To support Learning Disability Week and shine a spotlight on our healthcare professionals, we asked one of our learning disability support workers, Amy, to tell us about her role, why she became a support worker and how the pandemic has impacted her role.
What is your responsibility as a learning disability support worker?
In my role, I am responsible for managing a small team of healthcare professionals and ensuring we work together to provide the client with the very best person-centred care. My main focus is ensuring the client's emotional and physical needs are always met whilst communicating regularly with their parent, so they are aware of everything that is happening.
What does a normal working day look like?
More often than not, my working days are very varied. It keeps my role very exciting. With restrictions now easing, places are open again and we can take the client out for breakfast in the morning, and then we will usually spend a few hours, if not the full day, trying a fun activity. We always take him out for fun activities such as swimming, water parks, and walks on the beach. It’s great to witness this kind of happiness and see him grow as a person. No day is the same or boring, and that's something I really love about my role.
How has the pandemic impacted your role?
The pandemic brought about many feelings, such as uncertainty and anxiety. I was always conscious of mixing with people whilst keeping myself, the team and the client safe.
As a team, we worked together to ensure everyone was safe and our client could still receive the best quality care. It may not have been easy, but we worked hard to ensure everything still felt as normal as possible for the client and the family.
How do you ensure the client’s safety is prioritised?
We always tailor the client's activities to his mood. If the team and I find he is displaying certain behaviours that show a lack of interest or frustration, we will change his day to suit his mood. For example, if the client is feeling agitated, we will still do a fun activity but something indoors and not around lots of people. We never push him to do things he would struggle with or not enjoy.
I have worked with the client for over four years now. Over time, I have learnt to read his emotions and behaviours, gain his trust, and understand exactly what he needs.
Whenever we go out for the day, we encourage him to do things he is physically able to do and has an interest in doing. We always ask the client to walk closely to us or link arms when walking and crossing any roads, so we know he is safe. I always risk assess everything I come across. My priority is to keep the client safe, offer support and provide him with the best care. It’s important to know what obstacles may appear and how to deal with them.
What was the reason you became a support worker?
I became a support worker because I love providing care to people who need it most. I have years of experience working in the mental health and learning disability care sector. When I joined Thornbury Community Services, I utilised my previous skills and experience to work with the client to grow our relationship.
The role can be challenging at times, but it’s one of the things I love about it. It’s truly empowering to witness the client grow and gain independence.
If you are interested in joining the team at Thornbury Community Services and want to make a difference in our clients' lives whilst empowering them to be as independent as possible, register with us here. Or contact our team on 0333 323 3762.