- People's stories Interviews with people getting attendant care, family members, workers . . .
- Alana Alana had a serious car accident aged 14. She has a brain injury.
- Rob Rob had a stroke. He was in a nursing home and now lives at home.
- David David had a car accident when 20. He has a brain injury. He has returned to work and to driving.
- Karel Karel had a bicycle accident. He has a fractured spine. He lives with his wife. They are in their 80s.
- Emma Emma was hit by a car. She has a brain injury and needs 24 hour care.
- Christakis Christakis' head went back in a car accident and he broke his neck. He lives with his wife.
- Attendant Care Provider Brain Injury Service Coordination Managers and Community Support Workers.
- Attendant Care Provider Spinal Injury Service Supervisors and Attendant Care Workers.
- Case Managers Case managers.
- Life Time Care Coordinators Lifetime Care and Support Coordinators speak.
Attendant Care Provider Spinal Cord Injury
Attendant Care Provider
Service providers provide attendant care. Some service providers are generalist. Some are specialists. This is a specialist provider for people with spinal cord injury.
- Rose, Service Supervisor
- Julita, Service Supervisor
- Ngaire, Attendant Carer Worker
- Tammie, Attendant Carer Worker
- Susie, Attendant Carer Worker
Ideally what we provide is a service for our clients so they can live independently in their own home. And primarily they, it’s all individualised. When they first come on board you know we sit with them and ask them how they want their service.
What is important to them, what are their goals? So, they have full control over there how they provide their service, how we provide their service, when we provide their service and what we do. We don’t dictate to them. We allow them to meet their carers before we put them into service. So, because you’ve got to realise this is the most intimate thing you will have. What our carers and clients what they go through is probably more intimate than what you will have with your partner, you know. So you have to get along. It is very much a relationship that is built between the three of us – ParaQuad, the client and the carers.
Rose, Service Supervisor
I love the smile on the client’s face when I leave the house. I like knowing that I’m leaving that place leaving someone comfortable, that they are able to have things done for them with dignity and respect as I would want if I were in their place.
Susie, Attendant Carer Worker
Attendant Care Provider's Story (11 mins)
Full text of the video Attendant Care Provider's Story
ON SCREEN: Attendant Care Provider Spinal Injury.
ROSE: Thanks guys for coming in today for our group meeting. Ngaire, how are you going with a new client? How is that set-up going?
ON SCREEN: Service Supervisors & Attendant Care Workers
NGAIRE: Yeah, I’m finding that very easy, actually. I’m finding it very comfortable. I’m finding that their parents are very friendly and I think that makes a big difference.
ROSE: Ideally what we provide is a service for our clients so they can live independently in their own home. And primarily they, it’s all individualised. When they first come on board you know we sit with them and ask them how they want their service.
ON SCREEN: ROSE Service Supervisor
ROSE: What is important to them, what are their goals? So, they have full control over there how they provide their service, how we provide their service, when we provide their service and what we do. We don’t dictate to them. We allow them to meet their carers before we put them into service. So, because you’ve got to realise this is the most intimate thing you will have. What our carers and clients what they go through is probably more intimate than what you will have with your partner, you know. So you have to get along. It is very much a relationship that is built between the three of us – ParaQuad, the client and the carers.
NGAIRE: I’ve had the training, the ongoing training to be able to manage my client quite well. I have a buddy and she instructs me. And it doesn’t take too long because I’ve had the previous experience of going in there. And basically the routine, the care is just the same.
NGAIRE: My role as a carer is to go into client’s homes and to assist them with their everyday living – to get them up, to get them out of bed so that they can then, once I have finished my role there, they can move on with whatever they want to do for the rest of the day.
ON SCREEN: NGAIRE Attendant Care Worker
NGAIRE: The people that have spinal cord injury can usually talk for themselves. The best thing I would advise a new carer is listen to the person because 9 times out of 10 that person knows themselves better than anybody knows them. So, that’s a main key is actually listening to what the client has to say.
I would treat their home with respect as I would expect anybody to treat mine. I would… If I saw something that I didn’t think was safe I would discuss it with the client and sort of maybe if the two of us or the three of us if we have a buddy could work out different ways of doing things - bringing beds up to different levels, using hoist for manual handling rather than lifting. If I found that we couldn’t come to some sort of agreement on things then I would consult my coordinators and it would go on from there. But majority of the time we can usually come to a compromise that is a safe working place for me and is also maintains the privacy that my client has in his own home.
JULITA : So, Susie, how are you going with the issues that you’ve had with the professional boundaries with your client who seems to be a bit resistant. How are you going?
SUSIE: I find that it’s really hard because…
JULITA : I actually put together an SDA which is like a care plan so that’s a Service Delivery Agreement and that’s between our client and ParaQuad. So, I actually will visit with the client and speak about how they would like their care plan put together and the times that they’d like this to fit in, their goals
ON SCREEN: JULITA Service Supervisor
JULITA : And then I actually go out quite often because I assess the carers also during their services to make sure that everything is going well. And I also ring my clients as well and if there are any issues at all with a service I’ll actually go out and assess that service with the carer and the client.
ROSE: Tammie, how have you found working with people with spinal cord injuries compared to working in an aged-care environment.
TAMMIE: I prefer it very much more than when I was when I was doing aged care. There is better environment, everyone is more relaxed. We are in a client’s home, there is a lot more time to be caring with the client.
TAMMIE: When I go to a new client’s house I have the same sort of demeanour as I do as if I go to somebody that I’ve been to a thousand times. You’ve got to stay calm. You’ve got to be sort of on their way of length, you’ve got to sort of read their personalities too so you know that you are not overstepping any boundaries. But it’s not as hard… It is very daunting but it’s not as hard as everyone thinks. I mean, if you are a caring person and you want to go in there and you are legitimately there to help somebody they pick up on that and it’s not that hard.
ON SCREEN: TAMMIE Attendant Care Worker
TAMMIE: I just try to make everybody feel comfortable so I have to be as relaxed as I possibly can and make the environment relaxing for myself. So I don’t really look at it as a work environment even though I do understand it is a work environment. You don’t just go to the toilet, or wash your hands, or do things like that. When you first go into somebody’s home you ask questions, you say “Do you mind if I do this? Do you mind if I do that?” Get a feel of how they feel about you being in their home to start with but once you start going to a client a few times then you just start getting into their routine, you start to know how they feel about you being in certain areas of their house. So, you just sort of keep them comfortable and stay where they like you to be.
You have to be professional but you can be still friendly and caring. I mean I’ve got a few clients that I’m very friendly with but at the end of the day they know that I have to keep professional, they know that I have to keep a line between friendship and client. So, my personal life is my personal life but when I go to work I’m as friendly as I can be. I discuss as much as I can about everything without actually having people involved in my after-hours life-style.
SUSIE: You are trying to make a difference in that person’s life and you see that need of a special friend. And it’s a very fine line between, you know, being a good carer and friendly.
It’s a fine line, you know, between being the friend and overly friendly. But it’s something that we are always aware of. We know that this is a client and the client know this is the carer. And I don’t find that difficult. I find it difficult if I become aware that I’ve got to be careful about crossing boundaries, alright? That means that there could be a borderline there. But I think I’d like to know that the person that is looking after me is friendly towards me.
ON SCREEN: SUSIE Attendant Care Worker
SUSIE: You need to be a caring person somehow. You can’t just do it because you need to fill in time. You need to have a bit of a heart to be able to break it down to what if it’s me here. That’s how I feel. And once that’s done then it works well.
Difficulties when you know that a client is very sick and… I can’t, I can’t, sorry. Just hit the wrong button. And you know there is nothing else you can do. But while there is life there is hope and to know that you’ve made someone’s life easier that makes it all worthwhile.
ROSE: We are looking for that heart when we look for a carer. When I look for a carer I look for that heart. They have to have it. You know, they have to be able to provide a service and provide that service because they want to. It’s not just a job. It can’t be just a job to someone. You have to have that heart for them for it to be a carer.
JULITA : That’s who I am. I’ve come from a caring background. I love supporting the carers. As a carer myself I know what it’s like to be out on the field and to feel isolated at times. ParaQuad is very supportive. It always has been for me. I had met my coordinator as soon as I came here. Where I’ve worked for other organisations and I’ve just been sent out there blind to clients and had to learn their care routine. With ParaQuad we give really good training, we send you out on the field with the buddy. So, you are not going out there blind into your client’s service.
NGAIRE: I just like meeting new people, different people, talking to people generally and helping people. That’s my role as a carer, you know. I go in and I help them. And it’s nice to be appreciated. Makes me feel good if the client says “Well, thank you very much” or something like that. Yeah, it makes me feel good as well.
TAMMIE: I’m a very caring person. I mean, I can be a little bit hard at times but I am a very caring person. I like to help people and I like to make sure that people are comfortable. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like people standing over people. So, I like to make sure that when I go to someone’s house that they're happy.
SUSIE: I love the smile on the client’s face when I leave the house. I like knowing that I’m leaving that place leaving someone comfortable, that they are able to have things done for them with dignity and respect as I would want if I were in their place. I love making that change and knowing that I had that capability of doing that and not even knowing about it. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
ON SCREEN: Thanks to ParaQuad NSW. Camera & Editing Peter Kirkwood. Produced by Paul Bullen & Peter Kirkwood. www. Living-with-attendant-care.info
NGAIRE: And if they are unsure about something I could maybe offer a bit of advice perhaps on how perhaps the best way going about things, negotiating. If I see something that I don’t think is right well, I can perhaps sit down and talk to them about it. Say “Well, maybe we can try this different way”. And it’s beneficial for them and me.