Meet Support Worker, Rebecca! Rebecca officially joined Gray Healthcare in September 2015 and in April 2022 she was awarded a Gray Healthcare ‘Value Award’ for ‘collaboration’ She was nominated by her colleague Angela for being ‘professional and detailed… and a good listener.’ Here she tells us what a typical day is like and what she particularly loves about her role.
What did you do before you joined Gray Healthcare?
‘I always thought I would work in the care sector. Throughout my childhood, I was surrounded by family members who work within the sector: my mum has always been a carer, my dad a first aider, and my aunt works in mental health. I can still remember going with my mum, along with my sister, to visit some of the people she cared for at the time. All the people she supported would talk to us and tell us how much of a difference my mum had made to their lives, and it made me want to be a carer just like her! It was therefore a natural step to become a carer myself.
Before joining Gray Healthcare, I worked in elderly residential care homes but then my mum mentioned that there was a job covering maternity leave at Gray Healthcare. I joined the company in May 2014 and then my position was made permanent in September 2015 when the person I was covering made the decision not to return to work. I’ve not looked back since!’
Can you tell us about a typical day as a Support Worker?
‘The lady I support has an acquired brain injury and, as a result, can find communication and comprehension difficult. When I first started working with her, if she wanted a cup of tea, she would simply say ‘tea.’ She was unable to prepare her own meals, do her laundry and cleaning. Initially, my role involved quite a lot of support with these everyday activities, but now that’s all changed. We noticed that she liked to read out loud so we encouraged her to read to us every day. Now she can form full sentences and ask properly for a cup of tea. She can actually hold a proper conversation with us now. She is also able to make her own drinks and help with food preparation and cleaning – she absolutely loves hoovering! We try and make these activities as fun as possible so that she is keen to get involved. Most of my days now are spent supporting her to take part in other, more fun, activities. Where she lives is very scenic with horses and chickens nearby so most days we go out for a walk to see the animals. When the weather is not so good we play board games and card games, and she likes to complete jigsaws as well. I still help her with food preparation and other daily chores, but we do have a lot of fun as well.’
What’s the best thing about working at Gray Healthcare?
‘I just love working here. When the lady I’m supporting achieves something she hasn’t been able to do for a long time or has never done, it is just magical. Seeing the joy on her face and knowing that I’m helping her to live her life to the fullest is an incredible feeling. I literally feel I have helped to change someone’s life for the better. Her family like to help her by doing her weekly food shopping and there was one day when they were not able go, so I took her shopping. I remember she asked me what cereal she should choose, and I told her she could choose whatever cereal she wished – her face lit up! It was just wonderful.'
What, if anything, do you find challenging about your role?
‘There can be some difficult days. The lady I support still has difficulty in understanding what is going on around her and she can become frustrated and angry at times. For example, because she chooses to go to bed early, she is an early riser (about 4am). She does not understand why it might not be possible to go shopping at that time of day. Trying to explain this can be mentally challenging and sometimes can make you feel quite worn down.’
Do you feel you are well supported?
‘My team is a small team, but we all help each other and listen to each other. I feel I have a fantastic relationship with everyone in my team. We obviously get along as we often go out together when we’re not at work! I feel I can talk to them and rely on them if I need any support or advice, although as the youngest member of the team, I’m always the ‘go to’ for help with technology problems! As a team we stick together, we look after each other and we’re proud of the work we do as a team because it really does make a difference to peoples’ lives.’
What advice would you give to someone considering working for Gray Healthcare?
‘I would say ‘you’ve got to do it – it’s a very rewarding job’! It is a brilliant company to work for, they look after your ‘wellness’ as well as that of the people we support. It’s a company where everyone wants the best, not just for the people we support but for each other. The Westfield package is excellent. The training you receive is fantastic and will benefit you whatever you decide to do in the future. The company is very supportive of further training needs, we’re always being asked what additional training we'd like. It's a great place to work.'
Describe Gray Healthcare in three words...
Inspiring, compassionate and proud