I started a new job today. I’m a community support worker, working with the elderly who have enduring mental health illnesses as well as many other co morbid conditions.
My role is intensive and entails me visiting many of these elderly people in their homes as well as many other places in the community. These visits can be anything from a couple of times a week to several times a day. The role is a clinical one where I support elderly individuals during the acute phases of their mental illness.
I work in a team with occupational therapists, community psychiatric nurses, psychologists and support workers. It’s a wonderful team to be apart of with everyone supporting each other whenever needed with light-hearted humour and strategic solution to some rather complex problems. We have a team caseload which we all manage through visits to the patients, completion of essential paperwork and case reviews ensuring the patient is at the centre of care that is delivered.
As part of my role I have the opportunity to take park in case reviews, initial assessments, risk assessments and development of care plans. The most intense part of the role is actually visiting the patients often on my own. I can never be sure what state I will find the patients in or even how well they will respond to my presence or the support I provide them. Everything I do as a front line member of staff has an impact on the mental well-being of the patient. Often the patients have been discharged from hospital after spending a length of time there.
The transition from hospital to home can be a challenging and anxiety provoking one for the patients which means that along with managing their mental illness lapse, patients often are required to adjust back to home life. Many require additional intensive support to manage their medication, personal care and household chores. This is where I as a support worker come in. I assist the patient to manage the elevated symptoms of their illness and their adjustment back to home life by concentrating on the mental health illness while other authorised and qualified staff take care of medication, personal care and assessments. I may accompany them to appointments, reviews and the odd shopping trip. My role is to assist in developing coping strategies and skills which empower the individual to manage trigger situations. This can often be complex as what may seem an ordinary aspect of everyday life to those without the illness can be a very difficult and daunting situation.
So why and how is it my dream job? Well, it’s in the national health service firstly which provides me with ample opportunities to be apart of clinical work with many other professionals from different backgrounds and lengths of service. It’s hands on experience of working in a clinical setting, essential for training as a psychologist. Above all it’s a stepping stone towards becoming an assistant psychologist, the beginning of me becoming a chartered psychologist.
It was my first day today and I pick up quite a bit of information. I met my team or at least the only other member of my team at present. There are more to come in due course, team dynamics, team leaders, doctors and shift changes so lets see how things pan out for this new service.