Continuing our series in which we look at the various roles of staff in NHG, we focus on care worker Camille Walters.
Why and when did you join NHG?
I’ve been doing this type of work for 13 years. I was working for Notting Hill Housing via an agency and one of the care managers asked me to join as a full time member of staff, which I did in November 2013 .
What is your role?
I’m a Domiciliary Care Officer (DCO) at Conrad Court, a supported housing scheme in Lewisham. Some residents live independently but others need extra care. My duties as a carer involve housekeeping, helping residents with dressing, personal care and hygiene, administering medication and getting their shopping. There are over 70 residents here at present, the oldest being 101.
What can a typical day look like?
We make sure the residents have showered, have clean clothes to wear, and that their rooms are clean. We try to make them happy and as comfortable as possible.
How has the current lockdown or COVID 19 conditions changed your job?
To start with it was a little scary and a struggle, but we’re now used to wearing our masks, applying hand gel, shoe covers and aprons. We need to protect residents and ourselves. It’s been difficult for residents as they can’t sit outside in the garden and we need to engage and reassure them a lot more. Some residents find it hard to deal with staff wearing masks but keeping everybody safe is our priority.
What do you find the most rewarding?
When I leave work knowing that the residents are happy, smiling and comfortable and that my colleagues are OK. Sometimes residents can’t see their families, so we’re glad we’re here for them.
What are the frustrations?
These days, it’s hard having to take so many extra precautions and on occasions having to isolate residents because they may feel unwell. But it’s what we now need to do for the safety of residents and staff. But I love my job and that’s rewarding.
What do you do in spare time?
I have three fish tanks with different species of Malawi cichlids. I have over 80 fish now. I love watching them ‘dancing’. I also enjoy cooking and baking and love putting up my hair, getting it in a style. I keep in touch with my family both here and in Jamaica every day.
One thing you would like residents to know about where you work?
It is a really good place for family members to come and stay. We support residents in every way we can and thankfully have had no issues with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Camille was interviewed by Colin Burns, one of our involved residents.
A day in the life of a housing operations manager
A day in the life of a floating housing officer
A day in the life of a customer service advisor