A healthcare assistant has described working at Encore Care Homes as she encourages more people to support the residents by joining the team.
Maria Rodrigues, who has worked as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) at Great Oaks in Bournemouth for three years, said that her favourite part of the job is spending time with the residents as she loves getting to know each of them personally. She said that the Healthcare Assistant roles available would benefit people who have a caring, thoughtful personality.
Encore Care Homes, which is based in Bournemouth and runs four purpose-built care homes across Dorset and Hampshire, is looking to recruit permanent HCAs who will provide practical, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing support to the residents. The Encore family includes Fairmile Grange in Christchurch, Oakdale in Poole, Great Oaks in Bournemouth, and Hamble Heights in Fareham.
Applicants must have good listening and communication skills, as well as a natural ability to be friendly, kind, and reassuring to others. As well as providing companionship to residents, an HCA’s responsibilities include washing and dressing residents, serving meals and helping those that need support with eating, assisting residents to move around, making them feel more comfortable, and monitoring a resident’s condition by recording their temperature, pulse, or weight.
Maria said: “I always do my job with my heart. We have acted like the residents’ families during the Covid pandemic. It has been hard for them not to be able to see the familiar faces of their families, so they get very emotional now when one of their family members is allowed into the care homes.
She added: “It’s a busy job but I love finding time to talk to the residents. We know our residents personally. For example, Margaret likes to have her breakfast at 8.30am each day, so after completing the handover with the night staff, I will go and get her breakfast for her, as part of our morning round.
“If a resident would like a cup of tea, then I will get one for them, or if they would like to hear some music, then I will put on the radio. After lunch, sometimes we will play a game as it is something that the residents enjoy. They love playing hangman. It’s the little things that make them happy.”
There are no set entry requirements to becoming an HCA, with all training being provided by Encore. However, there are some skills and characteristics that a person must have such as ‘caring’ experience which could be from childcare, working in a school, or simply caring for a relative. Alternatively, candidates could come from a people-focused role with a customer service background in retail or hospitality, but they must have a compassionate nature and transferable caring skills.
All care home residents are tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis, with staff accessing twice-weekly Lateral Flow rapid testing. All staff and residents have been offered their first dose of the Covid vaccine and will have their second dose in the coming weeks to provide greater protection against the virus. New starters will also be included in the rollout of vaccines in line with the team’s key worker status. All visitors complete a Lateral Flow test and don full PPE before entering the care home.
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