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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Working In Care- Part 2

I have mentioned in an earlier post my time working in care (hence this post being labelled 'working in care- part 2).

I will discuss here the earlier stage of my carework career. 

I did some voluntary work for Macintyre care in the late '80's, at their school in Westoning, near Flitwick, Bedfordshire. I worked mainly in the workshops, supporting some of the residents, making masks, puppets etc and sometimes taking them out into the communtiy, for example, swimming. It seems amazing looking back that they didn't appear to run any sort of criminal checks, although they might have done a Police check on me (now superceded by C.R.B., Criminal Records Bureau).  I also did a job working in an old people's home to increase my income, at a home in Bedford called Hextle House in Linden Road, doing the odd weekend shift, so I had quite a bit of experience of care work,  so by the late 90's, having done a lot of industrial  temp work, I decided to get a full-time care job working with people with learning disabilities. I applied for several N.H.S. jobs, and in one particular week I had three job interviews, one for  the job of support worker at a home run my the N.H.S. in Merton Road in Bedford, another for the Sensory Department at Bromham Hospital and the last for a support worker role at Vincent House, which I eventually got. The interviews were held at Bromham Hospital, and as the interviews were over the same week I met several of the same people who interviewed me over the three days. I was sure I was going to get one of the jobs, but not the Vincent House job. Having got the job, I didn't immediately start work as the manager, had to attend her mother's funeral in Ireland so the induction for the job was delayed by around six weeks (this was in 1996). 
Vincent House is/was (I'm not certain whether it is still open.) an assessment and treatment unit for people with learning disabilities who presented extreme challenging behaviours. The house, which is on the outskirts of Bromham,  a village just outside Bedford and on the road to Northampton, had been shut down for refurbishment and some of the original staff were re-employed for the re-opening, but I joined just as they were taking on new staff members. Bromham Hospital had been the home of a quite large number of people with learning disabilities and this was about to close, with the residents being moved out of the hospital setting and into houses within the community around various villages and towns around Bedfordshire, under the government's 'Care In The Community' policy. I did quite a few shifts for the N.H.S. on their Carebank register as a sort of 'warm-up' for work at Vincent house and worked in several of those homes between Luton and North Bedfordshire which gave me quite a bit of experience. Most shifts began at around 7 a.m and ran until 2 p.m. and late shifts from 2-2.30 p.m. until around 9-10 p.m. So being in care you have to accept that you are going to have to work unsocial hours and also work weekends. At Vincent House we had also to do nights, which I found very difficult as I am a day sort of person. I will mention this more as I continue writing this.
We did eventually start the induction process, which ran for several weeks. It was a period spent at Twinwoods, which had formerly been Clapham Hospital, and now run as the headquarters for the learning disability department of what was then Bedfordshire and Luton N.H.S. Trust, who was my employer and ran not only Vincent House but all the other learning disabilities homes which had been opened to house the residents of Bromham Hospital which I have mentioned earlier was being closed down. The manor house had been used as the administrative centre for the N.H.S. learniing disabilities service and was where I went for my inital interview. There were several houses built for the learning disabilities department at The Glades, but the rest of the Bromham Hospital site was sold for housing and the mansion became a private dwelling. Vincent House was on the road running out of Bromham and around three miles from Bromham Hospital.
The purpose of Vincent House was for the assessment and treatment of clients of the learning diabilities service who presented challening behaviours that the staff in the homes couldn't cope with and where they used various techniques to try and deal with the behaviours, different medications and care procedures, then the clients were returned to their respective homes in the community.
Amongst my jobs was to be a key worker for a number of the clients in our care, looking after their day to day care, buying their clothes, reviewing their medication and generally building up a relationship with them so as to care for them successfully.
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