My plain life

trying something different

Another Day working as a Health Care Assistant — May 28, 2016

Another Day working as a Health Care Assistant

This little article will try and make people see what it is like working as a health care assistant within a mental health hospital. There are many different names a healthcare worker will be known as, such names as Nursing assistant, Health care assistant, Nursing Assistant or Nursing Auxiliary just to name a few. To work as a health care worker there is at the minute but it is looking like the health authority may change that in the future. One of the main things you need is a good understanding of people, a caring side no matter what happens and to be none judgemental attitude towards people no matter why they are there.

People (patients) will   be in hospital for all sorts of reasons; I have come across people that have been admitted due to developing mental health problems due to the stress of being in prison. Patients come in for reasons of being abused by people known to them, Witnessing traumatic events such as war crimes to them or others. Eating disorders, Schizophrenia, self harm due to abuse or trauma. Depression and bipolar are just to name a few. Yes they are or can be big issues for newly diagnosed patients but with the right medication treatment and therapy to deal with problems they can be managed well on the ward and in the community.

Just because some one has this diagnosis it does not mean that you have to cross the street when you see them or that they are dangerous. The best and most supportive thing you can do for someone with a mental health problem is say HELLO or just ask HOW ARE YOU? Then be there for them, listen to them and treat them like a friend or an individual. Don’t judge  them because of an illness. Be an ear for them, a person to talk to or just sit with them and spend time with them. Don’t get me wrong it can be difficult at times and you will hear stories of a horrific nature whether its something they have done or they have had done to them. All you need to do is listen and not show expressions of shock or horror in your face. Listen, give guidance if they need it and be supportive no matter what. Some patients may have urges to hurt themselves at times and all you need to do is be supportive and try and guide them away from wanting to hurt themselves. This can be difficult and mentally stressful on you. So no matter how mentally strong you think you are you will need to unload on your mentor or a colleague just so the stress of the information does not well and build up and stress you out.

With what I have written the job role is extremely rewarding and mentally fulfilling and when you have had input with a patient and you see them doing well and then they move on to a better placement or even back home. You must think that you have had a massive input on that persons life and made it better. Doing this job is definitely not for the money but the emotional rewards is massive. I work in a very stressful job as a health care assistant and have been doing for over 19 years. The place I work is very demanding and can be physically demanding at times due to the nature of the patients and their problems but no matter what happens I can’t see myself working anywhere else. If you decide to become a health care assistant you will come across people (staff) that are good at de-escalation, dealing with confrontation, and one or two staff will be good all round no matter what is going on on the ward.

Myself, without trying to sound big headed, I can deal with most situations such as aggression, confrontation, self harm or just a shoulder to cry on. I always pass over to the nurse in charge what has been disgust and enter everything in the  patients notes whether it be hand written or electronic patient notes. At the end of every week or day depending how stressful it has been I sit in a room with someone I feel I can talk to and unload onto them. What you need to remember is when you speak to the colleague is not to be afraid to show your emotions when chatting, this helps you release the stress.

Ordinary day for Jack — June 1, 2015

Ordinary day for Jack

Toaday is an usual day for Jack, this is because he has no work on today and he has not had any messages to come into work. So at this moment intime all Jack is doing is Just laying awake in bed looking at the clock on the wall ticking by second after second, minute after minute. After a while the clock hits eight oclock so Jack decides to get up and gets dressed in his gym gear. Obviously he doesn’t have a shower as he will be twice as smelly and sweaty when he gets back from the gym. So after getting dressed Jack goes down stairs and tries notr to wake his wife who is sleeping in bed. Jack prepares his protient shake (2 scoops) with raspberry flavouring and a 800 ml of squash with a little pinch of salt added to replace the lost salt from his workout. This squash to be fair is just like buying one of those workout drinks but only home made. Jack checks he has got his lock and key for his locker, music while he works out so he can drown out everything around him and concentrate during workout, gloves to reduce the chance of gripping blisters and finaly his sweat towel to mop his brow during workout.

Once hitting the gym Jack starts of with a cardio workout of twenty five minutes at a steady run, during his run Jack ups the pace a little more then after a few minutes reduces the pace, so his heart rate goes up and then goes down to make his body work harder. This will hopefully help Jack build up his endurance and help Jack burn some of his body fat as well at the same time. In Jacks line of work it does help for him to stay and keep fit as sometimes being inrestraint can have a toll on your body aand fitness will reduce the toll on this. After Jack finishes his run he decides to go to the seated row to work out on his back, some machines will be different in weight but Jack decides to set it at 70kg and does about 13 reps and repeats this at least four times. This works out those little wings on the side of you body lol. After this Jack strolls over to the free weights area and sees that are a lot of big lads around this area and most of them appear to be zoned out and concentrating on just them selfs. This is why Jack likes this gym he goes to as most people don’t stand in front of the mirror admiring themselves, People just get on with their own stuff. Once in the free weight area Jack decides to work on his biceps and does it standing with a barbell. On the barbell Jack sets the weight at about 25kg and does 15 reps and repeats this at least four times and after this Jack can feel his arms about to burst as he does his reps at a quick pace just to push his body that little bit harder. Once this is done Jack gets a dumbbell at the weight of 27.5kg and decides to do a one arm row, which means Jack kneels on a bench with one knee and braces himself with one arm and pulls the hanging weight upp to his chest at least 13 times and repeats this four times each arm. This will work out his back muscles at the top of his back/shoulders. Jack walks over to the lateral Pull down and sets the weight at about 65 kg and works out his back again with his biceps secondly. This for Jack after working parts of his back out is starting to be a little bit harder now. He does this though just to push himself that little bit harder and does 65kgs 13 reps at four sets and after Jack is now feeling it. Jack thhinks to himself why do I put myself threw this every other day. Walking over to the free weights again Jack picks up two dumbbells of 10 kgs and starts lateral arm raises to work his shoulders and the back of his neck, working the with reps of 15 and repeats these reps four times dropping the weights on the floor in pain but a good pain of accomplishment. Finally Jack decides to finish off with some more cardio and decides to set the running machine on a setting 5 which is hill running working up to 6% incline then after five minutes it straightens out again then repeats the angle of 6% again. Jack tries this for at least 15 minutes and does quite well at this. Jack knows if her had done this first he might of been able to do this a little better and faster, the only thing is now Jack is starting to feel the burn from working out. If any of the readers work out you will understand what Jack is feeling.

When Jack arrives home he strips off his gym clothes that are full of sweat and jumps in the shower, the reason Jack waits to get home and shower is because at the gym the showers are usually full and this will safe time and Jack can relax in the shower. After washing in the shower Jack dries himself off and hangs up his gym clothes to dry by an open window. Jacks wife is still alseep so Jack starts to walk down stairs and and goes to the kitchen. In the kitchen Jack makes himself a coffee and collapses on the sofa and puts on a film but turns down the volume so not to wake his wife up. Jack looks across at the time and it is already 12:00 midday but Jack decides to finish watching his film before making himself something to eat as he doesn’t feel hungry yet. Just because it is midday why should he eat if he is not hungry?.

Once the film has finished Jack wonders into the kitchen and makes himself a little snak to eat, he decides on some wheat bread crackers and mackerel in a sweet chilli sauce. Jack scoffs this down like there is no tomorrow and follows this with a green tea and mango drink. After washing his stuff up Jack wonders up to his room and jumps into bed where is wife is still sleeping. Did I not say, sorry but Jacks wife is still alseep as she worked a night shift and got home at five am that morning and she will work tonight as well. Whilst Jack is laying in bed he hears his phone ringing down stairs and jumps out of bed and rushes to his phone, answering it just in time. It is the agency asking if Jack can work a night shift in a hospital which is about 15 miles away from where he lives, this place is for the worst of the worst violent offenders with mental health problems. The agency say that because this place is such a high risk of situations the money will be about £35-45 an hour for a ten hour shift. Jack thinks that this is not to bad and agrees to take the work. This place Jack is going to is called Daniels Ward in a high secure unit where patients could be locked in the rooms for up to 2 hours off and on depending on their behaviour whilst mixing with other patients. If there is any risk or signs of a patient becoming unsettled they are escorted to their rooms and lock in there for a minimum of two hours. If a situation has started  due to a patient becoming unsettled then they will be secluded in a padded room for anything up to five hours depending on their behaviour during seclusion. On Daniels ward it is rare for a patient to be secluded long but it does happen.

Working in Mental Health — May 25, 2015

Working in Mental Health

Don’t get me wrong working in mental health has its good day but the good days out way the bad. If you have experienced this you will understand where I am coming from. You could get a patient admitted on a really low point in their life, something on the lines of committing suicide, self harming, taking a hostage due to hallucinations. What you need to do is remain natural in every situation. it is hard at times but think about the things that are going on in the person’s head like thoughts that are not theirs.

I have come across a patient one time who suffered from violent out bursts, killed little animals and would attack anyone who appeared a threat to them and their ways of living and thought process. This patient had an up bringing of witnessing constant violence , such as men beating on their mum or dad and other family members and have witnessed this from such an early age. When they grow up all they know is to deal with being told no or your wrong is to solve it with aggression. When someone does experience this all they will understand is aggression or violence is the only way forward in solving any situation. This patient had witnessed so much violence towards family members and them self that the only thing they understood was beating someone up was good and anyone showing them care, sympathy and compassion is to push them away in any way possible.The people that should love and care have done nothing but hurt people and them.

When we had this patient come in , it was difficult at first because you could be talking to them one minute and then the next they could be trying to beat the living day lights out of you. This was due to the patient suddenly hearing or seeing things telling them that the staff member is a bad person here to hurt you or that the staff member is not to be trusted. So what they will do is attack first and not let you in. At this point the best thing you can do is not to back away but push yourself forward into their ways as in keep showing you care and do care no matter what they give back. This patient did constantly attack me by punching and kicking me every time I spoke to them, this did not push me away it actually drew me closer as any one could see this patient was hurting emotionally and mentally but it was not under their control. I have ended a shift with this patient with bites, bruises, broken skin and black eyes. This did not push me away, as at the end of the day I could speak to the nurse in charge and unload it of my chest.

After about two weeks the patient sat and spoke to me saying that they understand that some of the staff are here to help them and some of the staff do actually care and not there for the money. Trust me the money is not that great for the work we do and the violence we could face. The patient spoke about the things they had observed and witnessed and then later they had spoken about the violent thoughts they had going on in their thoughts. One day the patient had spoken about violent thoughts they had towards me and another member of staff, which was quite horrific. Like I said before after a time of working in this line of work you will start to become unfazed by these situations. This patient wanted to knock me and this staff member unconscious and tie us up, once we was tied up the patient wanted cut our eyes out and replace them with glass so the patient could see them self doing things in the place where the eyes was. This did kind of worry me a little but I thought if I showed fear the patient could play on this and make things worse, plus I was not going to allow the patient to get the upper hand on me. Don’t get me wrong it was quite worrying to hear this but I loved my job and I wasn’t going to be put off by anyone but it did make me more aware of the patient.

When the patient had been here for a while they had opened up a lot towards certain staff and it got to the point when the violence and aggression decreased and they sat with staff talking about their thoughts and hallucinations they were experiencing, which if you work in this line of work is a vast improvement. Rather than acting on their experiences the patient would talk about it with staff they trusted or write it down on paper and ask for a reply either verbal or in writing. I have spent many an hour sitting talking or writing with a patient about the thoughts they were having, but rather that than having to physically intervening on situations.Any decent HCA will tell you thy would rather sit there talking about things than get physical, any one else that says different should not be in that line of work, it’s all about talking.

The patient ended up talking about their urges thoughts and feelings on a daily basis and when this happens keep them talking record all conversations in their notes and keep staff informed of everything that is said and discussed.

If you don’t like something I have written please don’t be hostile towards this, just let me know and I will try and alter things. Im not saying everything I write id fact but it is not lies either. Please let me know what you think. Thanks for reading.