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A Day in the Life of a Care Assistant

If you’ve ever considered a career in care but wanted to know more about what’s involved day to day, then this is the blog for you. We spoke to some of our dedicated Care Assistants to find out what a day in the life of a Care Assistant is really like.

Being a Care Assistant is more than just a job, it’s about making a real and positive difference to our resident’s lives each day.

‘Being a carer means being part of a whole new family.’ Giada Congiu, Dene Place Care Home

The first call of the day is to get a handover from the staff that were last on duty. Even if you worked the day before, speaking to your colleagues and checking the notes from the previous shift is essential. Small changes can make a big difference to our residents and can influence the care and support that’s required for that day.

You’ll check with the Senior Carer and Nurse on duty to see which residents you’ve been assigned to take care of. You might work alone, or you might be required to work in pairs for certain duties, for example, if a resident requires the support of a hoist.

Throughout the day

You’ll visit your assigned residents going room to room supporting with day to day activities, including personal care, readiness for meal times and ensuring residents are dressed and able to take part in the daily activities.

This may require you to:

  • Reposition residents throughout the day to ensure they are comfortable and supported.
  • Showering and bathing – assisting the residents to shower or bathe as required and helping them to get dressed.
  • Support residents going to the toilet, as well as providing incontinence care such as changing pads or emptying catheter bags as necessary.
  • Apply creams, conduct skin checks and complete the necessary paper work. For example, documenting when any creams have been applied.
  • General tidying of the home; returning meal trays, mugs, etc back to the kitchen and reporting any defects to maintenance.
  • Attend to our residents that have pressed their call bell and provide personalised care as required.

‘Personal care is part of the role, but you don’t think of it. I am looking after someone that needs my help and that’s all that matters.’ Kirsty Wreghitt, Wykebeck Court Care Home

Observations

You will be required to report any changes in our resident’s condition to the Nurse or Senior Care Assistant at the earliest possible time.  Alongside this you will support the Nurse or Senior Carer in completing monthly and weekly checks, for example, weight checks to monitor the health of our residents.

Meal times

All our residents will have individual requirements and preferences for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so the care provided during these times will depend on each resident’s needs. You’ll chat with the residents and ensure they’re happy with their options. You might also:

  • Serve meals in the dining room or deliver meals to their rooms and make hot/cold drinks.
  • Assist residents out of bed/their rooms for meal times, transferring them to the dining room and helping them to their seats. This might involve supporting them to walk, transferring them in a wheelchair or using a hoist.
  • For residents who are unable to eat in the dining room or for those who just prefer eating in their room – you’ll ensure they are in a safe position to eat and that they’re comfortable.
  • Complete daily fluid and food charts for each resident.

‘You hear a lot of bad things about this industry but with the right surrounding and right leadership it is a great industry to work in.  I started in care and never looked back.’ Kirsty Wreghitt, Wykebeck Court Care Home

Morning and Afternoon Activities

Each morning and afternoon there will be activities that our residents can take part in if they wish. Some residents may prefer to enjoy time in the day room, have some quiet time in their own room, watch TV or go for a walk. If they’re not taking part in the planned activity you might just sit with them and have a cup of tea or a chat. Depending on their preferences and the individual residents you are caring for that day you’ll:

  • Transfer our residents to the main activity or lounge area or support them if they want to go for a walk. This might involve supporting them to walk, transferring them in a wheelchair or using a hoist.
  • Attend planned activities to assist the Activity Co-ordinator. You might support residents to take part in the activity or be on hand if any care is required such as personal care or repositioning.
  • Sometimes the activity is replaced with a day trip and you’ll be required to attended and to support with any care required throughout the day. This could include going out for afternoon tea, a trip to the seaside or visiting the Zoo.

‘It’s about giving them a quality of life, making their time with us as good as we possibly can.’ Kirsty Wreghitt, Wykebeck Court Care Home

Getting ready for bed 

You’ll support our residents to get ready for bed. This might involve helping them to get into their nightwear and repositioning them to ensure they are safe and comfortable.

Clean up & handovers

You’ll ensure that the home is tidy at the end of the shift, take any dirty clothes or bedding to the laundry room and dispose of any catheter bags.

Ensure all your admin is completed; supplementary files, daily notes and care plans need to be up to date before the end of the day. You’ll hand over to night staff and ensure they are given all the necessary updates from that day.

‘Some residents may not know who you are at the end of the shift, but you know you did what you could for that person and what a nice feeling to go home with.’ Kirsty Wreghitt, Wykebeck Court Care Home

Admin 

You’ll notice that paper work comes up a lot throughout the day. Completing this and documenting updates on our residents is essential. It allows a smooth transition when handing over to other members of the team and it means that the on-going care of our residents can be monitored.

It’s crucial to ensure that we monitor any existing conditions, their general health and wellbeing and flag any significant changes in their health to our Nurses.

You’ll complete your paper work as you go, particularly for daily notes such as fluid and food charts but you’ll also have time throughout the day to update care plans with daily notes and ensure supplementary files are completed.

Liaising with families

You’ll build relationships with our resident’s families and ensure they are kept up to date. You’ll provide support through both, the good and challenging days, celebrating the milestones in their lives and being a source of comfort during more difficult times.

‘We are changing people’s lives in a positive way.’ Giada Congiu, Dene Place Care Home

Night Duties

If you’re a night owl and want to know more about what’s involved during a night shift, check out the details below for additional duties that are carried out throughout the night.

There might be residents that are still awake at the start of your shift, so you’ll:

  • Serve the residents hold or cold drinks if they would like one before bed.
  • Assist residents getting dressed and ready for bed.

Throughout the night you’ll also need to:

  • Support residents going to the toilet, as well as providing incontinence care such as changing pads or emptying catheter bags as necessary.
  • Repositioning residents throughout the night to ensure they are comfortable and supported.
  • If residents request drinks throughout the night, you’ll attend to their needs and ensure you update the fluid charts.
  • Update paper work and ensure all supplementary files are completed.
  • Attend to residents that have pressed their call bell and provide personalised care as required.
  • Conducting room checks throughout the night ensuring our residents are safe and comfortable.

Cleaning duties

You’ll ensure hoists and wheelchairs are cleaned and that any dirty clothes are taken to the laundry room. You’ll clean the meal trays and ensure everything is ready for breakfast.

If you’ve made it this far then you’ve made it to the end of the shift!

Are you still with us? Great! Let us tell you about the hours. The shifts usually start between 7am and 8am and are usually 12-hour shifts. Some of our homes can offer a 6-hour shift which would start at either 8am or 2pm but this can depend on the location of the home.

We believe it’s our privilege to look after the lives of the elderly and the vulnerable and it’s why we make sure you feel appreciated for all the hard work you do. With a culture that encourages you to be completely yourself and to care about the wellbeing of others, you’ll enjoy a truly rewarding career, as part of our Bupa family. To apply for our available roles please get in touch on our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/BupaUKCareersOfficial/) or visit www.bupa.co.uk/careers.

‘If you’re compassionate and want to make a difference, give yourself a chance and try.’ Wioletta Klupaty, Dene Place Care Home

More great blogs from Bupa careers below

A day in the life of an activity co-ordinator

Considering a career in care?