Friday 6 August is Support Worker Day at Rocky Bay! It’s a chance for us to recognise the incredible work of our support workers across our Community and Supported Accommodation divisions, and the vital work they do to support customers each and every day.
Meet Vikash Ghumundee – he has been a Support Worker with Rocky Bay for the past seven years and is based at our first Specialist Disability Accommodation home in Girrawheen.
Vikash is passionate about supporting customers to realise their full potential and to live as independently as possible. He gives us an insight into a typical day as a support worker, and why he loves his role supporting Rocky Bay customers.
What does a typical day at Templeton look like for you?
There is no typical day at Templeton, every day is different, however we do have some routine tasks that are done daily. Most of my shifts are in the morning, and one on an afternoon.
I start at 6:30am, meet with the night staff and go to say hello to the customers who are already awake. After I’ve received handover from the night staff, I check the house diary, the communication book and emails so I don’t miss anything important. I will organise and plan the day ahead, and make sure that any appointments and meetings are not missed. Medication and customer’s finances are checked, balanced and recorded.
Next is getting our customers ready for the day ahead. I provide all the personal care to our customers, assisting and supervising them with their breakfast, administer medication, prepare their lunch box and their backpack to go in the community. If any customers are staying at home for any reason (other than because they’re unwell), I do take them out in the community.
After everyone has left for their outings, I complete all the domestic chores, as we normally do in our own home, and prepare meal for dinner when possible.
Sometimes I take the customers to doctor appointments and get a better understanding about their health by discussing it with their doctor, or meet with their dietician to discuss meal management or weight management.
As a support worker, I am not limited to what I can do; I answer phone calls from customers’ families and allied health professionals, telehealth calls from the medical centre, I network with other organisations, community service providers, and Rocky Bay staff.
In what way do you support the residents?
I always make sure that our customers are experiencing life in the best way possible and meet their goals.
I support them to make choices and empower them towards independence. Choices can be the type of outfit thy wear that day, the type of breakfast or meal they would like, which movies they want to watch on Netflix and so on.
Listening attentively and understanding them to meet their needs, priorities, preferences and giving them time to respond is the way to go to empower them!
I work towards maintaining and improving the overall health and wellbeing of our customers by following prescribed muscle-strengthening activities and stretches from the occupational therapist. I also follow up with their health care providers for any related health issues and support their families too.
At Girrawheen, our customers are both verbal and nonverbal. I support them to use their communication and button devices. Key Word Sign is used daily to assist, support and encourage one of our customers for better understanding and their communication needs. I use body language and simple, clear English to communicate.
What do you love most about your role?
I’ve worked as a Community support worker for six years at Rocky Bay and transitioned to Girrawheen Supported Accommodation in 2020. As a support worker, most of my role is about supporting, assisting, encouraging, promoting, and empowering people with disability to enjoy a better quality of life.
I am very passionate about supporting our customers to realise their full potential, make choices and be in control of the decisions that affect their lives. In doing so, I believe that I am contributing to making profound impact in their lives.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming a support worker?
The job as a support worker can be demanding and requires a lot of patience and being an attentive listener. You will need to have certain skills and attributes such as interpersonal skills, good communication skills, emotional intelligence, a sense of humour, an ability to adapt, but it is a very rewarding career.
The life of a disability support worker varies from day to day. A support worker works alongside people with various disabilities, as they create a fulfilling life for themselves.
Support workers are passionate, caring, and dedicated workers, who give people with disabilities the power to live the lives they want. A support worker is a proficient multi-tasker, and can be both a bit of a life coach and mentor.
As a support worker you can change and shape the life of people living with disability and at the same time provide yourself a work-life balance according to your circumstances and availabilities.