Fiona is one of the busiest workers in the Better Caring community. She has developed a great network of buddies to share shifts and provide continuity to clients. This is her story. It all started when someone gave her the wrong roster…
“I worked in the disability sector for 14 years before moving to Hervey Bay for a sea-change. I had the qualifications so decided to do part-time care work to supplement my income in a podiatry practice. I was excited and nervous, so thought some social and domestic support work would help me ease in. My first client was a six-foot four male who needed showering. My next client was a 94-year old amputee war veteran who also needed showering. I did nine showers that day and thought, “Today, Fiona, you’re going to sink or swim”. When I got back to the office that day they asked me whether I’d taken Joan out for tea and scones, and Mabel to the drive-through for a soft serve ice-cream. I didn’t know what they were talking about. They said, “Oh no, we gave you the wrong roster! Welcome to aged care.”
When I got back to Sydney I worked as a case manager, coordinator and package manager. I was also a trainer and assessor in aged care and disability. From where I was sitting, there just wasn’t enough concern for the client. I became aware of Better Caring through my dad who said I should give it a try. I resigned from my job and went straight onto the Better Caring platform.
I found the team at Better Caring really proactive in matching workers with potential clients. I have clients who are ageing, as well as clients with a disability.
One of my first Better Caring clients was a lady with a week to live. I couldn’t speak Greek and she couldn’t speak much English so we did a sort of charades. Her son said it was the first time she’d laughed in eight months. I was with her for seven days and had the best time. That’s my goal every day, to make someone laugh. It’s worth a thousand words, a thousand anythings. You’ve got to make the best of the last of their times.
I now work at least 44 hours a week and there are jobs I can’t take on. I’ve brought 13 workers to the platform and can share clients with my “buddies”. I can do what I want to do. If I’m not compatible with a client, I won’t go in and do a bad job.
If it wasn’t for the buddy system, I’d still be working more than 60 hours a week. I’m going overseas for a few weeks and I’ve covered all my shifts with other workers I know and trust.”