Case Study: Katrina Ritchie - Wife, Mother, Care Worker and Mentor

Photograph: Carrol Smith, Area Coordinator, and Katrina Ritchie with Zillah who we care for; Zillah just loves them both.

5.45am Start of the working day, up and ready to go!

6.15am Walk dogs, I’ve got 2 Shiatsu’s who will walk for ages if you let them, they never seem to wear out.

6.50am I start the journey to the first service user, it will only take five minutes but I like to set off in plenty of time, you never know what the traffic is going to be like, if I’m late the service users would worry where I am and certain parts of my duties like prompting medication need to happen at a certain time.

7.00 – 7.30am I go into the service users home using the key out of the key safe, say my good mornings as I’m going in, the lady is already up and dressed, a right early bird, I prompt and observe medication being taken, make a cuppa, tidy kitchen all while we’re busy chatting, in no time I’m off and I then make my way to my next service user.

7.45 to 8.15am I assist the next service user up and out of bed, her husband has let me in so there has been another round of good mornings, a shower routine carried out and then I help the lady to get dressed and put her support stockings on, help her down to breakfast, have quick chat before I leave as her husband has made the breakfast while we’ve been busy.

8.40 to 9.10am I meet up with the second carer as this service user is a double up call which means that 2 carers are required to carry out all the care tasks safely, for us and for the service user, we enter the service users home together using a key of the key safe. We wake up the lady gently and gently deliver full personal care taking care and time so we keep the lady comfy; we apply support stockings and dress the lady in comfy clothes. We get the lady up using a stand aid, assist with oral hygiene once the lady is sitting up once we have made her comfortable in an easy chair, again while chatting. Breakfast and a cup of tea next before we move on.

9.15 to 10.00am I assist with next service user with personal care, dress, apply prescribed creams before putting support stockings on, I make a cuppa and breakfast and plate up a snack for later, I give the kitchen a quick tidy and put the washer on while we chat.

10.05 to 10.35am I help the next gentleman with his shower routine, creams are applied, I help with dressing, chatting way, a cuppa is made and kitchen tidied, as he has made a simple breakfast for himself earlier this morning.

10.45 to 11.45am I sit with the next service user for one hour, we chat while we make a cuppa together and a snack, providing company is such an important part of our job, we talk about times gone by as well as times to come, I listen to tales about friends and family, I know if something is wrong or if my service users are upset, because I have got to know them over time.

12.00 to 12.15pm This service user likes micro meals, so one is chosen and a cuppa is made, medication is prompted and observed being taken, we have a good chat, wash up and the kitchen is tidied together.

12.15 to 12.30pm the second service user is at the same address, I make up another micro meal they choose, tidy up again and keep on chatting.

12.30pm Finished for now, head home, have a cuppa myself and a bit of lunch; then I do my own housework as well! But I do have time for half an hour watching the telly with my feet up.

3.15pm I’m off out to pick up my kids from school.

4.00pm Got home with the kids, they are 9 and 14 years old now made tea and spent some time with my family, usually it’s setting them off with their homework and having a catch up.

6.00pm Back out to work, so I travel to my first service user.

6.15 to 6.30pm Visit service user, prompt medication and observe it being taken, make a cuppa and a snack and have a quick chat, the evening shift is more about settling people, making them feel clean, comfortable and relaxed and ready for the end of the day.

6.40 to 7.10pm Visit service users home, this service user is looked after in bed, I provide personal care to freshen her up, change pad, and empty her urinary catheter bag, I make her comfortable and have a chat with her and her family when I have finished.

7.20 to 7.50pm Visit service user, have a chat and make a cuppa and a snack, wash up and make the kitchen tidy, empty the rubbish bins and put the washer on and empty the drier.

7.50 to 8.20pm Second service user at the same address, already had a cuppa and snack with the first service user, I help them up to the bedroom, assist on to the commode, provide personal care and get them ready for bed, and put a pad in place for overnight and make comfortable, I attach a night bag to the urinary catheter, prompt and observe the medication being taken, and make sure they have everything they will need to hand for overnight. I make sure that I give the commode a good clean before I leave.

8.30 to 9.00pm Visit service user, help upstairs using a stair lift, assist with oral care and then personal care, into night clothes and into bed, make comfy and attach night bag to urinary catheter, leave a drink to hand and a chat.

9.50 to 10.20pm Visit service user, this lady is already in bed, give her a cuppa and a snack then tidy the kitchen, wash up and prepare things for the morning. We have a chat while I make them comfortable for the night.

10.25 to 10.55hrs Last call of the shift, help the service user into their night ware, freshen up and provide some personal care, pop a clean pad in and make them comfy in their easy chair as they prefer to stay up later and watch a bit of telly. I make a cuppa and a snack, tidy the kitchen and put the rubbish out.

10.55pm I journey home and get a good night’s sleep, so I’m ready for another full day tomorrow.

I have worked for Bellcare for 4 years and even though some days can be tiring, like the one I’ve just had it is a rewarding and fulfilling career.

I have gained extra qualifications through work and I can still progress and achieve much more. I have got to say the one of the most important things for me, that I take away at the end of the day, is the job satisfaction I get and knowing that I have helped our service users remain in their own homes, where they want more than ever to be.