A day in the life of a Care Assistant - Keri Livingstone

Tell us a bit about your job, what do you like most about it and what are the challenges?

I’ve been working at Leuchie for 4 years and before that I worked in care in the community. What I love about working here is that my job is situated in one place, I’m not travelling around constantly. It’s nice to see returning guests, you build up relationships and friendships with them over time. The backup of colleagues here is great. Having a nurse on hand is so reassuring. In the community you’re on your own and it can be daunting so it’s really supportive in that respect. Surprisingly you also get lots of support from guests. When they show you their appreciation you feel like you’re really doing something worthwhile. And you notice the change in people. Sometimes when a guest first comes here they’re quite in on themselves and down. Over the years I’ve worked here I’ve seen that what they gain from a break at Leuchie continues beyond our walls; they come back with more confidence and happier and often with more independence. Guests have said ‘People see me as a person when I’m here’. And I’ve seen guests cry when leaving – that speaks volumes!

Keri and regular guest Iain in the activities room

The saddest part of working here is the opposite of the happiest part and that is of course that you do see the deterioration of people. And if it's been a busy day it can get you very stressed. You want to make sure you’re giving someone the upmost in care and attention and if you’re really busy it’s stressful rushing about trying to give everyone 100%, but the team go above and beyond and help each other out during busy periods.

It’s not easy. It’s physically and mentally tiring. But it really is worth it. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Something unique to Leuchie is that you have every other weekend off from Friday at 1pm, to recharge. That’s unusual in the care sector.

A brilliant perk of working here is that Leuchie has put me through my SVQ II. I hope to do my SVQ III. I’m forever learning on my job too, learning about new conditions all the time. For example, FND is a new condition that I learnt about recently.

What does your average day look like?

No two days are the same. Some days are really full on and some days you can relax with a guest and play connect 4 but the routine structure is the same each day…

Morning Shift

7.10am – I arrive at Leuchie, get changed and grab a coffee.

7.30am – Handover. We learn about which guests we’re looking after that morning.

8.00am – Start. Because our care is guest centred there is no set time for them getting up. A guest can get up and ready when they like! When it is time we help them wash, help with oral care, shave, do their hair, and get dressed, all whilst promoting independence. We then handover to the breakfast staff in our dining room, who socialise with them and offer meal assist care too. Unless they want breakfast in bed! After breakfast we are led by the guest. They can choose to join in one of our many activities, or therapies, explore the grounds, go on and outing, watch TV, read a book or just rest. It's so social here - the guests quickly make friends so that's nice.

Afternoon Shift

2.30pm – Handover.

3.00pm - Again, this time is free time and led by the guest.

5.00pm – Dinner - Assist with meals and chat to guests.

6.00pm - Evening Entertainment, rest, TV etc. Bedtime when the guest wants!

I'd say to anyone who is thinking about a career in care to give it a go! My colleagues and I find it so rewarding.