“Someone might phone you during a major crisis in their life, but just one phone call can put them in a completely different frame of mind once they know how we can help and support them.”
Peta Jones is a Social Care Practitioner for Warwickshire County Council, specialising in supporting older people to lead safe, healthy and independent lives for as long as possible.
Working as a practitioner involves assessing older people’s needs in the community and establishing the right support for them. Day-to-day responsibilities include home visits, completing assessments and establishing what support is needed to help someone stay independent. Peta says:
“Our aim is to prevent older people from going into hospital and to keep them living independently in their own home for as long as possible.
“When we assess older people, we work on a strengths-based approach. We start off the assessment establishing what is working well and what they can do for themselves, we then move on to identifying the extra support we can offer that will help them maintain their independence.”
Peta, along with other Social Care Practitioners, also works on duty, dealing with any emergencies that come her way. Peta adds: “Working on the duty team can be challenging at times but it’s very rewarding. No two days are the same. You can deal with anything from carers struggling to cope through to elderly people who don’t have suitable living conditions. The important thing is we arrange the support that they need.” Most of the support provided to elderly residents is home care, helping them with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, shopping and taking medication.
Like many of the council’s community roles, Social Care Practitioner’s across Warwickshire have had to adapt since the Coronavirus pandemic. Many assessments now take place over the phone or on video calls and any emergency visits must be attended in full PPE, which is particularly crucial as many of the customers are clinically extremely vulnerable. Peta commented:
“Our roles have changed a lot since the pandemic, which was difficult to start with, but we knew we had to continue to do our best to support vulnerable residents. It’s more difficult finding the right support for residents over the phone so, with consent, we pull together a lot of background information, such as speaking to their GP and family members, so we can get the best picture of the care they need.”
Peta added: “Since the pandemic we’ve also seen a big increase in isolation. A lot of the time when you’re speaking to residents over the phone you might be the only person they’ve spoken to all week. So it’s really important to be empathetic and take the time to chat to them. It doesn’t always have to be focussed around the care they need - you also play a part in simply making them smile and improving their day.”
Social Care Practitioners play a big role in making a meaningful difference to the lives of people in Warwickshire and it’s a big responsibility that can be challenging at times. Peta says: “There’s so much support out there for older people, part of my role is making sure they and their families are aware of it.
“Working as a Social Care Practitioner can be really challenging but it’s very fulfilling when you realise you’ve supported someone in the community and made a big difference to their lives.
“Someone might phone you during a major crisis in their life and sometimes it’s their first ever experience of speaking to the council about social care. Just that one phone call can put someone experiencing a crisis into a completely different frame of mind once they know about how we can help and support them.”
Social Care Practitioners have similar duties to a Social Worker, but applicants do not require any professional qualifications. There are lots of opportunities to develop your career at Warwickshire County Council and many Social Care Practitioners have joined apprenticeships, secondments and training schemes to become qualified social workers.
Warwickshire County Council is recruiting for full and part-time Social Care Practitioners to work with older people across the county. You’ll help them identify their strengths, achieve their ambitions and build trusting relationships. This is the difference you make working for Warwickshire.
To apply, view the Social Care Practitioner job profile here. The application closing date is 4th February 2021.
For a full list of vacancies at Warwickshire County Council, go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/jobs.