My Working Shifts

This is a quick post, as I need to get to bed in a few. (I am on Sleep In tonight (as I always am on a Friday Night.)

Sleep In Shift, is where I am paid to sleep. (Yeah, that sounds too good to be true and sometimes it is) If something happens during the night, such as a member of staff is taken ill, one of the boys has to be taken to a&e and that member of staff needs to be relieved, there is an emergency, such as a fire, security incident or urgent help from another member of staff is needed, if there is a safeguarding concern etc) I am on Sleep in for the Birds and Jets Unit tonight, as on each floor there is a sleep in member of staff for each unit on that floor. (Except for Sick Bay, which doesn’t need sleep in cover. Usually on Sleep In, I do a “late shift” and then go to bed after. The Sleep In Room is off the stairwell and is en suite. There is a bed, bedside table, desk, telephone and chair. There is also a hook, which has a torch hung on it, along with a clipboard; which has a list of children who are boarding on the units, emergency contacts and other important info. The beginning of this shift, always starts with a handover, as normal.

When I am on an early shift, I start work at 7am. This always starts with Handover, where we get an update on the events of the night before. This may include kids who may have been unwell in the night, including those sent to Sick Bay, had the doctor our or have been sent to a&e. Also behavioural issues, welfare issues, (such as if a boarder is upset or if a member of staff is worried about a pupil. Handover only lasts 15 minutes and after this, we go to wake the boarders.

Once the boarders are up, we assist with personal care, such as showering, getting dressed etc. Meanwhile, the hot trolley will come up from the kitchen, with porridge, toast and cereal. The Unit Housekeeper will make pots of tea and coffee, juice and milk for breakfast. I like Early shifts, because I can have breakfast with the kids and it is a good way to socialise. Breakfast is at 8am) After this, I do medication, making sure that the kids get their morning medication. Some of the meds are oral, but there are a couple of boys, who have to have it injected into them. (Insulin dependent boarders)

On a school day, the boys go over to the playgrounds, ready for school at 8.45. The only exception to this, is when it is wet, very windy or snowy. In these situations, they are allowed to remain on unit, until the bell sounds at 9am. Staff will then escort pupils over to school.

 Staff remain on unit, until 11am and complete their paperwork and take kids to hospital appointments, dental appointments and other appointments.

Late Shifts begin at 2pm and as normal, start with a handover. Over in the main school, there is a pigeon hole for each of the units. Teaching Staff can use this to pass on information about a pupil, where appropriate. This is then used at Handover.

We fetch the kids from school at 3.15 and supervise activities, before and after tea. On a Tuesday, I also hold a “House Meeting”, which all boarders on my unit, are welcome to attend. (I am the Unit Leader for Jets, but am more commonly known as the House Parent In Charge. I work part time in this role)  House meetings are a platform for discussing issues around the unit and for me to update boarders on unit \ school news. Later in the evening, I may be tasked to  supervise bathing \ showers and assist as needed. I don’t always do this, it depends on staffing and if it is my turn on the rota. I do this  a couple of times a week.

If I am on a late, I finish at 10pm. However, we do a handover at the end of my shift.

When I am on a “Waking Night shift, I start at 9pm. This will start with a handover. Usually, some of the kids have gone to bed by the end of handover, while some will be watching a film on DVD or playing pool. Btw, there are always  a couple of members of staff around during handover, keeping an eye on the kids and answering buzzers.  At 9.45, the lid goes on the pool table and the TV goes off.

Once the kids are in bed, I usually go to the Unit Leader’s Office and do paperwork for the shift. I also go every half a hour, to check the kids who I am looking after, (Normally I have 3 kids to keep an eye on) By then, I am probably through my 2nd cup of coffee.

Later on, I will take our unit laundry down to the laundry room. This is also in J Block. (The residential block.) Usually, this is the kids school clothes, towels and tabbards. (used on kids who make a mess when eating) Each Unit blue tacks a Unit Label to the machine, so that staff know which unit is using which machine. I will pop down a couple more times, to transfer clothes to the dryers and to then to press them.

By now it is 5am, so I usually finish paperwork, answer the odd buzzer call and lay the tables for breakfast. (I also answer buzzer calls through the night)

Finally, at 7am, I have handover with the AM staff, have breakfast with the kids and then at 8.30, go home and go to bed! (I  do 1 sleep in shit and 2 Waking Night shifts each week.)

So now you know what shifts I do and what they entail. Care work is knackering but rewarding and I enjoy every day of it.

Happy Valentines Day!

First, the good news is that we have stood down from the Major Incident, declared earlier this week. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who helped out, while Storm Ceira battered our school. Thankfully, we only suffered minor damage to the school buildings.

Tonight has been the Valentines Disco, which Sam put on. The boys were able to invite their “sweethearts” to the disco and of course me and Sam had a dance too! Earlier on, we also put on a dinner for the the valentines couples, before the disco and it was nice to see the boys dressed up for the occasion.

Earlier today, Sam gave me my valentines presents. It started with a bunch of red roses, then at lunchtime, he arrived in a horse and cart, which took us to a restaurant for a romantic dinner. (Shame we were both working and could not have any wine! I had coke and Sam had J20.)  I got Sam a gold chain, which I had engraved, and I bought him David Beckham smellies.

This afternoon, I did a “refresher” on my AED Training. (Automated Electric Defibrillator) so I am now refreshed on operating a defibrillator. (I have only ever had to use one once!)

I am on sleep in tonight at work and then working an early shift tomorrow. I will write a post on this before I go to bed, explaining this.

Night all, sleep well! x

Working Through The Storm

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Still at work, sat in the Jets Houseparent’s Office. I am Houseparent on Jets part time. 

Storm Ciara has certainly caused severe disruption across the UK, as well as here at school.  We’ve been on emergency power since Saturday, which is supplied by the 2 emergency generators on the roof of J Block. (Keeping the lights, sockets, lifts and other systems online.)  The main School is also on emergency power and has it’s own generators. However, due to the weather, school is currently closed and will remain so. During this severe weather.  Sam has 2 of the 4 main school generators running, keeping the “life support systems”, such as the CCTV, Pacs System, Fire Alarm System, Fridges and Freezers  and the school network running.

In the meantime, the village is still a mess. We have power lines down, telephone lines down and roads blocked. Back home, we have a generator from the electricity board keeping the house powered, due to Toby and his disabilities and how he needs the hoists and the lift working.

Due to the roads blocked and the lack of power, many staff cannot get into work. So, we are using the Day Unit for staff to sleep, so staff who are able to stay on, can do so and rest. I’ve not been home since Friday, due to the weather and am on Sleep In, at present. The staff who have stayed on, have shown real dedication, along with the volunteers who have come in and helped us stay afloat, by cleaning, helping with catering etc. Also I must thank our Head Karen and our Deputy Head Judy, who are coming in to help with care, even though school is closed. I make sure to Facetime Sam every evening, so the kids at home, can have a natter with me and can see I am OK. I miss the kids,  but I know they know why I am still at school.

We have declared  “Major Incident” Status and Karen, Sam, Judy and I are meeting every morning and having a progress meeting.

We’ll soldier on through and hopefully next week, Storm Dennis will pass and school can get back to normal. We’ve had a couple of trees down in the school grounds and a couple of broken windows, but we’re managing!

Yes, I know it has been ages!

Once again, sorry for the lack of posts, over the last few months. Sam and I have not had a chance to blog much, but we will try and keep you updated with what’s happening at our end, as much as we can.

So, here’s what’s been going on, condensed; as I am actually at work and posting this on my break.

Major Building Work on B Block

B Block at school is currently closed and has been, since November. The reason for this, is because of asbestos removal. B Block is riddled with it and it is cheaper to remove it, than spend millions knocking the block down and rebuilding. So we have hording all around B Block, access is currently blocked off and it means pupils need to go via D Block; to access A and C Block. We also have a temporary modular building, which currently holds the Kitchen and Canteen. (Once the asbestos is removed, we are having a new kitchen installed and a larger canteen area.

Work is going well and we hope that by April, all the building work will be done.

Poorly Toby

One of the kids we foster was taken very ill in the Summer Holidays, after getting Septis and was rushed into hospital while we were in Blackpool. Toby was well looked after at the Victoria Hospital, before being air lifted to Sheffield, for specialist ITU treatment. Sam stayed with him all the way and Toby made a full recovery.

The Septis was caused by a wound which got infected, after he had a kidney transplant. Toby came to us after his operation and a 3 week stay at the  Children’s Hospital in Sheffield. Our “Tobes” is getting better and stronger every day. He no longer uses a wheelchair or sticks, but gets tired very easily. Due to this, he uses the Day Teaching Unit on Sickbay, where if needed, he can rest.

Christmas and NYE

Christmas was very busy for us all. Sam was working on Christmas day, after the Care Staff accidentally activated the Fire Alarm, while cooking and the birds until lost all lighting, due to a fault with a light fitting.

I worked Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve on Waking Night (Christmas Eve) and Sleep In on NYE. We let the kids stay up on the Unit I am in charge of, to tire them out mainly, as they were so hyper about Christmas! (Can you blame them?)

On Christmas Morning, I drove home, opened presents with the kids and then went to bed. In the afternoon, the family arrived and we had Christmas Dinner, which got delayed, due to the fire alarm activation. (Sam had to respond to it) Later, I was back on night shift again.

I was off Boxing Day and worked days on the 27th – 30th. On New Year’s eve, we had a party over in the School Gym, which surprisingly, our Head and a few other teachers attended. (I wonder if she used the cattle prod to make them come.) Sam did his usual Karaoke and Disco, which was great fun. At midnight, we sang Auld Langs Ayne and rang in the new year together.

As I said, Sam and I will try to post as often as we can. We haven’t forgotton you, it’s a case of finding 5 mins to blog. Right break over, so back to work I go.

Finally… From myself, Sam, Toby, Kyrlo, Liam, Will, Linda, Derek, Tommy and Martha, (Tommy and Martha are my parents, Linda is Sam’s Mum and Derek is his Step Dad)  Sox the cat and and from all the staff here at school (boarders too) we would like to wish you a happy and safe new year and here’s to 2019!

One of those nights!

Well, it’s 02:42 and I am up again, because Kyrlo is having one of those nights again, where he’s had a very bad nightmare and has been really distressed. I have just got him back to sleep and hes fast asleep on the settee in mine and Sam’s Study.

The poor wee lad has been to hell and back but he is slowly getting there. We are teaching him grounding techniques, which help him to deal with flashbacks.  Also he has periods where he stares into outer space and will not respond to you speaking him. So we have been shown another technique, where we hold his hand and say in very calm voice, “Kyrlo it’s Kyle, you are safe and you are at home. I am not going anywhere until I know your are OK. If you can hear me, squeeze my hand”. It does work and it  helps him to safely come out from a flashback, which usually is terrifying.

The top priority is to make sure Kyrlo is safe and that he knows we are there to support and protect him. The other kids know to look for the signs of Kyrlo having a flashback and to find one of us right away. Recovery for someone who has suffered such severe and prolonged trauma is slow, but with the support Kyrlo gets, I know he will be fine; even if it takes years of therapy until the end of his teenage years!)

I am off back to bed now, so I am gonna carry the wee lad back to bed and hopefully get some shut eye, as I am at work at 7am!