As the CEO of Southcare I recently had the great opportunity of spending the day with one of the Southcare Support Workers Cathy, who has over 25 years’ experience working in the Aged Care sector. I took on the role of being a new support worker and Cathy was my mentor/buddy.
The day started at 7am, our first client was a lady who lives alone, is just over 90 years of age and needed assistance with personal care and meal preparation. As a support worker you really are in a very privileged relationship with the client. They let us into their homes, they allow us to support them in their personal care needs and they share with us their lives, both the present and their past. How wonderful it was to see their vast array of photos, their personal possessions that are dear to them. The history, their life stories, the wonders of their children, grandchildren, past pets and pastimes.
As I took in all this information about the client, I also thought about how professional Cathy was in engaging with the client whilst checking their care plans, remembering all the little details about each of the clients ‘special ways’ and various needs. The role was busy, varied, rewarding and energising. Cathy was held in high regard by the client’s, they liked her warmth, her humour and her pragmatic approach.
Over 50% of Southcare’s clients are over 80 years of age and many are quite frail and live alone. Cathy’s ability to pace herself in line with the client’s needs and desires was inspiring to experience. That balance between times constraints of each client’s service, yet not rushing the client so they feel like a burden.
Client centric support workers are the foundation of Southcare’s business – excellent client care is given when support workers love what they are doing. We are clear about having engaged employees. We know we need to ensure we employ the right people who are customers focused and look after them. We support our support workers, both physically and emotionally. The right resources, rewards, recognition, equipment, communication, learning and training will enable us to keep on providing excellent client care and support.