Good evening everyone. How are you all doing tonight? A while back I started working back in the care sector. One day in particular or more so a comment stuck out. A woman who doesn’t know me simply called me and I quote ‘an overpaid arse wiper’. She has asked me about my job.
This woman has clearly never needed the help of support work. Never pushed a wheelchair or held someones hand as they break down. And I hope she never needs us. The work a support worker does is invaluable in many ways other than just PC. (PC means personal care)
Allow me to break down what we do.
- We protect people’s dignity. So yes that means full PC support if they require the aid or prompting. (We can shower ourselves with ease they may find it difficult) Sometimes it can be messy but we always do what we can to protect the people we support.
- Help with the care of themselves. Medication, finance and social support. Not in all cases but some if they don’t have the capacity to do so. Capacity is the ability to make decsions for ourselves. We assist them with everyday tasks and always offer encouragememt. Things that people take for granted.
- Support workers are sometimes the ONLY people our services see. And sometimes the only reason they have a social life.
- We fill the void in our services lives. We become a family extension in a way. Why? Let me put this simply……..some families and friends don’t care. They cut contact with the service user. Not all families/friends do this but enough do. And that can be very difficult to deal with. It leaves them upset, confused and hurt. And we as support workers slowly become that family. We also take the anger and confusion that can be thrown at us to.
- We support workers at times can deal with serious mental health problems, conditions and other health problems. From dealing with emotional break downs, seizures, falls, all the way to physical violence. (Thats a rare case but it can happen) Staff support each other and also try to defuse and calm any situation quickly for the protection of our service’s.
- We face challenges. Communicating with someone who is non verbal, a person with no capacity or a person who refuses to eat. Each challenge is difficult but we work towards them in a way that helps our service.
- We aid in making calls for appointments. Doctors, dentists etc. At the same time we monitor our service’s health. Basically checking a wound, eating habits and flagging things up that might be a cause for concern. For exmaple, a service who has a mixed relationship with food suddenly stops eating. It could be that they’re ill, it might be something more serious or they may have a history of an eating disorder. We raise these issues and then find ways a working round them. Encouraging to eat smaller amounts of food at regular intervals, perhaps liquizading their food or more fatty foods.
- We constantly have to know what’s going on around us when with a service. We have to be aware of everything. Can that car horn cause aniexty? How can I reduce the stress of any changes made to their daily routine? Can not go in their cause of the light’s. It triggers their seizure’s! These are just some of the thought’s that we can have. Each one will be difficult depending on the service’s individual needs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of some of the things we do. Support workers give emotional, physical, mental and social support on a daily basis. We are more than just ‘arse wipers’ we do so much more than that. We help people. We aid people. We support people whom many forget about. We encourage individuality and confidence whenever we can.
It’s a joy to be a support worker. It is difficult and stressful. But damn is it rewarding.