Care manager Kayleigh Wilson from Perth and her team at Cera are celebrating being named one of the top 20 home care providers in the UK.
Team member Chris McKee, who left teaching and became a complex needs carer, shares his story.
He is one of a team of carers looking after Scott, who has muscular dystrophy.
The team at Cera help Scott lead an independent life in his own home with 24/7 care.
Chris says: “I lived in Japan for 12 years and came back to this country 18 months ago.
“I was a teacher in an international school but my Japanese teaching qualifications didn’t qualify me for anything here in Scotland.
“I was an early years teacher so I thought there might be crossover skills, as that involves caring, empathy and hands-on work.
“To be honest, I didn’t know for sure but decided to go for it.”
Chris met Scott at an interview and they hit it off right away.
“We spent pretty much the whole time discussing his interests in football and sci-fi,” says Chris.
What did you expect of the job?
“Before taking the role with Scott, I didn’t really have much of an idea of what being a complex care worker would entail.
“The main thing that surprised me was the type of relationship you build with people. When I was teaching I made a good bond with the children in the class and saw them grow and learn.
“At the end of a year they move on to another teacher. In this role that never happens. You get to see all parts of their life on a daily basis.
“The line of professionalism is always there but the relationship naturally becomes deeper because you see all the good and bad parts!
“There is nowhere to hide. I prefer it that way because you can be yourself and do your best at work without worrying what others think about you.”
What are you most proud of?
“There is plenty to be proud of as a complex care worker.
“We assist people to live the life they want to. We support them to achieve their goals and I often feel like any victory of Scott’s is also a victory of mine.
“Often, the simple little things make me proud. Mostly it is small things, like moving some furniture around to make the environment easier to negotiate or finding some novel solution to an unusual problem.
“Scott requires a ventilator to breathe and uses a wheelchair. He has limited movement and can operate a mouse and TV remote, but mostly he is unable to move at all.
“At Scott’s, the care workers used to hold his cup up for him to sip his tea or juice, as he is unable to lift a cup by himself. But it was time consuming for the workers and frustrating for Scott.
“Then one day someone had the idea of buying a really long straw so he could set his cup on his tray and just sip it when he wanted freely. Scott loves it!”
Do you think care is an underrated job?
“It is a very underrated job. Some of the people I have worked with are just so skilled and have a very keen sense of what those in their care need.
“I’m often amazed at the talented people I’ve worked with and see how they, apparently effortlessly, cheer people up, sort out their daily needs, get them ready for action, contribute to their joy and enjoyment of life and leave people feeling valued.
There are rarely emergencies… and it sometimes feels like just me and Scott hanging out at his house! Leading as normal a life as possible.”
“It’s not an easy thing to do and is certainly not effortless.
“Scott has managed to cope with his muscles slowly losing strength with great calm, patience and a determination to live life.
“He’s just a normal guy who has a terrible condition but hasn’t let it overcome him at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.”
What would you say to others thinking of taking a complex carer role?
“I’d greatly encourage them to do so. It is challenging and trying at times, but rewards you with some valuable insight into the lives of others and a sense of what is truly important in life.
“There is always guaranteed to be some banter and good laughs along the way.
“Scott always says what he feels! He loves football and TV series and computers and likes to keep up to date with the news and politics.
“He’s a self-confessed science and computer geek and both he and I take that as a term of high praise.”
Cera’s complex care division supports patients across Scotland.
Cera Care’s Kayleigh Wilson says: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the award as a top 20 UK care at home company for what we do on a daily basis to care for people in our area of Scotland.
“We know that care at home is a vital service for those who need extra help to live independently, and it’s always good to receive the feedback for our care teams.
“I want to say a huge thank you to our staff who deliver these services in Perthshire, Fife and Kinross.
“They pulled out all the stops through one of the most challenging periods of all of our lives. I am extremely proud of their achievements.
“A career in care is rewarding and brings a sense of achievement.
“The added extra is that you bring happiness and joy to people on a daily basis and provide comfort for those that don’t have families or friends close by.”