This is the first in our series of interviews with care workers in the at-risk homes. They tell us why they do their job, and what makes it all worthwhile.
Why do you work in residential care?
I enjoy not only helping the people I am looking after, but being able to support their families too. I know how important my role is; a family is trusting me to care for one of their most precious relatives. I like to think when they walk out the door they are sure that – whether they are present or not – their family member is getting the best of care. I look after anyone in my care in the manner I would like my mum or dad to be cared for. I think doing this I cannot go wrong.
How do you think Glen Lee and Holcroft House make a difference to residents and their families?
Here’s a day-to-day example. I recently admitted and discharged a gentleman who came in for respite at Glen Lee. His wife also has a son with learning disabilities that she cares for as well as her husband. His wife confided in me that she was very tired as her husband got up a lot in the night and would wander around the house not knowing his way back to bed, and this resulted in her not getting much rest in the evening or sleep at night.
…the respite in the private sector they had accessed prior to this visit has not been successful. On one visit the daughter had ended up doing his care as he looked unkempt and very unhappy, asking when he was coming home.
His daughter said she often takes her dad out during the day when she can to give her mum a break, and it sounded like they had a giggle when they went out together. I could tell he was a very loved husband and dad.
She told me that the respite in the private sector they had accessed prior to this visit has not been successful. On one visit the daughter had ended up doing his care as he looked unkempt and very unhappy, asking when he was coming home. She said that one respite visit they cut short.
His family said that when he was in Glen Lee, and they came to visit or bring his belongings, he was always engaged, talking to staff or other residents, and he looked content.
They said that they could look forward to their next break without all the worry beforehand.
What options do you have if Glen Lee and Holcroft House close?
I would end up working part-time outside the council, as I am also a carer for my elderly father.
What would you like the council to do to help Glen Lee and Holcroft House stay open?
I think the Council could help the homes stay open by working closely with the NHS. With all the issues around bed blocking and the cost of private care the service could expand what it delivers and still be cost effective in partnership with the NHS.
Hands off our Homes is a joint campaign between UNISON and Unite the union.
If you would like to get involved in the campaign or want more information, email UNISON Southampton District Branch on firstname.lastname@example.org or Unite Southampton and West Hants Branch on email@example.com
Alternatively, please call UNISON on 02380 832740 or Unite on 02380 834327.
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