Mrs. Beth Namara

Encouraging an individual to communicate their needs, preferences and personal beliefs affecting their personal care is very important in health and social care. As care workers we have to always consider people’s preferences even if it is not what we would like as individuals. There may be cultural considerations that I might need to think about as a person but this does not stop me from encouraging an individual to communicate what they want.

When I realize that the service user is not able to communicate their needs, preferences and personal beliefs with ease, I am always patient and give them more time or use other methods of communication to find out. (58. 1. 1) As a care worker it is my responsibility to promote effective communication at work by being able to understand both verbal and non verbal messages the service users use. I know how to communicate well with the service users and to listen to their needs attentively in order to understand the message they put forward for me.

For example I maintain eye contact all the time with the person I am talking to, listen carefully, use my body gestures to show them that I am listening and interested in what they are telling me. This gives them the assurance that I am listening to what they are telling me and I respect what they are telling me. (58. 1. 1) Sometimes I ask the family, friends or previous care workers for advice or seek for information about their needs, preferences and personal beliefs. For instance some service users prefer a bath to a shower or a strip wash, I have to respect that even If I feel that it is more practical to have a shower than a bath.

Some service users prefer to have a bath three times a week I respect their choice and do exactly what pleases them as long as it is what they want and it is their choice. I avoid imposing my own views on them even if their choices conflict with what I feel is right. (58. 1. 1) Some service users have their religious beliefs or cultural needs regarding their personal care , It is my responsibility to always find out about these beliefs and respect them to avoid offending the service users I support and their family without intending to do so.

There are some service users who prefer care workers to be of the same gender as them. For example there is a female service user who does not accept male carer workers in her house. This is respected by the company I work for and every service provided to her has to be a female because that is what she prefers (58. 1. 1) In conclusion , by listening to what the service users want or prefer , following their choices or getting information and advice from their family and friends is very important in health and social. By doing this, the service users will be satisfied with the level of the care they receive.

In order to be able to provide support for personal care safely, care workers have to know how to help the individuals understand the reasons for hygiene and safety precautions. Source of support in personal care can influence people’s habits and values, for instance some service users bathe or shower daily while for others it is twice a week or once. People’s attitudes to the care of their teeth, hair, nails, shaving also differs and it my duty as a care worker to explain to them the reasons for hygiene and safety precautions. (58. 2.

1) Service users who usually have little contact with the public are not so much into grooming themselves like those who keep going out to mix with others. Those who stay home most of the time are usually less motivated to pay attention to personal hygiene. For example one of the service users I support is disabled but very active, he is involved in many charity organisations and loves going out to socialize at different events. He pays too much attention to his hair, teeth, nails and shaving so that he can look his best all the time.

When ever I am doing his personal care I do everything according to his choice as longer as it is in line with the safety and hygiene policy of health and social care. As a care worker it is my responsibility to promote healthy and safe practice in relation to hygiene rather than imposing my own standards to service users I support daily. (58. 2. 1) I do make sure that the skin of an individual is washed and kept clean because any breaks to it leads to a risk of infections entering the body.

I know very well that the outer layer of the skin is constantly being renewed, the shed cells are replaced with new cells. The skin also produces sweat and sebaceous glands that produce sweat and other oily substances that maintains the water proofing of the skin. If I do not take good care of it the dried sweat, dead skin and sebum can build up and be a breeding area of a range of bacteria or leading to bad smell which can be unpleasant. (58. 2. 1) I always make sure that the teeth of the service users are cleaned at least twice a day so that food particles can be removed.

If the teeth are not cleaned properly this can lead to mouth infection, tooth decay and gum disease caused by the decomposed food particles. It is my responsibility as a care worker to support the individual to understand the reason for keeping their teeth clean or oral care hygiene. (58. 2. 1) I do make sure their hair is washed and dried properly, most of the people I support are aged and their hair is dry and more brittle. I use mild shampoo with conditioner mostly to wash the hair then rinse it well and dry it.

Some prefer their hair to be dried with the hand drier and others demand that I use the towel to dry it. Some service users get hair care services from hair dressers and it is my responsibility to ring and book for them hair appointments. (58. 2. 1) When I am doing hair care, i check for head lice which can be easily spread between people who have close head to head contact. Well conditioned hair makes it more difficult for the eggs to latch on to the hair. In conclusion, personal hygiene is not only about preventing the spread of infection, it also improves the way people feel about themselves.

Service users usually feel better when I give them a bath or a shower, washed hair and cleaned boost their self esteem. The feedback I get from them shows that they really feel good after a nice bath, creaming, hair care, oral care and clean clothing. As a care worker it is my duty to promote and demonstrate good hygiene practices and be positive role models. Some service users I support need to be sensitively reminded and educated about hygiene and I do that when I see it is necessary the person has no idea about the importance of hygiene. (58. 2. 1)

It is very important that I use protective equipments, protective clothing and hygiene techniques all the time when I am doing personal care in order to minimize the risk of infection. Germs can spread very easily from one person to another especially if they get onto clothes, hair, beddings and other materials. Therefore, it is my responsibility to limit the spread of infection by making sure I use correct precautions such as washing and protective equipment, gloves and aprons when supporting people with personal care to reduce the spread of infection.

Most of the service users I support are aware of these universal precautions that they are in place to protect them and everyone involved from infections. I also apply hand gel to clean my hands and rinse my hands when I remove gloves and put them in the correct bin provided according to waste disposal policy. (58. 2. 2) I use protective equipments all the time when dealing with bodily fluids, clinical wastes or hazardous substances . Then after I dispose all used personal protective clothing either in the bag supplied by health services or in a plastic bag which I tie up and place in the main bin.

I also make sure that I put the dirty laundry such as soiled bedding or clothes in the correct laundry bag provided to use. I avoid putting the dirty laundry or the soiled linen on the floor because the soiled linen can spread infection. More to that , I always use people’s own toiletries when helping them with personal care, I do this mostly when I am supporting some one in a communal or a sheltered home. Germs can harbor in creams, make up, combs, hair bands, hats, hair nets and can easily spread from person to person if shared.

Sharing toiletries and equipments among so many people also compromises a person’s individuality. As a care worker my own hygiene has also to be of high standard, I make sure I wear clean clothes each day which have been washed and ironed properly. After worker I change into a clean wear to go in home and this helps to reduce the spread of infections. Each day work clothes are washed separately from other clothes in the house, I use a hot wash and conditioner to kill all the germs and bacteria. (58. 2. 2)

Reporting concerns about the safety and hygiene of equipments or facilities used for personal care to the manager or any body else concerned is very important not only for the safety of the service user but for the carer and others people involved. (58. 2. 3) Facilities and equipments used for personal care have to be in good working order, safe and clean to use otherwise, there can be accidents. As a care worker I also have a responsibility under health and safety law to ensure the safety of all people using the premises, I have to be observant so that I do not put anyone at risk of danger or harm.

I have to make sure that equipments are checked regularly and all electrical equipments are tested and confirmed to be safe. As a care worker I have to be familiar with the correct working of equipment, such as the hoist, the chair lift, the electric bath chair and others because this will help me to know when things are not right. (58. 2. 3) I do make sure that I check every equipment before use and I do not use anything that might cause harm. If I check and notice that the equipment is faulty, I take them out of use make report and record the faulty as my employer’s policy or social and health care policy requires me to do.

I know very well that dripping taps can be a hazard and if hot water drips from a tap while a person is bathing the service user can suffer serious burns. I also report other concerns like those of sharp edges on bath seats which can cause skin tears not only to the service user but to the carer and other people. (58. 2. 3) I do also report Items such as dirty or unhygienic bath mat, commodes, bath hoists, electric bath chairs and other unclean items that can easily spread infections to my manager or any other appropriate person.

For the dirty bath tub, I do make sure that I scrub it with the cleaning materials before using it, this reduces the level of infection and makes the bathing place clean and pleasant to use. During the induction, I was told the benefit of reporting any concern about the safety and hygiene of equipments or facilities, If I do not report it, that means I will be answerable in case of any thing, therefore, in order for me to cover my back in case of anything happens, I have to make sure I report to my manager or supervisor about any concern. (58. 2. 3)

Control and exposure to hazardous waste is taken seriously in health and social care, this is about protecting the carer workers, the service users and others against hazardous substances such as the bleach, incontinence materials and other body wastes. COSHH is an abbreviation for Control of substances Hazardous to Health, the dangers of using such substances can be skin irritation, nose and throat irritation, allergic reactions and inhalation. (58. 2. 5) Waste materials I encounter during my daily care job include urine, feaces, incontinence pads, catheter and stoma bags, sanitary items, sputum, vomit and blood.

During the induction it was clearly explained to me and other carer workers who attended that such body wastes should not pose any risk therefore, it should be wrapped properly, ensure that it is free from any excess liquid and disposed off properly. (58. 2. 5) All waste materials have to be handled with care because there are risks involved such as contracting gastrointestinal infections resulting in diarrhea and vomiting.

The policy also emphasizes that all care workers should know that it is important to safely dispose the waste because other people have to deal with it after it is disposed. Therefore, it is my duty as a care worker to make sure all the waste is wrapped and disposed in a bag or container provided. According to my work place policy, bags containing wastes should not be overfilled as these can be a risk to moving and handling as well as splitting open and contamination. Therefore, I always make sure the waste bags are filled up to the right and recommended level then tie them properly and make them ready for disposal.

Keeping people safe is my priority as a care worker , liquid wastes such as urine, feaces, vomit and blood I dispose them in any normal sewage system, Incontinence pads, sanitary items, wound dressings, used gloves and aprons I dispose them in the yellow bag, soiled foul linen in the red bag which has inner dissolvable liner. I put the linen in the white bag which is usually provided for it, dispose house hold waste in the black bag and the sharp equipments such as needled and pins in the yellow sharps box.

I make sure before I handle any wastes, I wear my apron, gloves and after I wash my hands properly. (58. 2. 5) Supporting individuals to make themselves clean and tidy after using toilet facilities is my responsibility as a care worker. After assisting service users to use toilet facilities, I have to make sure that, I support them to cleanse thoroughly to prevent them from becoming sore. I know very well, if the traces of feaces and urine are not cleaned properly can cause soreness and infections.

I always make sure that there is enough toilet paper and wipe the service user from front to back, this is referred to as the correct way because it prevents traces of feaces being drawn towards the vagina and urethra which can cause infections. (58. 3. 2) There are individuals who always ask for running water to cleanse themselves after using the toilet this is either their culture or it is according to their religious faith. This is very common with service users who are Muslims by faith or have a culture of washing themselves after toileting rather than using toilet tissue.

When the bidet facilities are not available, I provide them with water in small buckets or big bottles to wash themselves after using the toilet. Some of the service users I support prefer using moist baby wipes or toilet tissues after suing the toilet. (58. 3. 2) Most of the female service users use feminine wipes because they are soft, gentle and non irritant to clean their genitals after using the toilet. I always make sure a hand washing liquid is readily available and I encourage the service users to use it to wash their hands properly.

Some of my service users do not like to wash their hands after using the toilet, in this case I do remind them about the importance of washing hands. It is my responsibility to ensure that soap and hand washing liquid is provided at all the sinks in the house to make it easy for the service users to wash thoroughly, then a hand towel is provided for drying the wet hands. In conclusion, it my duty as a care worker to support individuals to make themselves clean and tidy after using toilet facilities. (58. 3. 2)

Whenever, I enter service user’s home, after checking if the individual is ok, I check the room temperature to make sure it is ok for the person I am going to support. Sometimes I do ask them if the temperature is the right one or there is need to regulate it. This depends on what they want at that time, I usually do this in winter season or when the weather is too cold for the individual. I also make sure the area where personal care is going to take place is warm and free from draughts. First, I close the windows then after prepare and make sure the heating is on to warm the room. (58. 4. 1)

After a bath or a wash most service users feel cold , therefore, it is my duty to make sure that I keep their bodies warm. I usually spread their towels and clothes on the sides of the radiator to take the chill off and make sure they are not too hot. I also ensure that the spread clothes are just on the sides and do not block the warm air flow from the radiator into the room. When ever I am running baths, I run the cold water first and then the hot water last, the reason why I do this is because hot water can cause serious burns or scalds to service users.

I was warned by my manager to be careful when running hot water in the bath because a number of burns accidents or scalds in the health and social care sector have been reported to the health and safety Executives. (58. 4. 1) The hand book about guidelines on safe water temperatures were handed to all the care workers who attended the induction with me. The people I support are vulnerable and more at risk of burns, some of them have dementia, others are old with health problems like diabetes. All those mentioned may not be able to judge or control the water temperatures on their own.

Most of the people I support have limited mobility and cannot be able to get out of the bath quickly if the water is to hot, therefore it is my duty to always do risk assessment before taking anyone for a bath and take measures to reduce the risks. I make sure the water is at an appropriate temperature, for the bath it has to be 44°C, for the shower it has to be 41°C, for the wash basin it has to be 41°C and 38°C for a bidet. Thermometers are provided for the care workers to check the water temperature, it is my duty to report the water that is not within the recommended temperatures.

It is also my responsibility not to leave the tap running because this does not only waste water but can also cause scalds. Service users do not only need support in baths but also in oral care to prevent tooth decay and other dental problems. (58. 4. 1) As a care workers, It is my responsibility to encourage and support service users to manage their own personal care so that they are independent as much as possible. Supporting personal hygiene activities in ways that maintain comfort, respect, dignity and promoting active participation is very important in health and social care.

It is my responsibility to find out how much a service user can do independently, I usually get this information from their care plan , family or friends and by being observant as individuals’ condition and needs keep changing. (58. 5. 1) I encourage service users to participate actively and help them by giving the right level of support. For example, those who can manage to clean themselves after toileting I let them do it independently and some who are not able to, I give them the required support while maintaining respect and dignity.

I avoid giving less support to those who need it because this leads to individuals feeling neglected or not supported. I know very well it is also not good to give too much support that is not required because this takes away individuals independence. I make sure whatever I do for the service user shows respect and dignity, I avoid taking over their independence because this shows disrespect or devaluing an individual. (58. 5. 1) I make sure that I offer the service users the opportunity to use toilet facilities before they wash, bathe or get a shower, this helps in minimizing unnecessary hustle or pain that can be caused by movements.

I ensure that individuals, who are experiencing pain, do not move unnecessarily and the prescribed pain killers are given to them before the shower, bath or any wash. By doing this I am maintaining comfort, showing maximum respect and dignity. (58. 5. 1) I always make sure that the area where the personal hygiene is going to take place is private, I get all the required materials to use ready before hand, offer the service users a choice to decide on their own what they prefer, either a bath or a shower and I respect their cultural and religious beliefs.

When it comes to toileting I always ask them to find out which kind of toiletries they like to use, I ensure all the equipments for use are safe and in good order. I do find out how much the service user can do independently, make sure the person knows how to call for help in case they need it and I do not rush them. Last but not least I give them maximum respect and dignity which is very important because this makes them feel secure, loved and cared for properly. Some times an occupational therapist can be needed to offer the service user advice on how to use some equipments and how they can manage independently. (58. 5. 1)

Most of the individuals I support live in their own homes and some are in sheltered accommodation but in separate apartments. After doing laundry work, I sort clothes properly, put all the clean ones neatly on hangers and in drawers. I always make sure that service users’ hair combs and brushes are kept clean after use, sometimes I encourage service users to remove any hair in them as a way of killing boredom.

For example last week I used the following sentences to encourage Mrs. T to clean her hair equipments “It seems your combs needs your attention Mrs. T, can you have a look” she laughed so loud and immediately started to remove the hair and dust from them. (58. 5. 2) I do make sure that all the old creams and make up are discarded because they can harbor germs and cause infections. Some of the service users do no like throwing away their stuff, therefore in this case i use persuasive words such as “Mrs. J, don’t you think this old cream or make up will cause an irritation on your skin, it is not advisable to use any cream if it is expired”.

I always make sure that I hand a tissue to the service user to use and remind them that make up can create stains on clothes which can be difficult to remove or wash clean. For example, Ms. L was putting nail vanish on her finger nails, I gave her a napkin to protect her skirt from the vanish spills, at first she did not want to use it, but I said to her with a smile that “Ms L, let me hope you this skirt will not be in the bin on Friday”. She asked me, why? I replied to her, I do not this vanish we will be able to remove this vanish from this fabric once it spills there.

She immediately asked for the napkin to protect her beautiful skirt from the vanish stains. (58. 5. 2) I do make sure individuals I support use clean razors which are in working order and foils of electric and safety razors used for wet shaves are clean and not blunt. Some service users have a tendency of not discarding their razors even if they are blunt, in this case I use my persuasive communication language to help me sensitize them about the dangers of using such gadgets.

For instance Mr. G had an attachment to his Phillips old shaving razor despite of the fact that it was blunt and not working properly, I said to him in a calm and polite way that his razor was responsible for his blisters that come up after every shave. He defended his razor and suggested changing the after shave, I made it clear to him that his idea will not solve the problem unless the new razor was bought. I gave him the names of places like Argos where he can get the same razor on sale and cheap, he listened to my advice and replaced the old one. (58. 5.

2) I encourage individuals who prefer doing their personal care independently to keep their combs, shaving razors, make up, creams and clothes in their respective places because this makes their rooms to look neat and organized. By giving them praises such as well done Ms. L your bathroom and bed room look very beautiful today and everything is in order, such statements motivate them. For those who cannot tidy their rooms or bathrooms, it is my responsibility to do it for them the way they like them to be. Some Individuals like their personal care items to be near them all the time or on the table next to their chair.

If it is their choice I do respect it as longer as they are safe and will not be harmed by any item. (58. 5. 2) During the training and the induction as care workers we were trained to tell what is normal for an individual and what is not, this helps in preventing discomfort or any serious health problem happening. Because of individuality, what is normal to Mr. J can be abnormal to Mrs. M and it is always my duty to notice and note any changes or concerns and report immediately. Since my work involves providing daily support to service users, I can easily tell if there is even any slight change in some ones

health. (58. 6. 2) For instance I know the normal urine has to be clear and straw coloured, however it usually stronger in the morning and appears more yellowish or orange. I understand very well that passing urine should be pain less and normal, if I observe that the individual is finding it difficult, I report to the manager immediately. If I realize the individual’s urine is cloudy and smells fishy, this is a sign that the individual has an infection. I report this immediately to the manager and write it down in the log sheet.

Sometimes I do contact the individual’s doctor to book an appointment for the service user to be examined. For example some months ago I noticed that Mr. D’s colour of urine had traces of blood, I informed my manger who told me to ring the service user’s GP and book a medical appointment for him. Later on it was found out that he had the infection in his urethra which was treated and his urine colour is normal now. (58. 6. 2) I always record any abnormal urine colour in the log sheet and report to my manager or the supervisor the concerns immediately.

I make sure the service user is informed of any abnormality or changes in their urine and for those who are independent I always keep reminding them to check the colour of their urine and inform me if they have any concerns. As with urine, what is normal feaces with one service user may be abnormal for another, therefore, it very important that i keep an eye on the colour and texture of their feaces. If I observe that the feaces of the service user are dry that means they are constipated, then I have to encourage them to take fluids and to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

During the food and nutrition course, we were trained that it is important to give service users a diet of food with enough fibre to prevent constipation. (58. 6. 2) Laxatives have been prescribed to some service users with constipation problem, I was advised to always record the food and drink taken by each service user. I usually ask the service how their stool nature is and if they are going toilet normally. Doctors have often been referring service users to dieticians so that they can recommend changes to their diets.

Since most of the people I support are elderly, I have not been encountering women of child bearing age who need help with their menstruation periods. But still I do support ladies to keep themselves hygienically clean as women. I support them to wear panty liner or incontinence pads. to keep themselves clean. (58. 6. 2) Recording and reporting on an individual’s personal care in agreed ways is very important in health and social care. According to my work place, all care workers must record any personal care if necessary they can be asked to report what has been done as personal care .

It is vey important to record accurately on any sort of support that I give service users and note down all the health changes that I notice. The organisation I work for provided each service user with a care plan and a log sheet. It is the log sheet where each and every task done daily has to be recorded down and the name of the carer signed against it.. (58. 6. 3) As a care work I have to make sure that the recorded information is accurate because there could be serious consequences as a result of poor record keeping.

For example one service user declined a bath and I recorded it down, but when the social worker came to visit him, he complained that he has not been getting personal care. The recorded bit of information worked against him because I had put down all the excuses he was giving me to avoid a bath. When they read for him what was in the log sheet he remembered that he was the one who declined a bath but not me the care worker who did not do my duty properly. By recording all that information saved me so much or else I could have faced the disciplinary committee or expelled from work. (58. 6. 3)

According to my work place policy all the recorded information has to be true, for instance there is a care worker who was suspended because of recording what he had not done. He recorded what was to be done on Friday in the log sheet on Wednesday, unfortunately the service user was rushed to the hospital on Thursday night by the ambulance. On Friday morning the carer did not turn up because he had to do his private business, the office was called by the family member of that service user to inform them that his door locked door was locked and is in the hospital the carer should not go in on Friday.

When the social worker read the information in the service user’s log book was showing the carer was in the house Friday and found the service user ok which was not true. The manager was informed about the contradicting information in the log book then the care worker was called to the office to come and explain what exactly happened and found all the inaccurate information, it was considered to be fraud because the care worker wanted to earn money he had not worked for. Dishonesty is not allowed when recording information and he was warned after facing the disciplinary committee. (58. 6. 3)

Writing Quality

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A (100%)

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