Amanda Brooks’ story
I work for Brunelcare as a Reablement Worker, in our South Gloucestershire Community Services team based in Kingswood, Bristol.
Working in care was prompted by the need to change my career. My previous job as an ice-skating coach and trainer came to an end when Bristol closed its city centre ice rink.
In my efforts to find a completely new job, I looked at a Government website one day and saw an advert for a Reablement Worker. I didn’t know what the job title meant but was inspired by it – discovering that it was a care role helping people rehabilitate at home after a stay in hospital. I decided I could really see myself in the role! So, I applied to Brunelcare to be one of their Reablement Workers. I found the application process very smooth. After the interview, I was told I had exactly the qualities they were looking for and have been a Reablement Worker for five years now.
The aspect of my job that I most enjoy is simply the fact that I am helping people regain their skills, to live independently.
In most cases I will only be assisting people for about six weeks, generally after a stay in hospital. It is very rewarding to help someone regain their confidence, to help them find new ways to cope with everyday tasks themselves, reaching a stage where their independence has been regained without further need for care visits.
One of the highlights of my care career is the satisfying transfer of my skills to a new profession. I am still using my coaching and training skills helping people achieve more than they thought they could. I also love hearing the stories people have to tell as I get to know them and their family whilst providing their support. And just seeing small changes in people, and their increased confidence, can be the most rewarding thing when it makes such a huge difference to someone’s daily life.
Working with Brunelcare I can also continue seeing some of those I cared for in Reablement when they move into longer-term community care; as our care team also provides that longer-term ‘Community Services’ home care. I occasionally cover those care shifts too.
My daily work often entails teaching someone new ways to look after themselves, reminding someone that ‘they can do it’. For example, a gentleman who had become partially sighted needed gentle encouragement from me, finding new ways to arrange his bathroom in such a way that he could wash and get ready for the day himself. He needed plenty of very practical, encouraging suggestions to get him to the point where he could manage and care confidently for himself. It was extremely satisfying to see his confidence gradually return over the weeks I helped him rehabilitate, within his own home.
My advice to people trying to find work in care is – don’t be put off by what you hear! Search online and read the online reviews for the company you are looking to join. Also, don’t be afraid of actually trying out the work to see how you get on! The job is very much about using your initiative, being highly self-motivated, being assertive and caring in appropriate measures, and feeling at ease with people from all walks of life. You do need to be able to ‘think on the spot’ but if you need complex support, at Brunelcare you know your colleagues are only one phone call away.
Working as a Reablement Worker, or Community Carer i.e. providing care to people in their own homes, is highly skilled work. Working so closely with people means you can often find yourself in challenging and demanding situations. My work draws on multiple skills, some of which require specific training e.g. Care Certificate training, manual handling skills training. But in my case I can see that I have also been able to transfer many of the key skills that I acquired in my previous role as a trainer, such as coaching, communication and motivational techniques – and working with people. I have thrived in my role with Brunelcare because I have also been able to develop my skills by putting myself forward for new opportunities that arise in the team. Recently I have put myself forward and completed training as a Medication Assessor and Manual Handling Trainer. I now visit three of Brunelcare’s extra-care housing sites to provide manual handling training to our other care teams.
I do my job because I want to do it. I chose my new career in care. It is highly challenging at times, but rewarding in equal measures.
I feel strongly that the profession needs to stand up more for itself. Also that we all need to grasp the fact that people who require care do want to do things for themselves, and that is how we should all approach the support we provide that person with – friends, family and care teams alike. It’s important to stress that the work is highly skilled and that the best carers are undoubtedly the more adaptable, patient and self-motivated people amongst us.
Changes I’d like to see in the future care profession? Better integration between the health support services. For example, for social workers to develop a better knowledge of what community carers do, and vice versa, so that we can provide exactly the right care for the individual and not just ‘work to a particular contract’.
For me, it keeps coming back to genuinely treating someone (the person you provide care to) as an individual.