Here in the U.K., care jobs are aplenty, homecare, residential care, specialist care etc etc.. it’s not hard to get a care job and a lot of people unfortunately get one because it’s easy to get in. the money isn’t great and the hours are long so if you aren’t the sort of person who actually wants to work in care you shouldn’t. It isn’t a stop gap job until you find something you actually want to do. Everything you do as a care worker impacts somebody’s life, it’s not so easy for people in receipt of your care to just forget you know?
As a care worker you get to recognise those that aren’t really into it, they won’t do anything other than their job description, they don’t do a bad job exactly you can just tell their hearts aren’t in it. For instance if their shift finishes at 7 and a resident asks for something they will say oh I’m going home now ask the next shift or if a resident needs something maybe just from the shop down the road… they will tell them to ring their family instead of just taking 5 minutes to go get them stuff.
Then you get the worst sort of people ever. The abusers. Whenever you start a new care job, the abuse procedure is seared into your mind, you get all the numbers you are supposed to ring, instructions on what to do etc etc, all really good on paper… but in theory? Nobody tells you about the huge personal sacrifice you make when you report abuse.
In my experience I stopped the woman doing what she was doing immediately, but I didn’t actually report her until the next day for all sorts of reasons that now seem so irrelevant. I thought I was doing the right thing. The confidentiality you are promised goes straight out of the window, everyone at work now seems to know what happened and the amount of colleagues that came and told me their own experiences with this woman but refused to back me up or go to tell the manager was sickenly astounding.
In the safeguarding meeting that followed my actions were pulled apart until I felt like I was the one that had done something wrong. In the end the perpetrator got reinstated because there was no physical proof and the man involved couldn’t remember due to his learning difficulties.
I cannot explain how that broke me. Knowing she was free to do what she liked, it was a brain injury unit, most patients wouldn’t remember if she hurt them. I couldn’t work there anymore. the first thing it cost me was my job, then my mental health, I was vulnerable in front of someone I’d known half my life and he tore everything away from me… lastly I lost my home and my relationship.
Talking with coworkers at my current job I’m always taken aback by the amount of them with similar stories! Is it worth speaking up about abuse? My former colleagues saw everything speaking out cost me, are they likely to say anything knowing the potential personal cost? Or would it be easier to turn a blind eye?
How can you protect people from abuse when those there to protect them let them down so badly? It frightens me. If I could go back to the day I witnessed the abuse I would absolutely still report it and I will report it back in if ever witness it again, but how many people wouldn’t?
Caring for people is my calling. I love my residents as a if they were my own family, I love getting to know them and their quirks. The moment one of them calls you by your name is priceless! I hope I won’t ever stop caring whatever the cost.
I wrote this because I found out this week the gentleman involved in the abuse died of covid and it made everything so painfully raw! I just hope she stopped what she was doing and he had the rest of his life abuse free ❤️❤️
I tried to give you a voice and I was silenced in more ways than you could ever imagine, I had to walk away because I couldn’t see it happen anymore. But I hope you knew… you are a big reason why I’m following the career path I’ve chosen, to give people like you a voice, unfortunately we were let down but every person I do manage to help in the future, I’ll think of you everytime ❤️❤️ RIP JB xxx