England & Wales Health and social care

Diary of a home care worker, Part 5



Each day this week, as part of the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce, we’re sharing the week in a life of a home care worker. This first hand account from a care worker in the North East of England highlights the issues of care quality and fair pay and conditions that the Commission is addressing.


Ahh – only another 15 hours of work ahead then two whole days off to spend time with my family. It feels like I’ve been at work for months now. My husband is off again tonight so I am just working straight through. I hope to make at least half an hour so I get a chance to come home and see him and the kids, maybe even get something to eat!

Well that was a stupid idea, where did I get the idea I may get a lunch break, I thought 15 hours for one day was more than enough then someone called in sick!

Originally I had a sit this afternoon followed by four tea calls, two medication prompts, three undresses and three put-to-beds. I was then expected to fit in an extra two tea calls and a medication prompt followed by an extra call to put someone to bed.

It’s impossible to stick to my times I had to start getting people ready for bed at 5.30 and cut most calls down to 15-20 minutes and the medications were done in 10 minutes each. I hate cutting calls but if I didn’t I would still be putting people to bed after midnight.

It’s not always comfortable being out late at night travelling alone but as none of my service users require two people I would never get anyone else to come out with me.

Lunch was a dried out offering from the local garage and a multi pack of crisps all of which I managed to eat whilst driving. What with that and the speed limits I have managed to break its surprising I haven’t got myself a criminal record today!

But on the bright side there was no time to waste so I have managed a day without any unpaid time, the down side being I don’t think any of my service users have had a conversation or quality time. After a quick shower and hello to my husband who was waiting up, I collapse into bed looking forward to doing something with my family. I haven’t seen my kids at all today.  The phone is to be ignored all weekend!!

  • Miles travelled: 64
  • Unpaid travel time: 0
  • Unpaid work time: 0

Read entries from Monday,  Tuesday,  Wednesday,  and Thursday.


Find out more about the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce , make your own submission or contact Ingrid Koehler, Senior Policy Researcher at LGiU at [email protected]


Photo Credit: incurable_hippie via Compfight cc