my future. 99% of the colleges I phoned wanted £100 plus examination fees to go on their course, this may not sound a lot, but to me it's a hug
                      e amount of money lucky I did find a college that would let me go on a course for a very small fee. But the point is I had to look really hard to get on this course, and not one so-called carer support group could guide me. There are millions of people like me in this country, we deserve to be looked after, after all we have dedicated our whole lives to looking after a person, shouldn't we be looked after when the disabled person dies.

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