What does a usual day look like for you?I have my own caseload of 28 service users. I manage my own time and I manage my own diary under the guidance of my clinical team leader. My diary is booked up three to four weeks ahead of time, and I usually do between four and six visits a day where I visit people in their homes.
I have functional patients as well as dementia patients, and sometimes I will visit people in care homes. Visiting people in care homes usually involves checking a person’s medication, ensuring the medication they’re on is correct, and that there are no adverse side effects. So on a daily basis it’s just about visiting people in their own homes and supporting them really.
What made you want to work for the Trust?The honest answer is the fact that my father was a service user, and has been a service user for most of his adult life. He was actually admitted onto Tennyson Ward when that was open at Chatterton House, and I just really loved the care he got. Seeing him recover from his episode of depression made me think that this was a place that I really wanted to work.
I’ve always worked with over-65s – always worked in dementia care – so I had 23 years’ experience looking after older people, and just thought I’d like to get into the functional side. So I applied for a job and I got it!
What parts of your job do you find the most rewarding?I think… all of it! I’m a social person, I like going to peoples’ homes. I like the fact that I get to know the family and can build a rapport with the family – especially when I’m community based. I like the fact that people feel they can trust me and ask me questions. And my voice is actually heard, which makes you really feel like part of the team.
You need to be part of the team working in the community and the team leader and lead professional need to trust you and what you do. I like the fact that people listen to my voice. And also, dealing with people and getting people settled and well again – especially the functional patients.
What’s the most challenging part of your role?I think time. Time can be a massive challenge. I’m working towards my Assistant Practitioner qualification, and that means that I spend each Friday studying towards that.
Also myself and a colleague set up a post-diagnostic group which is for people newly-diagnosed with dementia, and that takes up half a day each week. Plus we have team meetings which take up another half-day each week.
So it’s just time really – it can be really difficult to see as many people as you’d like to see in a day. But it keeps me busy and it keeps me out of trouble!
What’s it like living in East Anglia?East Anglia’s cool. I mean, I’ve lived in King's Lynn nearly all of my life. You’re close to everything – you’re only a short train journey away from London Kings Cross. Norwich is only about an hour away, and Hunstanton is only 15 minutes away.
It’s great – everyone should come and live in East Anglia!
What advice have you got for people who might be thinking of joining us as a Clinical Support Worker?Just go for it. The opportunities are fantastic, and you get lots and lots of training which people encourage you to sign up for.
Especially here at Chatterton House, whether you’re working in Adult DIST (Dementia Intensive Support Team) or DCLL (Dementia & Complexity in Later Life), we all know each other and it’s a really good family network.
So I would say definitely, give it a go. And you get six weeks’ holiday!