Interviewer: You go in every day, you were talking about how people have a routine. How do you pick up if they're not well or happy?
Tanya: Well, you’ve been there for a while now, so you should know your service user, you should know when they’re having a bad day, when they’re not well. It’s easy to detect because they will complain, if they’re capable of complaining. You have the poorer one that will just, they just don’t complain. They might just… if you go in and you normally go in and see Doris watching that telly and that day you go in and Doris is not watching the telly, Doris is sleeping, you know something is wrong. Something is wrong with Doris if you see sleeping because every day that time when you come in Doris has a programme on the telly watching, that morning you come in the telly is switched off. Doris is sleepy. And you try, you go to her and you touch her on the arm, ‘hello Doris, you're sleeping today, no telly today?’ She might respond and say ‘I’m so tired today. I just don’t know why I’m not feeling well.’ And you say ‘what’s the matter, Doris?’, ‘I’m having terrible chest pain’ and you say ‘where is the pain, Doris, show me exactly.’ ‘It’s here in my chest and I can’t breathe. It’s very difficult to breathe and I’m just..’. And then she would say ‘I’m an old woman – maybe it’s time for me to go’.
And you say, No Doris, I’m going to phone the GP and make an appointment for you. And you go and you do whatever you try to do - ring the office tell them that you think Doris is not feeling well. What they think you should do is call the ambulance.
Care work can be challenging. Service users sometimes get upset and depressed. Improve your listening skills and learn appropriate language to use with elderly service users in the UK.