CARE SUPPORT: REFLECTIVE REPORT
Providing care support is a well-known phenomenon that requires several skills of the care provider. It is important for a care supporter to develop the skills and knowledge in order to provide effective care to the clients in a safe and hygienic environment. This particular report aims to reflect on the personal learner record that has been accounted from the experience of working as a personal care supporter for older people under voluntary service of a renowned care home that provides care support for elderly people. The report aims to provide an reflection of relationships with the client and his relatives that I worked for along with that the interpersonal issues that I faced during my role as a care supporter. In order to understand my effectiveness as a care worker, my strength and weaknesses have been recorded along with the feedback that was received during the process.
Roles, responsibilities and entitlement of a care worker
The roles and responsibilities of a care worker can be categorized as;
- To observe and monitor patients actively in a regular and consistent basis
- To keep a track of the basic conditions of the patient for instance pulse, temperature, respiration etc
- To interact with the relatives and previous care workers prior to the patient
- To provide active assistance to other clinical responsibilities 
- To provide personalized care to the patients for instance effective prevention of infections, commanding the staple diet coupled with maintenance of individual hygiene and subjective safety, comfort and reassurance
- To promote positive and effective health of the patients both in terms of nutrition and psyche
- To order supplies and check the corresponding allocation of the resources
Role of a care worker within the multidisciplinary healthcare team
A care giver has to work in diverse work situations that requires ability to work effectively in a team. It is important for a care supporter to be a good team player because medical help is associated with several departments. Different people are assigned with different job roles that are associated with effective care of patients. Therefore, it is important to have effective communication among the members of the team in order to avoid any possible confusion and errand of information, which might lead to medical hazard of a patient. In order to serve a patient effectively it is important for the healthcare teams of an organization to work collaboratively to avoid miscommunication  .
Relationships with clients, relatives, members of the healthcare team
The moot objective of a care supporter is to effectively support a patient and provide necessary care . In order to understand the individual needs of a patient it is important to maintain a cordial and professional relationship with the client and his relatives. As I worked as a care supporter of Mr. O’Niel who is more than 80 years of age, it was important to understand his care needs in order to provide necessary care and support. Mr. O’ Niel is a patient of vascular dementia with a history of stroke. He was admitted two months ago and I was allocated to provide necessary care to him.
- Relationship with client: As it was noted that the patient is suffering from vascular dementia and forgetting important things that included misplacing money, I tried to communicate with him cordially. Simple conversations were used in order to make him comfortable with my acquaintance. It is an important factor in providing support to elderly people, that the care supporter is polite and tolerant . It is important to communicate with the patient so that he can share his problems and issues with the care provider. In order to understand his needs as a patient of dementia, I opted for regular conversations with him, rather than enquiring him. Enquiring an elderly patient often makes him conscious of his disease. At the primary stage, he was reluctant but within a few days, he started sharing his problems from which his care needs were identified. As it was identified, having vascular dementia had emotional, psychological and social impact on him. He began to become aloof and was reluctant to communicate. It was important as a care supporter to make him feel valued and important. As it was noted apart from experiencing memory difficulties and problems with thinking, he was also facing the following problems:
- Loss of self-esteem
- Loss of confidence
- Loss of autonomy
- Problems with social roles and responsibilities 
Despite of the mentioned problems, it was important for me to help him in retaining his abilities. In order to do so and to make him feel better I established a good understanding with him. In order make him respond effectively to his external background, I started to build an emotional relationship with him.
- Relationship with the relatives: Mr. O’Niel has a niece who visited him on a daily basis. She is the only relative I came across. I had a professional relationship with her. I greeted her every time she visited and shared his scrutiny reports with her. I discussed the issues that he was facing with her niece and asked her regarding any ambiguities with his previous medical report. His patient details were collected in details verbally from her which I recorded in order to provide acute care to him. The details included his personal details for instance his likes and dislikes, hobbies as well as his food habit as a elderly person. His niece shared the necessary details with me and was tolerant to answer my questions.
- Relationship with members of the healthcare team: As I was providing voluntary service to the healthcare organization, I maintained professional relationship with the members of the healthcare team. In order to facilitate the recovery process of Mr. O’Niel I got hold of the medical details and the patient history from the previous care giver. Apart from that I also communicated with the nurses who diagnose him in order to check his medical needs and medicines. Apart from that, in order to ensure that he gets the necessary food and supplements that suits his needs, I also contacted the food service department and the health care team was professional with me and helped with my requirements and pleas regarding Mr. O’Niel.
In a healthcare team several people come together who are of different origins, perspectives and cultural backgrounds  . I recorded several issues regarding communication in the care giving organization I was working in. The issues are recorded as follows:
- Interpersonal issues with the client: As Mr. O’Niel is a patient of vascular dementia he was forgetful of many events and he could not remember or recollect the conversations he previously had with other members in the care giving team, including me. There was no issue faced regarding the language as both of us used English for verbal communication. The issues that I faced was due to his age, as an eighty years old, he could not clearly utter the sentences and used to communicate in broken words. Most of the time he used to convey his needs and feelings through mumbling. The problems gradually decreased as I started understanding his needs. The initial days were difficult as he was reluctant to respond and to communicate with me. Then with regular conversations and identifying his care needs routine and trends, communication becam easier.
- Interpersonal issues with family: As I did not have any conversation apart from Mr. O’Niel’s niece who was the only visitor in the care home, I could not communicate with any other family member of him. As far as his niece is concerned, initially I was intimidated to have a conversation with her. However, as she used to visit Mr. O’Niel regularly gradually I could communicate effectively with her. However, she does not speak English as first language. Therefore, the conversation was not initiating fluently with her and I also could not understand her pronunciation and therefore, asked her to repeat her words. In order to understand her words clearly I started to note it down so that I could comprehend and understand it later.
- Interpersonal issues with the members: The care-giving centre I volunteered for had a large number of employees who are from different cultural backgrounds. The care giving centre that I worked for promotes cultural diversity in the workplace. Therefore, there were several people who are from different ethnic backgrounds and nationality. Apart from that several interns and trainees who are not from Ireland were working for the organization. The cultural dimension that I noticed was remarkable but I faced communication errands because of the cultural gap. Because of the cultural gap a shift was present from the values and beliefs that I have. For instance, the previous care supporter of Mr. O’Niel was from Indonesia. For the cultural gap I found it difficult at the initial stage to communicate with him effectively.
The working experience as a voluntary care supporter helped me in understanding my own strength and weaknesses as a care supporter. In order to understand the areas that requires improvement, a SWOT analysis on self was conducted by me. The process of SWOT was influenced by the opinions of the other care givers, the client and his relative. A feedback process was conducted in order to evaluate my own performance as a care supporter. The strengths and weaknesses that I identified within me are listed below.
|Strength ||Weaknesses |
- Ability to communicate with elderly people effectively
- Ability to understand the individual care needs without interrogating the patients
- Ability to make an elderly patient comfortable
- Ability to listen in order to know a person better
- Ability to treat elderly patients with respect and dignity
- Ability to effectively work in a healthcare team
- Ability to follow the required rules in the process of providing support and care
- Good observation skills
- Have a positive attitude towards clients and co-workers
- Ability to motivate elderly people to become independent
- Feeling conscious prior to speaking someone of the higher authority
- Inability to understand different languages
- Inability to manage a schedule for the patient
- Slow response towards training
- Less emotional strength to handle terminally ill people
- Inability to remain calm in emergency situations
- Inability to communicate with a variety of audience
- Less stamina foe which I could not work long hours without any rest
- Lack of expertise in handling smart technological medical equipments
- Less self awareness
- Lack of diplomacy in the body language
As I served the period of voluntary service in the care giving centre, I asked my patient for feedback. As he is a dementia patient he could not understand clearly regarding the feedback I asked for. In order to understand much effective a care giver I am, I asked him several questions regarding my care towards him. Along with him I also asked his niece and the team members in order to understand their remarks and views regarding my care providing. From their cumulative remarks I developed the strengths and weaknesses that underlie in myself. As per the strengths and the weaknesses I found several areas that requires improvement and they are:
- It is important to improve my communication skills in order to effectively serve as a care supporter. Communication skills need to be sound in order to effectively work as a care supporter because this profession demands communication with people from different language and cultural backgrounds  .
- It is important for me develop my tolerance in order to be more empathetic towards the elderly patients that I care for. Caring for elderly people and understanding their needs require strong tolerant level as several times one needs to repeat himself as elderly people loss their comprehension skill with ageing.
- It is important to be confident and have conviction in order to motivate the elderly people to be independent. I need to be more confident in order to be motivating and inspiring.
Observations on the experience
- Experience of receiving guidance: As performed the voluntary service as a care supporter to an elderly patient, I received direction and guidance from different people in the organization.
- Firstly, the higher authority guided me to be empathetic towards the person I was appointed for and they also forbade me to intervene in his regular medical schedule. They also directed me to maintain proper hygiene and I was given a set of uniform that was mandatory to wear in the work premises. Apart from that I received a guideline regarding maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness in the room in which I was appointed to.
- Secondly, I received several important guidelines from the previous care worker who used to provide care and support to Mr. O’Niel. He guided me regarding his medical history. Apart from that he also informed me about Mr. O’Niel’s nature and his behaviours as well as his habits.
- The other members of the team including the medical help team and the nurses directed me with several things that I need to do in order to effectively care for a person with special care needs.
- As I was appointed for an elderly patient who is subjected to vascular Dementia, I was directed to be patient, empathetic and responsive.
- I was guided by the nurse to take account of his diet and the number of times he is given dietary supplements and medicines, as he is forgetful.
- The higher authority of the organization directed me to follow the rules carefully and to maintain professional relationship with the patient.
- Mr. O’Neil’s niece directed me to inform her of his sudden discomfort and also asked me to inform the doctor as soon as I notice any changes in his facial expression because he went through a stroke before.
- Feedback process: I initiated a feedback process in order to understand my work as well as the improvement of the patient. Four feedback forms were developed which were filled by four different authorities. The first feedback form was filled by the patient, second form was filled by his niece, third was filled by one of the team members and fourth was filled by me regarding the improvement of the patient that I noticed at the end of my voluntary service.
- Form 1
|1. Did you feel comfortable due to my presence?||a. yes|
|2. Was I consistent in supporting your needs?||a. yes|
|3. Did you feel motivated to socialize after our encounter?||a. yes|
|4. Was I available every time you wanted something?||a. yes|
|5. Did you feel ashamed or uncomfortable sharing your needs or problems with me?||a. yes|
|6. Do you feel yourself to be motivated enough to become self-dependent?||a. yes|
|7. Could you communicate with me without any communicational gap?||a. yes|
|Questions ||Options ||Responses |
|1. Are you satisfied with my care and support to the patient?||a. yes|
|2. Did you notice any uncomforting factors in my behaviour to the patient? ||a. yes|
|3. Did I disturb you with unnecessary queries?||a. yes|
|4. Are you satisfied with my care and support to the patient?||a. yes|
|5. Was I competent enough in notifying you with the details of the patient?||a. yes|
|6. Would you hire me if I were a professional personal care provider of an elderly patient?||a. yes|
|7. Did I informed you with the necessary details of the patient’s activities?||a. yes|
It is important for a caregiver and supporter to maintain confidentiality regarding the details of the client in order mitigate possible security hazards. It is important to maintain the privacy regarding the information of the client and not to intervene in the privacy and the dignity of the client. For that, it is important not to disclose any personal information of the patient without his or her permission  . The report does not disclose any information without the consent of the patient and his family.
Structures of the health service
A health service organization is consisted of different departments and every department has personnel with required expertise. The organization I volunteered for has a flat organizational structure which is effective for health care organizations. Every department has required expertise and the medical team is effective in providing care for elderly people. The organization has adapted a structure that allows it to have several teams that deal with different health issues. For instance, it has a team for elderly care, a team for people suffering from dementia and many more. This structure helps the patients to avail expert care and necessary attention in accordance with the individual care needs of the patients.
Working as a voluntary care supporter has helped me to gain necessary experience that is required in order to serve as an effective healthcare and support provider. As I was assigned to provide care to an elderly patient, it helped me to develop required compassion and empathy as a support giver. Providing care and support to elderly people demands observational skills and patience  . The most important factor is to inspire and motivate the elderly patient to be independent without hampering heir dignity. I have learned my own strengths and weaknesses as a care provider and it has helped me to a great extent to develop my professional support providing skills especially to the elderly people. It has facilitated my development as a care provider and also helped me to learn from practical workplace experience. In the light of the above study, it can be concluded that in order to perform the role of an expert health care service provider the most important thing is to be a good listener in order to identify the individual care needs of a person.