7 May 2019
Role model – Kieran Wilding
Kieran Wilding has been a Care Assistant at Bucklesham Grange, our ‘Outstanding’ care home in Ipswich, since July 2017. After winning multiple awards for his relationship-centred approach, we spoke to Kieran to find out what it means to be a Care Assistant and what makes him proud to work at Bucklesham Grange.
What does a usual day at Bucklesham Grange look like for you?
I arrive in the morning to spend time with the residents and assist them with personal care. Once I have helped them to get up and dressed, I spend as much time as I can supporting them to take part in activities if they wish so that we can make sure their day is fun and as meaningful as possible. If they want to sing, we sing, if they want to dance, we dance and if they just want to sit and read in their room, we support the resident to do just that in the best way we can.
What attracted you to work in the care industry?
My mum has worked at the same care home for 24 years. A lot of my childhood and teenage years were spent going in and out of that home, and I started working there as a Kitchen Assistant before I left school. I trained at college to become a Chef and completed all of my qualifications in cooking. I then became a Chef at that care home; when a carer role at the home became available, I went for the job. I wasn’t sure at the time if it was the right role for me but I fell in love with it. I moved to Ipswich a few years ago and started working at Bucklesham Grange in 2016. I’ve not looked back since.
Do you have a personal highlight in your role?
The job that I do is special and it is a very rewarding job in itself, and I have received so much recognition during my time with Hallmark. It was an honour to win the ‘Carer of the Year’ for Bucklesham Grange at the Hallmark Care Homes’ Awards in 2017. I was shortlisted for the ‘Dementia Carer of the Year’ title at the 2017 National Care Awards and I won ‘Care Home Worker of the Year’ at the Towergate Insurance Care Awards last year. Another highlight was having an article published about me in The Guardian about the increase of male carers, and this was a real honour.
Every day is a different day here and you go home knowing you have done your best and you’ve looked after people, and I suppose that is a highlight in itself. There is a gentleman that passed away a few years ago, and I had a very good relationship with his wife, and I still go and see her every now and then. Being a Care Assistant isn’t just a job; it’s a lifestyle. The rapport you build with the family members as well as the residents is such an important part of my job, and that is something that I work really hard at.
How do you build relationships with residents and their relatives?
It’s all about communication. It’s spending that time to sit down and get to know the residents initially when they move into the home. Once that relationship is built with the resident, the family members recognise that and feel they can approach you and talk to you. In this job, organisation is also key. To me being a Carer is not a task-focused role where you just do your job when and where people need support. If you’re organised you can spend more time with the residents, and using that spare five minutes is paramount in making both residents and their relatives feel like part of the Bucklesham Grange family.
What makes you proud to work at Bucklesham Grange?
Seeing a resident smile and knowing that you have made a difference to their day, especially when working on the dementia community, makes me so proud to work here. Living with dementia can mean the residents sometimes
feel scared, sad and lost. Knowing that we can support them and comfort them through their journey makes me extremely proud. Seeing them at the end of the day singing, smiling and going to bed happy is the best feeling you can have because you know you have made a difference.
What qualifications does it take to care for residents?
None, you just need to care, and you need to have a heart. I don’t have any qualifications in the care sector. I have had training, but ultimately, you need to be caring. There is no point coming into this job if you are not a caring person by nature.
If you would give one piece of advice to someone currently caring for a loved one, what would it be? Don’t ever think that your loved one is gone and they are no longer there, because they always are; they just might not be able to express it!
How do you spend your free time?
In my spare time I like to recharge my batteries as the role can be very demanding. Besides being a Care Assistant, my two passions are rugby and darts. I play for a local darts club and a rugby team too.