I have been working in adult social care for about 19 years or so. In this time, I have worked in a variety of settings, including care homes and domiciliary providers. Let me make it clear, I am passionate about helping others and love working with the elderly. I get so much satisfaction from the practical aspects of my role. I love seeing those I work with smile; it reminds me as to why I joined the job in the first place.
However, in recent years I have found it increasingly hard to stay positive and motivated. There are daily challenges regarding staff recruitment and retention. I believe this is due to a combination of factors, such as:
- Being an unregulated workforce
- Poor pay
- Lack of funding, and
- Increase in negative reports by the media; sensationalising what we do in order to make a profit.
Yes, mistakes are made. However, the daily bombardment of reports about how inadequate the adult social care sector is does nothing to address the root causes. In fact, it does the polar opposite! Think about it, how do you think this makes the current workforce feel? Because I can tell you it makes me feel deflated and undervalued. If it wasn’t for the fact that I get to work with some amazing people; both professionals and ‘users’ of the service, I would’ve packed it in a long time ago.
So, where do we go from here? Well, as someone on the ‘frontline’, I believe that we are now standing at the crossroads. We either invest in an adequate social care system that works for all or we do not. It is that simple. If the latter, it will buckle and will eventually break. However, if it is the former, we would be able to address staff recruitment and retention issues. We could look to invest in developing a system that helps support and regulate staff. We could focus on ‘professionalising’ the role of the Carers; focusing on the development of core skills. The optimist in me still believes there is enough time to make positive changes… But, it must to be swift!
This has been completed by a front-line Carer who has asked to stay anonymous.
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