Colleen's Story

Bringing joy to people every day, Colleen loves her role as a home care worker

Colleen has been working as a carer with HammondCare for three years. Before then, she held a part-time job in a local food outlet while cleaning for an elderly lady. It was through these circumstances that Colleen learned of HammondCare’s home care services.

Colleen Inglis, laughing with elderly man, looking at photos, photo album, Care Worker story, HammondCare, home care,

“HammondCare staff regularly attended the client’s house, providing care and support services while I was also working there. Witnessing how much they cared about people and how specialist their services were was a real eye opener.

“I would often drive past the local HammondCare At Home office. One day I decided to stop and walked in to enquire about a position. I was made to feel welcome from that moment. Shortly after submitting the application form, I was invited for an interview. I was very nervous as I hadn’t been through the interview process in 30 years. The team at HammondCare At Home put me completely at ease.

“I was provided with a lot of practical support at the start of my employment: hands-on training, such as how to get clients in and out of vehicles, how to administer medication, even how to shave a client’s face. We used a balloon for practice!

“The support is ongoing. When I am with a client my manager will ring to check in, having read the notes from their last visit. Help is only a phone call away; we are advised before our shift who is ‘on call’, hence available for advice if required. We also have monthly team meetings. And there are yearly development days, providing modules such as dementia specific training.”

Colleen joined HammondCare when her elderly client, who was living with dementia, needed more specialist care.

“While regularly doing jobs around her home, we’d spend time laughing and singing together, even share a joke or two. It is such varied work and no two days are the same.”

Colleen Inglis, smiling, standing by wall, Care Worker story, HammondCare, home care,

Colleen now cares for a wide range of people in her role. She doesn’t have a set agenda when she arrives for her shift. Sometimes it starts with the simple sharing of a meal or a cuppa, while chatting with clients about their past or looking at photo albums. At other times, Colleen will assist with individual personal care and support.

Spending time with each client helps Colleen to understand them as individuals and the dedicated support they need. This in turn helps her take a more personalised, tailored approach in caring for them. It’s through these simple acts of taking time out with people and finding a common ground to work from that she creates a sense of trust.

“It’s not all about the work I do for each person. I love being able to get to know them well, by looking at old photos and sharing life experiences together. I even talk about my own life sometimes.

“One of the clients I visit is non-verbal and she communicates through music. I also learned how to communicate with her through eye contact, which I developed through dementia specific training. Her eyes light up when she sees me.”

It’s this rapport that Colleen has built with clients over time, and her commitment to being present to them and their individual needs, that makes her so popular. Colleen is very much a part of the local HammondCare At Home community.

“I started on a 20-hour week with HammondCare but am now working full-time. I visited clients more regularly as their needs changed, plus the demand for HammondCare At Home’s services have increased during the time I have been with them. For example, this week I began looking after a new client. It was wonderful to spend my first visit walking with him around the complex where he lives, chatting. This activity provided a great opportunity to get to know each other.”

Colleen Inglis, black and white family photos, looking at photos, photo album, Care Worker story, HammondCare, home care,

Colleen has won the trust of not only her clients but their relatives and loved ones. She is treated as one of the family, often receiving invitations to attend special family events.

A client family member commented recently, “Don’t ever change your attitude and your happy-go-lucky personality. You just lift me up every time we meet.”

“Each time I leave a client’s home, I’m happy to have made a difference; to have raised their spirits. Some of these people are isolated from the world. I feel privileged to be sharing their journey.

“An added bonus is that I get to eat a lot of cake and homecooked food when I visit!

“HammondCare also provides other opportunities for employees, working in different parts of the organisation; but I am very happy where I am.”

Colleen believes that “all clients need to be treated with respect, kindness and compassion. They are all special in their own way. I love my job and I’m proud to be called a carer and working for HammondCare.”

You can find out more about a career with HammondCare Home Care here.