If you are thinking of a career in care, hopefully you can find some inspiration from our staff profiles.
Click on the puzzle pieces to find out more - 'A day in the life of…'
Hopefully, this will encourage you to join our team. See if you can unlock the puzzle to your career path.
We look forward to welcoming you!
One of the things that makes Swarthmore so special is the fantastic team members who work here. If you share our vision and values and see yourself as the next member of our wonderful team, we'd love to hear from you.
We take great pride in having such a great team and being an exemplary employer. When you join the team, benefit from flexible working, a free uniform, relevant training, breaks, a pension, free lunch and we’ll also pay for your DBS. In easy reach of High Wycombe, Beaconsfield, Amersham, Slough and London by road and rail, Swarthmore is an ideal and incredibly rewarding place to work. Our home also has a dedicated staff car park, making commuting even easier.
Whether you're new to care or have a wealth of experience and are looking for a new challenge, click on the button below to see our current vacancies, or feel free to email us a speculative application including your CV and cover letter.
The evening starts with a full hand over/update from the previous shift which gives me an understanding of the residents’ state of health or needs for the evening or any information for the start of the following day - such as early appointments.
I then check that my care staff are happy with their requirements for their shifts. My shift then starts with the medication round which can take up to 2 hours at the start of the evening.
During my rounds I generally ask how everyone is and what they got up to during the day. As you get to know people it is a two-way conversation - they also ask how my day was - which is special. I also pop my head around the door of others who do not need a medication visit. Once this is complete its time to write up my notes which covers medication and anything else reported on my rounds.
Each resident has a different routine - some are late going to bed, may need two carers, like a hot drink/snack. I may have specific residents to care for each evening due to their needs. Throughout the evening shift we generally check on each resident every couple of hours if no special measures are set out.
If someone is unwell, our observation checks are then carried out more frequently - this could be every half an hour/hourly dependent on their needs.
Supervision - staff may need guidance during the shift as different situations occur.
Keeping up to date with Policies/Procedures/Health & Safety and Training. It is my duty to ensure that carers working under my supervision adhere to the above whilst on duty.
Midnight – checks are carried out on residents - Staff check each resident unless they have specified not to do so. We are checking they are safe in bed - awake or asleep, or they need anything else for the evening. Care needs are also met on these rounds especially for residents that cannot meet their own needs.
0200 hours - Checks made to ensure everyone is safe in bed and any other requirements needed for the care.
0400 hours - As above
On certain days of the week I must carry out various audits of:
0600 hours - Early medication for the resident’s that have time sensitive medication.
0630-0700 hours - Final check on all residents to make sure all is well before I leave. Write-up of my notes from my last round.
0700 hours - I handover to colleagues for day shift.
0715 hours - shift finishes but I will always stay if needed to make sure all my notes are up to date on the care records. If there are staff shortages or problems arise, we will stay on to help the early shift.
As you can imagine each evening is different some evenings are quiet, and others are very busy. I like to keep busy so I will try and find something to occupy the breaks in-between - filing, photocopying, a spot of cleaning, stocking cupboards etc…
Other Areas that I consider an important part of my role:
End of Life care - personally for me this is an area that I will always take upon myself where possible. It’s so important to show empathy during these emotional times not only to the resident but their families too. I am happy to support the family, sit with the resident if they have no family around them as they should not be left alone as they draw closer to the end of their life. A simple token such as a cup of tea or a blanket for a family member. Holding the hand of the resident - just being present! - Kelly Richards
When a resident health suddenly changes
If a resident becomes unwell during the shift or illness progresses, we will take the following action. We will take the necessary steps which can mean a need to call for an ambulance or our 24 hour Digital Care Hub - Immedicare. This service guides us through steps to follow to deal with any issues and then agree a plan of action so we can carry this out. This could be a GP visit arranged, admission to hospital, regular observations to be taken and phoning back with updates during the night.
Unfortunately, we may have to deal with a resident passing and would therefore follow the correct procedure. This will include calling a GP, funeral services, family, and Manager.
On the odd occasion we may have to deal with fire alarms. Thankfully, false alarms mainly but procedures must be followed with limited staff. If any major problem arises like a burst pipe etc then we call out emergency companies and inform the manager.
My day starts off allocating work to housekeepers, this is shared between the Old and New Wing of the home, lounge, quiet room, dining area, corridors, toilets, and communal bathrooms. Laundry and housekeeping are the main areas of work each day and of course it goes with saying - you need to be able to make conversation with our residents.
A thorough clean of each room is carried out once a week. This means that the resident should leave their room so we can carry out a ‘deep clean’. Areas addressed here are:
Each day we carry out a tidy around in each bedroom - emptying bins, bathrooms kept clean, fresh towels etc.
Regulate the storage and record all cleaning chemicals so its meets COSHH requirements.
Supervision - staff may need assistance at times/guidance with new areas
Keeping up to date with Policies/Procedures/Health & Safety and Training. It is my duty to ensure that housekeepers adhere to the above whilst carrying out their role within the home.
Over the years we build friendships with our residents and it a pleasure to come in to work and discuss life! My favourite area of the home is the ‘Quiet Room’, I always make sure this is presentable for everyone to sit back and reflect. Flowers are always present; it has a sense of tranquility. Louise Hall
I feel it is my responsibility to ensure the home looks presentable, comfortable, and safe for everyone. Some days throw up different challenges or problems, so you have to be ready to deal with them. Final check of the day - walk around the home to make sure all areas meet my standards.
Well what can I say - No day is the same - you must be ready to face whatever is thrown at you!
You need to be able to communicate with everyone and strike relationships with residents, their families and of course the team. I also work closely with the Trustees and other professionals in the industry. My main responsibility is ensuring that our all residents are kept safe and well.
Having an open door - supporting and listening to anyone that enters. People tell me all sorts of things, and over the years I feel humbled by conversations I have had both with residents and staff.
The core responsibility is carrying out risk assessments, planning and lots of meetings. Ensuring we are compliant with Laws, Health and Safety, Financial Regulations, Health and Wellbeing of residents and all areas are maintained to a high standard to keep everyone safe. It is my legal responsibility to keep us up to date with changes in legislation. Of course, this goes without saying I have assistance from other members of my team. This consists of a strong Senior Management team – HR, H&S, Marketing, Accounts, Residents Care, Infection Control and Activities. Each area has an important role to enable Swarthmore to be such a great place to live and work in. Keeping up to date with changes in the local and wider community, updates in employment law and a significant amount of policies involved in running a care home. Making sure that future training is carried out and that we comply with new regulations; these are all bits and pieces that happen behind the scenes, areas that take time to apply.
I thoroughly enjoy catching up with residents over a cup of tea and an activity. It is difficult to give my time to everyone and I know that residents would like me to spend more time with them. I have a great team who keep me up to date with daily events. Communication is carried out through meetings, supervisions, training, and it goes without saying WhatsApp, email, telephone and the list goes on…
The best part of my job… If a small gesture can make a huge difference to one of our residents – then I have been successful in my day!
The worst part… paperwork, oh and filing!
“Swarthmore is an extended family home to me; my family have been welcomed by numerous people. Residents and staff have played a key role in my development as a manager and a person. I only hope I have made a difference to them too.” Claire Allsopp
My role has variable shift patterns throughout the weeks, so flexibility is important.
My day starts off with temperature/pulse and oxygen checks.
I then receive a handover from the Seniors finishing their shifts, this gives me a full update on all residents. I can then determine the needs for residents during my shifts. I then set out a schedule for the day which gives staff their responsibilities during my shift and finally make sure everyone is comfortable.
The medical rounds start for the day prescribing medication to residents. This may be required at specific times throughout the day.
There is quite a lot of administration around my role actioning diaries, arranging doctors’ appointments, organizing prescriptions, district nurse and any other medical visits.
Each day is different you never know what may happen, so you need to be prepared to drop things and assist your colleagues.
I feel that this role will also progress as I move forward as we are learning new things each day.
Of course, it goes with saying always having a smile on your face and time to chat with the residents - Lizzy O’Donnell
My day starts with an update from the Senior Carer’s. We are informed of any changes in our resident’s health or requirements since the previous day.
I then begin my day by helping residents prepare for the day. Remembering to knock on the door of the resident’s room and wait for a response, it’s very important to show respect. Always be polite ask how they are, make the conversation fun whilst you explain you are going to help them prepare for the morning. Each resident has a different routine and needs, so here is a snapshot of what you may carry out:
Mid-morning - serving teas/coffees, helping with activities. Clearing away cups, plates etc - making sure the home is always tidy.
Lunch - feeding residents either in the dining room or maybe in their rooms. After lunch, some residents like to retire to their rooms for an afternoon rest. Incontinence care is carried out between 4-5 times a day with specific residents.
Being aware that the alarm call bell may ring at any time so I may need to go to a residence assistance immediately - this could be someone not feeling well or maybe just require a drink!
My notes need to be completed throughout the day - this provides a report outlining my care during the shift.
Joining in with activities - crafts, dancing, singing is my favourite I will join in here and make my voice heard! When the weather is kind to us, some residents like to relax in our wonderful gardens, so it is making sure they are comfortable and safe, providing refreshments.
Dinner - Feeding residents in their rooms, dining area, clearing away plates etc, providing drinks. Making sure everyone is happy and comfortable.
Evening - some residents like to go to bed earlier than others. Assistance with changing into their bed clothes. I like to stay with them until they are comfortable and safe.
Final call of the day - completing my notes ready for the next shift.
When Agatha was asked what she likes the most about here role, she could only say - “I love everything about my job. It’s about making sure the residents are comfortable and happy and I do my best to ensure they are. They are my extended family.” Agatha Robinson
My shift starts with a handover from the morning staff; I like to walk around to all the residents and check in on them. Have a brief chat with them and make sure all is well. Building relationships is all about making this a special place. This also reassures me that they are all happy whilst in my care. Good banter goes a long way!
During lockdown, our measures are changing all the time, when my staff check in, I am currently checking their temperatures. This is a precaution, so we keep everyone as healthy as possible. PPE is also issued for the shift. I prepare the schedule for the day which allocates carers responsibilities during their shift with me. I feel I have a great relationship with my staff we have a good balance of work ethics. Avril Byrne
I am here to make sure everything goes to plan:
Emergencies may happen at any point - being prepared for the unknown and dealing with them in a professional manner.
Before I leave in the evening, I always walk around the building making sure the home is safe and secure. This includes closing all windows, locking external doors, making sure all residents are comfortable and safe in their rooms. Saying goodnight to everyone - I believe this makes them feel at home. Finally, handover to the evening staff - updating any changes with residents’ health etc. Heading home - Good Night.
Mornings - sometimes I may have to pop to the shops to purchase items for daily activities - such as newspapers for Current Affairs.
Daily calls and emails - confirmation of bookings for activities/events. Keeping in touch with specific groups such as FANs.
Video Calls - due to the current lockdown - this has become part of our daily routine so residents can communicate with their families.
I am provided with a budget so lots of planning around activities/events throughout the year, so this takes some organising.
Planning a monthly activity in advance, this includes booking entertainers, musicians, outings etc. The weekly activity schedule is prepared and distributed amongst residents so they can choose what they would like to participate in.
Preparation for activities each day, this includes props/craft items for example. I have a calendar of events for the year so I can plan each topic of the day which may include researching an event, printing off material etc. We may have residents that take part in activities in their own room, this is additional time spent on a one to one basis.
Occasional assistance with morning coffee/teas or removing any breakfast trays from rooms.
Keeping up to date with Policies/Procedures/Health & Safety and Training. It is my duty to ensure that my team are following these whilst carrying out their activities with the residents.
Allocating and supervising activities between my team and carer’s. Organise a monthly meeting around activities to discuss ideas and any areas of concern. This may change due to cancellation of activities due to sickness. I also spend my own time researching new ideas and purchasing items, flexibility is paramount. I keep in regular contact on my days off, so I can step in to assist if additional assistance is required.
Two periods of activity during each day - morning and afternoons. After finishing each activity, I write up notes about the resident’s participation.
Paperwork - includes filing expenses, documentation etc.
Here’s a snapshot around a typical day:
Building relationships with the residents and their families takes time. Welcoming residents to a new chapter in their life. Let them know you are there for them even if it’s just a ‘Good Morning and a Smile’, this is hopefully the route to great friendship.
I believe I am privileged to spend time with our lovely residents and hopefully I enhance their life. Like any job there are downsides, I find there is never enough time in the day, on occasions I find that I am often chasing myself. Having said that - I would not change it for the world! Ann Marie Coulter
My day starts checking temperatures of staff coming on to shift; this is to safeguard everyone in the home due to Covid 19. Greeting the residents with a ‘Good Morning/Evening’ is always a privilege.
My next move is catching up with the Senior staff from the previous shift to receive updates of any changes to residents or issues that may have occurred. This helps me to prioritise my schedule around any areas of concern.
It is important to remember it’s the resident’s home and we love to have fun with them, it's about building friendships, and creating a home for everyone - Agata Met
Here is a snapshot of my role:
Of course, each day is different, being flexible and happy to put your hand to whatever may occur - no two days are the same! - Tracey Dovell