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8 Reviews

Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a care assistant. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?

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      04.08.2013 00:09
      Very helpful



      Can be very rewarding but not for everyone

      I didn't plan to be a carer, in fact up until November 2012, it hadn't even entered my head, it was one of those things in life that just happened.

      My dearest friend, (who is more than like a mum to me) has been her mums main carer for a few years. Up until May 2012 that only meant going in twice a day, morning and night and laying everything out for her. However following a hospitalization in May 2012, it became apparent she would then need 24/7 care. So she moved in, leaving her husband at home. Being two minutes from me, I would spend the weekend there and go straight from work and stay sometimes till 10 o clock or even 1 o clock in the morning. As May dragged through to September my friend was feeling the strain. Being a carer non stop for someone who is very demanding is un-relentless. I was working as an operations manager and had quite a high position within a company that was all about take take take. I had been there 7 years and from that point of view I myself was starting to feel the pressure. By November my friend was near the end of her tether and her mum was becoming two to handle. By now I was no longer just emotional support but practical too, assisting with toileting, moving, feeding and putting to bed. One day it was just too much, and after a very messy day my tearful friend begged me to stay over. Which I did......that was November.....it is now August and I am still here.

      Managing my two commitments was getting impossible, I could be up all night here then up at 7 to go to work, then straight back at 5. I was exhausted and work wasn't going very well. After years of being taken for granted I had started to have enough and so I left by mutual agreement, the finalization of which took until January.

      My friend was torn in two up to November knowing she couldnt cope on her own, but knowing that if she put her in a home, it would in effect be killing her, by doing this I effectively took the decision out of hands.

      It is not an easy job, and to say its thankless is wrong as of course my friend is very thankful, but her mum has dementia and is very demanding. We cater for all her all her personal needs, 24/7. I think that caring is one of the most underestimated jobs out there because not everyone can do it, and not everyone can do it well. I know that I couldn't do this for anyone else, I hold my hands up and so I have nothing but respect for people who do this as a job for people they don't know.


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        10.03.2013 22:07
        Very helpful
        1 Comment



        There will always be a need for carers.

        Being a care assistant is perhaps one of the most hardest jobs you can do in a practical sense. But at the same time, many people who work as a care assistant will say it's one of the most rewarding things they've ever done. There are many names for a care assistant such as Support Worker, Nursing Assistant, Clinical Support Worker, Auxiliary Nurse and there's a lot more names for them. But the name dosen't really matter because we all have a duty of care. You will find them in care settings such as; hospitals, nursing homes, day centres or even in a client's own home.

        I had very little knowledge of The Health & Social Care sector and it wasn't until people told me I had great potential in the sector until I decided that this was the role I want to take on. I want to be a social, kind and caring person and I want a role that's both challenging and rewarding so this seemed to be the right role for me.

        I've had work experience in care homes and even job interviews. All I can see is that no organisation is ever the same. They have to change everything to suit the needs of the clients. In the interviews they will normally ask about knowledge and experience, they don't really take qualifications into consideration, but if you do have qualifications or experience in a Health & Social Care setting it is a big advantage. It is also beneficial not to have a criminal record, as you will always have to do a CRB check if you are successful.

        In order to be in this role you have to be a good communicator, a good team player and you also have to be bold enough to report any concerns to senior member of staff. I am a Domiciliary Care Assistant which means I will be caring for clients in their own homes. Some Domiciliary settings will only hire you if you have a clean driver's licence, but some companies are willing to take on anyone who will be an on-foot carer.

        No matter where you're hired weather it's in a home, hospital or a company, full training will always be given. The training will vary depending on where you go but for my training I had to watch videos, talk to colleagues and fill in activity sheets. I was also taught how to use the hoist correctly.

        My main duties as a care assistant will vary depending on the needs of a client and I must respect their wishes and if I have any problems or concerns I must report them as once. I have a lot of responsibilities whoever my client will be. Every client will usually have a care plan and I will have a mixture of practical and paper work to do. The paper work is a legal document and authorized personnel will use them as records to see any patterns or trends in a client's health so they can have the best care they deserve. And you'll be learning a lot about legislation, policies and procedures.

        These are some of the things that can put some people off the job. You will be dealing with a lot of bodily fluids and you'll have to clean them up. This may sound gross, but you should have the right equipment to make sure that you are safe from infection. The rates of pay are various, some are only national minimum wage and some companies you get paid more on weekends and evenings. I know one place that offered over £10 an hour at weekends.

        I love my position because I feel as if this can boost my career aspects much more in the later stages and if I like it I can continue to do it. Another reason why people like this sector is because it's flexible and you don't need professional vocations to be considered. It's a real eye-opener for some of the harshest facts of reality.


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          17.08.2012 12:58
          Very helpful



          Care Assistant


          Hi I'm Lisa, 36 and have been working as a care assistant for many years now and in different homes. I've always worked the night shift as it is suitable for me to do so with my partner and child. I have to admit my job does have it's ups and downs, its advantages and disadvantages, but so do all jobs I expect. It is tiring and very demanding work, physically and mentally draining, but all the same I enjoy and love my work. It's a very rewarding job and I love everything about it, well almost everything. I do remember my first ever interview I had applied for, the care assistant role, they were sitting there telling me what the job entailed me to do, and what was expected of me, but as soon as they came to the part of cleaning their bums etc, my thoughts was negative, and thought I cannot do this, a bit harsh seems I never tried it, but the thought put me off. I had my first child at 17, and it changed my way of thinking and knew that I was harsh in my decision of being a care assistant, if I could wipe a babies bum it would be no different then to be doing it to older person, I regretted my decision to not give the job a go, so I applied to more care assistant jobs, and gave it a go, and never regretted it since. Enough of this chat, let me carry on with the review in hand.


          There are quite a few duties we have to undertake at night, and can be very frustrating sometimes. Caring for the elderly is the main and most important duty on any shift, some residents are in need of going to bed and also getting ready for bed, so we assist with this before any other duty is carried out. Once all residents are in bed tucked up, we then start on the other jobs, which are as follows
          Cleaning the living areas - washing down the chairs, polishing, vacuuming the floor, cleaning out the bins, also I have been washing down the skirting boards too.
          Dining room - washing the tables and chairs, mopping the floor, washing skirting boards, setting the table for breakfast in the morning.
          Toilets - cleaning the toilets, removing the bags out the bins, mopping the floor.
          Laundry - washing, drying and ironing of clothes
          Preparation of vegetables

          All these jobs can take quite a long to time to do especially with residents wandering through the night or the buzzer goes off for assistance, but we do get it all done. Because there is no senior on a night shift we are responsible for calling out any doctors, or ambulance if necessary, all paperwork that needs to be looked at my either doctor or ambulance crew. The main duty of any shift is the caring of the elderly regardless, All residents have a dance mat in their rooms that need them, dance mat - a mat where when they stand on it the assistance buzzer will sound. If they don't have a dance mat then they have a buzzer on their wall if they should need us, when pressed their door number will be displayed by a flashing light against their name on a board so we know who is need of us.


          Training might sound boring to most people but the training is there to help you, it is free and provided to you by your manager, it is mostly undertaken in the care home, so no going to a collage for a day to do it. The down side is you don't get paid for doing it as I think we should, but in saying that it is free to do. I have learnt a lot of things attending the courses and as reassured me as a care assistant that my duties I undertake are right and safely done. The training can last between 1-3 hours depending on the training, there is a chance to voice your concerns, questions and uncertainties after the training has finished. Training has to be done to ensure you are aware of your duties as a care assistant, and help you learn things you didn't know, making your job safer to do, and also keeping your residents safe and protected.


          Now then I'm only going to tell you a bit about residents as most of you will know what I am talking about already. These are elderly people, some with dementia, some with Alzheimer's, some which have had falls, and some with strokes, regardless of there health problems they are all still human, most people tend to forget that. Some residents have worked all their life and dependant on no one but themselves, and when they come into a home, it upsets them because they don't want to be there where people are doing the things for them that once could do themselves, I cannot imagine how they feel, however I do try and understand and I know it must be hard for them to take a step back and let others help them. We don't as a carer take over, we do let them take charge to what they can manage as if we don't they loose their independence, and we don't want that at all. All residents are different in their own way, but we as carers are all there to help, regardless of race, age, sex, beliefs, and health problems they might have. Resident put in a lot of trust to let us help them, care for them and assist them with anything that want and need help with. I have seen the programs on the tele about old people being mistreated and it is disgusting, and makes me sick to my stomach. A lot of reassurance is good enough for residents and will help them settle, but others it don't. It's the case of caring and being there for them no matter what.


          Yes believe it or not there is paper work in this job and quite a lot of it sometimes too. At the end of every shift you have to write in each residents care plan to ensure that it is up to date with how they have been on the shift. You note everything in the care plan, what assistance was given, how they have slept, wet or dry, everything! Then you have top fill out the handover book, this is a book that a member of staff fills out of how every resident has been through the night, I know it's all repeated. The handover book is then signed by the person writing and reading it the senior, the book is there to let staff and manager know what has happened on that shift with each resident. Any forms that need to be filled out for accidents or incidents in the night as to be done before leaving the shift. Any phone calls that have been received in the night have to noted in the handover book also.


          Usually when working in a care home, you will be placed on a rota based system which is where your designated shifts are, this can be accessed by all staff and changes the rota are only made by the senior on shift or the manager. Holidays can only be taken when your 3 months probation period as ended, holidays are filled out and placed with the manager, you normally get 5.6 weeks a year of holidays.


          Most care homes I know usually have 12hour shifts, ours don't, we have 5 shifts although that does depend on the residents we have in the home to what hours are required.

          8am - 1pm (this will get crushed if we have less residents in)
          8am - 3pm this is the main shift of the day
          3pm - 8pm (this will also be crushed if we have less residents in)
          3pm - 10pm this is also the main shift
          10pm - 8am main shift

          Hours to suit everyone.

          ..CRB and required items..

          Before you start your job, you will have to have a crb, which is set up by your employer, sometimes you don't have to pay for this but in other homes you do, but it is refundable by your manager as soon as it comes through your clean. A CRB check is a police record if you have been in trouble by the police and have a criminal record then don't bother applying for a job in this line of work, as they wont employ you, you have to understand your dealing with elderly vulnerable people. When starting your new job you should receive a uniform which is normally free of charge and also a key/fob/card for clocking in and out of the building, this is also free of charge but should you loose it then you have to pay for a new one.


          The pay meets national minimum wage which is sad really to what work we actually do. Holidays taken are also paid for, however training courses are not paid to you.

          ..FINAL THOUGHTS..

          Well I hope I have summed everything up here. I cannot see myself in another career than this one, I love going to work, I love spending time with the resident when I can, and most of all looking after them and caring for them, earning their trust. I love every resident there, and I have been attached to a lot of them, I know people say you shouldn't but you just can't help it. Care homes are not always the best place to be, I have to admit, you need to have the right staff, with a lot of patience, care and love and most of dedication, and luckily for me I do have that.

          Thank you for reading and I hope I have covered everything


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            29.08.2009 16:12
            Very helpful



            Being a care assistant can be so rewarding

            I started my second career after being at home for ten years bringing up a family, as a care assistant. That was 13 years ago and I am now the registered manager of four homes which just shows the progression that can be made and qualifications that can be gained for those that seek it. I have worked with adults on the autistic spectrum and have absolutely loved my work since the day I first walked through the front door. The rewards gained from working with vulnerable people come from entriely what you make it, if you take a pride in your job and the contribution you are making to that person's life, you will feel rewarded. Care work has always been notoriously poorly paid but people make careers from this work in spite of this. It takes a very special person to be a good care assistant, one that has patience, high personal standards and, most importantly, one that is interested in other people. I have always held the thought when working that "what if this were my mother" or "what if this were my child". To think these thoughts keeps things real and people you are caring for do not just become a number. I am so glad I went into this career, although late in life and I only wish I had done so straight from college.


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              08.05.2008 23:17
              Very helpful



              A job for life.

              I have worked as a care assistant for the past twenty years. In that time I have worked in nursing homes,care homes,hospitals and care in the community. The majority of my career has been spent in care of the elderly.
              Nursing homes cater for elderly people who need constant care and attention.

              Care homes cater for elderly people who need some assistance with day to day living.

              Hospitals cater for elderly sick people and people who are waiting for a place in a nursing home.

              Care in the community cater for elderly people who can live in their own homes with some assistance.

              As a care assistant I have been called several names - carer, auxilliary nurse, homehelp and shit shoveller. I have always liked to think of myself as someone who cares what happens to our senior citizens. Most of thes people have lived through wars and tough times and I feel that the community can show their respect for them by giving them the best care possible.

              A carers job is to provide a confidential, reliable, dignified and regular service to each person they look after.

              Care homes, Nusring homes and hospitals all have a variety of employees - nursing staff, care assistants, laundry assistants, clerical staff,cleaning staff and activities organisers.

              Care in the community is completely different. Normally one care assistant visits one person in their own home. The carer is responsible for all aspects of personal care,laundry,shopping and general housework. Sometimes you are the only friendly face people see from one day to the next.

              It is one of the most rewarding jobs you could have because you know that every day your make a little difference to the quality of life these elderly people have. you learn the right things to say to make them smile or you know what their favourite is for tea.

              When I first started this work you did not need any qualifications all you had to be was caring,honest and reliable.

              Now things are very different - before you can even be considered for this type of work you have to get what is called an enhanced disclosure(this proves you do not have a criminal record of any kind).
              You also have a better chance of employment if you have an svq level 2 or 3. in care of the elderly. This qualification shows that you have a good understanding of working with the elderly. Some employers wiill employ you without this and allow you to do the course while you are employed with them.


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                14.01.2008 07:56
                Very helpful



                The right job for me

                I am employed as a care assistant, in a residential rest home. This entails, working on a rota system with other team members. The hours and shifts vary on a pattern of :-
                7am - 12
                7.30 am - 2pm
                7.30am - 3pm
                3pm -9pm
                On each shift there is a shift leader, who supervises the staff and informs us of any changes and events from the previous working shift. The shift leader is there for any questions or problems that may arise in the working hours.
                On entering the building, we have to gather together for a hand over meeting, this is when we are informed by the shift leader, of any events, i.e if a resident is ill, has fallen, needs a change of diet, is having visitors, or if the doctor or nurse is coming and anything else which is important for us to know, before we start work.

                We are responsible for the care of the residents, by way of personal hygiene, feeding the residents who are unable to feed themselves, assisting them to get up and dress themselves and assisting to put them to bed. Assist them to go to the bathroom and change them when necessary. Assist with baths and washing hair.
                We also have to assist in leisure activities, doing intervention where we can play board games, go for walks, read, play cards, paint and clean their nails and socialise with the residents.
                We also have to assist to transfer some of the residents from chairs to wheel chairs and vice versa with the aid of the hoists.
                As well, as doing their laundry, ironing, preparing meals at tea time - 5pm -6pm and taking the drinks trolley round with hot drinks at regular times during the day and before the residents bedtime.
                We also have to write input and output charts to monitor certain individual residents.
                We let visitors in and out, ask them to sign the visitors book, make them tea and take them to see their relatives.
                We are also responsible for the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.
                This includes the wearing of gloves and aprons whilst assisting in getting the residents up washed and dressed, or put to bed. And regularly washing our hands.
                Checking that equipment is clean and safe to use, that the battery for the hoist is charged and that there are no spillages on the floor. That the air beds are in working order and that the rooms are stocked with toiletries, and clean clothing for the residents.
                We are regularly given a fire drill to time response of staff and meet in the hallway at the front door as required.

                We keep time sheets for our hours worked and are responsible for getting these signed at the end of a working week. We have to read the message book to see if there is anything written by the managers or shift leaders which is important for us to known and we have to write incident reports in the case of certain events.
                All files are kept in the cupboard where we have our hand over meetings, these include care plans, policy and procedures and message books, visitors books, time sheets and other files to refer to if needed.
                We are paid monthly at £6 an hour which is a low wage but the work is rewarding in other ways.
                I like my job and am at the moment training for an NVQ level 2 and will go on to do level 3 and other qualifications after. If your thinking about going into care work, then i'd recommend it as a steady job, good fun and rewarding, even though it is hard work and can at times be challenging.


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                  18.04.2006 16:19
                  Very helpful



                  A wonderful rewarding job if you have it to give


                  Since members are interested in the job I have taken I thought it might be a good idea to write a review about what I now do. However I would like to give you some background information on me first to better understand this review.

                  I have done office work since I was 17 years old and have done various jobs within that from Telesales to Secretarial. I worked in an Accounts Department until October 2005 when I experienced a nervous breakdown, I won’t go into the details but my doctor and I decided that my job was the cause and I should consider a career change when I was ready to go back to work.

                  I am now 25 years old and in March 2006 I started my new career, my doctor was happy with my choice as it would help with my anxiety and shyness, as I have mentioned before I shy away from face to face contact.

                  The Interview

                  At the home the owner and the assistant manager interviewed me. I was told all about the history of the home and that this was only a small home that housed 18 residents many of which could do things for themselves. The home is also a freedom home and residents could come and go as they please, the residents also have a right to choose but more about that later.

                  I was given a tour of the home and was shown various residents rooms to understand better how each room is decorated and furnished to the residents personal choice. I was told about some of my duties while touring the home but I’ll explain more about that later. I was also introduced to some of the residents I assume to observe how I interacted with them and vice versa (I pushed through all my natural instincts to clam up and be friendly and talkative).

                  They must have been very happy with me as I was asked to fill in an application form and CRB form so they could do the necessary checks before any employment started.

                  The CRB check (Criminal Record Bureau Check) is to ensure that you do not have any convictions in the social care that you shall be working in. The home paid for this check and I would not be able to work in the home without it. However I was issued with a temporary permit to work as long I was being supervised for the safety of the residents. My CRB check took two weeks to come through, a copy is sent both to you and your employer, I had no issues with mine.


                  With this being a residential home the hours can be flexible but you also need to be flexible as well because sometimes you will be asked to cover for colleagues who are sick or on holiday.

                  There are three shifts available. The morning shift, afternoon shift and night shift I have not worked any night shifts so I shall not be able to comment on them.

                  My Hours

                  Monday 2pm-8pm
                  Tuesday Day off
                  Wednesday 9am-12pm
                  Thursday 9am-12pm
                  Friday 9am-12pm
                  Saturday 2pm-8pm
                  Sunday 2pm-8pm (Saturday and Sunday are alternate weekend shifts)

                  These are my set hours but I have been working more than this because of staff sickness.

                  The Morning Shift 8am-2pm

                  Upon arrival all the staff are gathered together to listen to the report for the previous day and night because if something happened with one of the resident’s overnight then the day staff need to be aware of this.

                  On the morning shift there are four members of staff, two to work upstairs and two downstairs (at 12pm the Care Assistants is cut down to tow). The first job of the day is to serve everyone breakfast; there is a list as there is a choice of toast, cornflakes, bran flakes, porridge and weetabix. There is also a cup of tea or coffee as per the request of the resident.

                  Everyday there is baths to be given on a rota for the residents, this is agreed with the residents as to there personal choice, i.e. number of times per week, morning/evening and bath or shower. The residents that are having a bath are dealt with first (there are four bathrooms in total) you take a wheelchair along to there room, assist them into the chair, gather clean clothes and toiletries and take them to the bathroom.

                  While the bath is running you need to help them undress and support them into the bath hoist. The bath hoist allows you to lift the person without straining yourself, it is a chair that is connected to a pole that is drilled into the floor and on the pole you have a handle that is turned to lift and turn into the bath.

                  If you a bathing someone who does not need to be supervised then you can leave the bathroom and return to there room to strip and remake their bed. Otherwise you have to stay in the bathroom and help them wash and dry themselves (you just have to do the bed afterwards).

                  Once all the bathing is done it is time to get the rest up, which is literally helping them out of bed, helping them wash, getting them dressed, making there bed and either making them comfortable in their room or taking them down to the lounge.

                  Some of the residents have catheters fitted to drain their urine away and you have to change the bag that is fitted from their night bag to their day bag. The difference is that the night bag is bigger and can hold more urine while the day bag is smaller and can be held against the leg with a stocking.

                  After everyone is up it is then time to serve morning coffee, once that is served you sort the washing and start up the machines then get chance to have a sit down yourself and believe me you’ll need it because it will now be about 11am.

                  After you have finished your morning coffee the next job is to prepare the trays for lunch for those who eat in their room and also set the dining table for those residents that eat in the lounge.

                  Before lunch is ready you will have just enough time to sort through the airing cupboard. Each piece of clothing is marked with a coloured dot, which corresponds to each resident. Sort into piles and put their clothes away in their room.

                  The cook dishes up the lunchtime meal and the Care Assistants are responsible for delivering their food and ensuring that they take their medication. We only have two residents that need to be fed by Care Assistants and these are done last while everyone else is eating.

                  Many of the residents take their time while eating so we go back to the laundry room and empty the washer into the tumble dryer and start that up, we also add another load into the washing machine.

                  All the trays are wiped down and placed back on their selves. All plates and dishes are loaded into the dishwasher. Once the kitchen is back to being clean and tidy it is now time to help each resident to the toilet and clean them up from lunch as well.

                  After everyone has been to the toilet (and emptied catheters bags) you need to start writing the report for each resident before your shift ends and the next staff comes on duty. Before you leave you always run through the report with the next staff just to bring them up to speed.

                  The Afternoon Shift 2pm-8pm

                  There is two Care Assistants on duty for this shift.

                  Once again the first job is to receive the report about the previous events then you need to make afternoon tea for the residents. Before taking the cups of tea around you check what is for tea (4pm) so that you can ask the residents if they would like that or an alternative, this is always written down in the tea book.

                  After you have spoken with all the residents and written down their choice for tea, you then need to prepare them. This can be anything from sandwiches and salads to spaghetti on toast to poached eggs.

                  Once you have prepared the trays for teatime and done any preparation prior to serving you need to check the laundry room to ensure that the morning staff had enough time to complete all the washing. If there is washing left fold up and put into the airing cupboard.

                  If you are lucky you might get to have a five or ten-minute break before the teatime starts. Tea is served on their trays with their choice of food plus a piece of cake and a cup of tea. The kitchen is always open so if any of the residents require any further food it can be done on request. You clear up after teatime and make the kitchen tidy and clean once again; you also need to set the trays up for breakfast (as per the list mentioned earlier).

                  Since there is only one night nurse on duty per night the two Care Assistant’s start to assist residents to bed as some need to be done by two Carer’s. Many also want to go to bed early because the elderly do get tired very easily.

                  Putting the residents to bed is a reserve from getting them up in the morning. You help them onto the toilet, wash them, undressed them and settle them into bed. Drain catheters and switch from the day bag to the night bag.

                  You will put on another load for washing, which the night nurse will dry; the night nurse also deals with the ironing of sheets. The reports for each residents needs to be done ready for when the night nurse comes on duty


                  I think you need to have a certain type of character to be able to do a job like this. You have to be very patience with the residents as many of them are deaf and you have my have to repeat yourself many times before they are able to understand you.

                  You also need to have a strong stomach, if you feel sick at the sight of bowel movements then I would not recommend this job as there is lots to be seen and believe me there can a be strong smell to go with it.

                  A caring nature is also needed, you have to like doing things for people otherwise it will drive you insane because you are forever fetching drinks and taking them to the toilet.

                  The care home that I work for will be putting me forward for NVQ qualifications after I have been working there 6 months. They have also paid to put me through my Food and Hygiene course and the Controlled Medication course. You need both of these before you can prepare food and give out medication.


                  Considering what I had done for the past seven years I can truly say that this is nothing like what I used to do at all and I do enjoy my job. It is such a pleasure to see
                  the residents happy to see you.

                  You cannot put into words the relationship you build up with the residents. Just the same as the social basis you will always have some that you like better but I can say that I get along well with all of the eighteen residents.

                  Many of my family and friends have said, “I don’t know how you can do that!” and I have no reply for them. I am not going to pretend that wiping bottom is the best part of this job but having the resident say thank you for doing it is a reward in itself.

                  Nobody goes into this type of work for the pay, my previous job paid me £21,000 per annum and I now get just over a quarter of that. It is also hard work and you are on your feet all the time, my feet killed me during the first two weeks I was there but I think they are now getting used to it. However the rewards you get from doing this type of work is wonderful and every time I am on duty I have many residents asking when I shall be on duty again. You can have a laugh and a joke with them and some even like to have a cuddle.

                  I was provided with one uniform free of charge but if you want to have more than that you have to buy them yourself, they cost around £30 from new. I have four uniforms and have not paid for any because a friend who had given it up donated the other three.

                  I now have a job that I enjoy and it has been helping me in dealing with people and over coming my shyness, which is not going to disappear overnight but hopefully over time it will.

                  Thanks for reading.


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                    02.11.2005 17:22
                    Very helpful



                    Great job, rilliant job satisfaction, ever changing and never boring!!!

                    Hi I'm Nereesa, I'm 20 and I have been a care Assistant for a little over two years. I work in a 40 bed Nursing home. My clients are Nursing, Residential and sometimes Compassionate Care (terminal).

                    Before I go into more detail about my wonderful job I must emphasise to you that I am not a HCA. I am merely a Care Assistant. The only difference is that I work in a home environment rather than a Hospital. I would have made a product suggestion but the two jobs are basically the same so there's no point.

                    Whenever I tell people that I'm a care assistant I get one of three responses. "So you wipe old folk's bums all day!" or "So you abuse old folk for a living?" or you just get the look. You know the look? Its the one where the person is thinking about all those TV programmes that they've seen about poor old dears in hospitals or homes where the staff are... well you know what I'm raving about. Anyway for the last time IT'S NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL!!!!

                    I am about to go into more detail about my job. Subheading have been used to help you locate the sections that are more relevant to yourself.

                    What qualifications do they need me to have?

                    Well the most important thing would be a shiny CRB. A CRB is basically a background check. This is so that the company you intend to work for can be sure that you have no history of violence. Other things are also covered in your CRB. Things like official disciplinary action from previous jobs and GCSE results and other qualifications. So Don't lie on the application form because you'll be caught out!!! Most companies will pay for your CRB check and they will help you with the forms as they are complicated. They take ages to get back to you so the forms have to be filled in properly first time. If not you could be waiting ages before you are legally allowed to work.

                    The type of work involved means that a carer must be aged at least 18.

                    Other job requirements are having a good grasp of the English language. You must NOT be the sort of person who makes judgements about people by what you see. You can't hold any prejudices whatsoever.

                    Good team working skills are a huge advantage as is a caring attitude. Without this I'm sure you wouldn't enjoy your job at all!!!
                    There are no other qualifications necessary AT THE MOMENT. Rumour has it that at some point in the near future all Care Assistants have to have at least started their NVQ level 2 in Care. This hasn't come into play just yet but it may do within the next 5years.

                    Last thing to mention is that you have to be good at keeping your gob shut. You can not under any circumstances discuss your clients outside work or to people who do not need to know. How would you like it if the young lass who got you washed and dressed this morning went to the pub at the weekend and told everybody that you'd wet the bed??? NOT NICE. Believe it or not this actually happened and the young lass involved got her cards. This doesn't mean that you have to be like MI5 or something but be tactful. If something funny happens at work I do go home and tell my chap about it. BUT I don't mention names or anything that he may connect to, (family's names, where the client lived etc.)

                    I'm an ambitious person.... What if I get Bored?

                    Well being a Care Assistant will give you great experience in the world of care. This can open up opportunities in other Care based professions either on the same skill level or higher. If you are a high flyer you can become a Senior Care Assistant. With further study you can move onto a Nursing degree and become a Nurse. Nurses can then become a deputy manager or a Care Manager. Run your own Nursing Home if you want. It's entirely up to you. It all depends on where you want to go and how much study and hard graft you are prepared to do.

                    A lot of people use caring as a "first rung of the ladder" sort of thing. The pay isn't brilliant as a Care Assistant, its normally about minimum wage. As a result a lot of ambitious people use the experience to take them further.

                    Myself, I have just applied for my Nursing Degree. Once I get that I'll figure out what to do next but I think I'd like to work in a home environment. I like my job!!!

                    What bits of paper can I get?

                    Well that depends on the individual company. I have been offered everything going. I've done my.....
                    NVQ Level 1 in catering and hospitality,
                    NVQ level2 in Care,
                    Health and Safety,
                    Fire Safety,
                    Heath and Hygiene,
                    Tackling Abuse,
                    Care of Vulnerable Adults,
                    Behaviour Management,
                    First Aid,
                    Aggression Management,
                    Wound care,
                    AND Pressure care

                    All that lot in 2years and I haven't paid a penny!!! The company I work for paid for the whole lot! I have been offered the opportunity to do my NVQ Level3 in care which would enable me to apply for a senior Care Assistant's job (20p wage rise and lots of extra work).

                    What's the job like?

                    I work in a Nursing Home. That means that we have clients who have Nursing needs although we do have Residential clients too. The other kinds of home environment would be Residential homes i.e. residential clients only, there are no Nursing staff required. Or an E.M.I. This is a very specific type of home environment designed for the Elderly Mentally Infirm.

                    A Nursing client is someone who needs more assistance and more specifically the assistance of a qualified Nurse. Perhaps they may be have diabetes which has to be monitored, they may need a lot of assistance to mobilise, things like that.
                    A residential client needs minimal assistance. they may be basically independent with the exception of cooking or remembering to take pills etc.

                    You will need to be trained in all aspects of your job during your first 2weeks of employment. This will include-
                    -Safe use of equipment (i.e. hoists, dishwasher, blah de blah)
                    -Safe work practices (how to assist clients)
                    -Basic infection control (wash your hands all the time)
                    -Basic fire, manual handling, rules and procedures etc
                    There is an awful lot to learn in these 2weeks and this short list is not comprehensive. All the little things like the differences between a right and left sided stroke will come with time. As a result you should be monitored until you feel competent in your job. If you are ever unsure of anything you MUST not be afraid to ask.

                    Well then. What do I do all day?
                    Let's take today for an example.
                    I got up at 6am to get ready, very early eh! However I finished at 2.30pm so now I get all afternoon to play out...or write a review!

                    Anyway I got to work, had a cuppa, caught up with my colleagues and then started work at 7.30. First thing is report. The Nurse in charge of the last shift always gives a report of each resident to keep us all up to date with what's going on with our clients.

                    After report the carers (me and my mates)start getting the clients ready for the day. The home is split up into different groups and the Senior carer assigns the staff an area to work on.
                    The carer is required to give each client MINIMAL assistance. This doesn't mean that we leave the clients to their own devices. We are basically encouraging each individual to be as independent as possible. We assist clients to wash and dress, comb hair, rinse dentures.... you know what I mean. It's all the stuff you do for yourself on a morning. (All us young un's should throw a set of dentures and a hearing aid into the procedure!!!)

                    When a client is ready for breakfast I take them down to the dining room or fetch it up to their room. This decision is up to the client normally, unless in extreme circumstances. Take for instance the runs. (Spreads like wildfire...BELIEVE)

                    If the client needs assistance to eat their cornflakes I'll do this. If they don't then I move onto the next client.

                    After all the clients have been fed and watered I get to do as I please (within reason) until toileting time. This time is usually spent playing games with the residents, doing their nails and other odd jobs for them or just socialising with "Client X,Y and Z" in the smoke room so I can have a fag and a giggle about his/her "antics of youthdom!"

                    Before Lunch each client is given the opportunity to use the loo. Some may require assistance which is where I come in. The Assistance given depends on the client and yes some bum wiping may be involved.

                    LUNCH TIME!!!! All clients are fed and watered again. Medications are administered by the Nurse...again and after that all clients are sat where they want to be sat and ready for the afternoon. Some clients like to have a nap or sit quietly in their rooms until tea time or whenever they want really. The rest of the clients pick a nice spot in front of one of the tellies or next to the radio.

                    The time between Lunch and tea is again spent doing odd jobs or helping out in the kitchen. At 2pm the Evening staff have report and at around 2:30 the grafting begins again.
                    The evening staff take over and complete any jobs that the morning staff haven't finished. Any clients wishing to get up out of bed for tea are assisted to do so. The remainder of the time up until 3:30 is spent trying to look busy!!!
                    At about 3:30 allot of the clients start needing to "spend a penny before tea" (toilet call). When this bit's over with the clients are settled down in the dining room for tea. Much the same as Lunch and breakfast, assistance is given where necessary.

                    After tea the staff begin assisting clients to bed. It may sound stupid to you but when you're in your 80's and it gets to tea time you sometimes need your bed! Clients are assisted to get ready for bed. (much the same as getting up...except backwards)

                    Other clients who choose to park their bums in one of the lounges are made settled and reasonably happy before staff have their tea.

                    After the staff have had their breaks the laundry gets caught up on, suppers are prepared and more odd jobs are done.

                    At supper time (7:30), all clients are offered a choice of drink and snack which care staff prepare and serve. All clients in the building are checked on. This checking involves changing continence pads, turning over clients to prevent pressure sores.... Generally just maintaining the client's overall comfort and safety.

                    After supper some other clients usually want to go to bed. Completing this normally takes us up to the end of the shift at 9pm.

                    I have never worked a night shift so I cant really make detailed comments. What I do know is that the remaining clients are assisted to bed. Two hourly checks on all clients and a bit of cleaning and laundry are done. At 6am clients who wish to do so are helped to get up.

                    The job includes other things such as filling in the care sheets. (what you have helped each client to do), Turn charts and Fluid or diet charts (records).

                    Stop jabbering lass and sum up will ya!

                    Overall then I love my job. The people I work with are happy in their job and there is a lovely atmosphere. Everybody is so supportive and helpful. There are brilliant job prospects if you are willing to go the extra mile. My clients are literally amazing people. They have so much to say about life and can be soooo cute sometimes! We're not supposed to "get attached" to our clients but we do. I think this is a part of what gives me such great job satisfaction.

                    I hope you didn't fall asleep reading this lot because I've really gone on a bit...never mind eh! Another insight into the wonderful world of me!


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