Providing home care in North Yorkshire’s rural communities
Offering home care in North Yorkshire is never dull: every
day presents a new challenge or opportunity.
From our head office in Harrogate, we cover a relatively
urban area, which means tackling traffic (or skipping through it on our electric bikes!) and caring for people in a fairly large community.
For our satellite office in Settle, the challenges are
rather different, as deputy manager Suzanne Sunderland explains...
From our Settle
office, we cover a large area, from Hellifield and Gargrave in the south up to
Burton in Lonsdale on the Lancashire border. While the carers in Harrogate are
facing traffic, we’re driving around little country roads. The worst we face is
tractors and sheep – although we do have to think about bad weather in the
Some of our carers
aren’t drivers, so we pair them up with those who are. They get to know each
other well as they’re going around seeing clients. Once they make friends, it
works really nicely, and the clients get good continuity of care.
I think that’s one of
the most interesting things about providing home care in North Yorkshire around
a rural area: often, we’re working in small communities, and the carers live in
those communities too. A lot of our carers have worked with us for years, so
they’re a familiar face around the villages and towns. In many cases, the
carers are people the clients know through friends or family members, which
helps them to feel at ease. It’s that sense of people in the community looking
after each other. If you know someone knew your dad from working with him years
ago, it’s something to talk about as well.
We have about 60 clients
being cared for by staff based at our Settle office. Many of them don’t see
people very often – if they live remotely and can’t get out and about easily,
the carer may be the only person they see on a regular basis. We do a lot of
companionship here – calling in for half an hour or more to have a chat, make a
cup of tea, and offer a friendly face and a listening ear to someone who might
otherwise be very lonely.
One thing that makes
the Settle office very different from Harrogate is that we also have a shop
here, selling mobility aids, continence products and wheelchair accessories.
It’s run jointly by all of us in the office – whoever is in jumps up when we
hear the door – so we can use our experience of working as carers to help
people find the right products for their loved ones.
We do get quite a few
of our clients calling in for supplies, but we also have customers from the
wider community. More often than not, we have a good chat with them about what
they need, and if we’re able to help them get access to other services and
support, we do that too.
A few months ago, we
had a lady call in who was caring for her elderly parents. Her mum was just
about to be discharged from hospital and she and her sisters were going to care
for her, but they had no idea where to start. Most people have no experience of
caring for someone or accessing help and support, so it can be really
Suddenly, this lady was
in tears. I made her a cup of tea and had a long chat with her, then I advised
her to speak to her GP and get referred for additional support. A few weeks
later she came back to say her mum was out of hospital and at home, and after
seeing the GP they had managed to access the right services to support them.
Just the other day,
she came back in to the shop. She told me her dad had sadly passed away, but
she wanted to thank me for my advice because it had made the last few months of
her dad’s life so much easier and better for all of them.
That’s one of the best
things about working in the shop, and around Settle: it’s not just about the
clients we’re caring for, but about our role in the community. All our carers
do a fantastic job. They get to know the clients and their needs – we often
find ourselves at home wondering how Mrs Smith got on with her hospital
appointment, whether Mr Jones has heard back from the GP yet, or even if Mrs
Parker’s new grandchild has been born yet.
People know they can
rely on us. Our carers are trusted and depended upon by the people they see
every day and there’s so much value in the work they do. I’m always proud to
tell people I work for Continued Care.
To contact Continued Care's Settle office, click here.