Hear from Healthcare Assistant, Aimee Humby- Scales highlighting the challenges faced by carers as we celebrate the vital role carers make during Carers Week 2022.
She says: “I am a 33 year old married woman with 3 young children. I have a 6 year old boy and 4 year old twins girls, one of my daughters has issues with the clotting in her blood post Covid and my other daughter was born with a cataract in her left eye. They both require frequent hospital visits and alongside caring for my 3 children I also care for my mother, father and brother as well working full time.
My mother has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and is a wheelchair user. She also has lymphoedema and recurring cellulitis. She has paid carers four times a day now. Although my mam has four times a day care there are still places where the care falls short. I set up her medication in a dosette style box. I arrange her appointments and take her to appointments in a wheelchair accessible vehicle. We are currently applying for power of attorney for both health and welfare and finances.
My father is a type 2 diabetic, he had a stroke 5 years ago and heart attack last year, he has arterial fibrillation, aortic stenosis and spinal stenosis. He had a stent procedure last year and a valve replacement this year and requires assistance with some activities of daily living. We are hoping this is only in the short term. I take my dad to his hospital appointments and arranged to set up a dosette style box for his medication.
My brother has epilepsy, cerebral palsy with a left side hemiplegia, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. He lives in independent living with 24 hour care. My brother suffers with extreme anxiety and phones a lot for reassurance and support. I have power of attorney for both health and welfare and finances.
In order for me to be able to work I depend on support from my parents 3 days a week for childcare. It is a very fragile arrangement and if either one of my parents were to become ill it would put extreme pressures on my ability to care for them.
In the past two years there has been two periods of time where I have had to take some time off to care for both parents. When this happened my mam only had carers 3 times a day meaning there was no one to put her to bed for a period of 6 weeks. During this time I had to leave my children with my husband in order to put my mam to bed which meant I wouldn’t get back home until 11.30 pm every night. It was exhausting.
People often pity me and ask how I cope but I know no different. This has been my life for many years now.
Working and caring for family can be challenging but there are lots of things in place at work to support me when working and caring for my family.
Our carers passport has really helped. This is a tool to support staff with caring responsibilities. It can help to identify where individuals need support and make managers aware of their employees circumstances. For example, flexible working, support and reasonable adjustments as well as procedures if you are need to care for family urgently. It is only shared with you , your line manager and HR. It helped my previous manager and new manager to understand my situation better and improve support. It made starting up the conversation much easier.
I’ve also found our trust’s resilience training invaluable. It’s equipping me with the tools and coping strategies I needed to keep me in work. Our flexible working policy has also helped me massively to stay in work during Covid and I’m part of our carers staff network.
I recently started working in the community and the empathy and support I have been shown by colleagues has been second to none.
I feel that it is important to be able to access support at work in order to enable individuals have a healthy work life balance. It’s also important to be supported so individuals who are carers don’t feel alone. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by being a carer trying to keep all the plates spinning but sometimes, not always but sometimes you just need that extra pair of hands or listening ear. Personally I feel the need to celebrate carers during carers week to help individuals feel valued and recognised, we are all still people and often overlooked. However, we play such an integral part in the lives of the people we care for.