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Jack of All Trades, Master of One: The Story of a Therapy Assistant

1 April 2022

Blog Group News Swanborough House

When I was first employed by Renovo, I felt way out of my depth. My previous jobs had all been in retail and marketing, and in the pursuit of a having bit more meaning in my day-to-day life, I had stumbled onto the idea of working in care. Renovo stood out to me as there was not just a focus on caring for the vulnerable, but also on rehabilitation and providing therapy that could make a real difference in someone’s life. Initially, I was employed as a Rehabilitation Assistant and my first three months were eye-opening. Before taking the role, I knew I was interested in pursuing a career in therapy, but my time on the floor supporting residents made me sure it was something I wanted to do. So, by the time I was told about the job opening for a Therapy Assistant I was all too ready to apply.

Since then, my role as a Therapy Assistant has been busy but rewarding and has allowed me to become closer to the residents than I ever have been before. I have been able to become far more involved in their active rehabilitation and every step of progress they make feels like a mountain that we’ve overcome together. It’s been a privilege to share in their victories and an inspiration to see their drive and dedication every day.

As a Therapy Assistant, every day is a little bit different, and my schedule is often absolutely jam packed. Whether I’m seeing as many residents as possible for their therapy or completing stacks of paperwork (oh god the paperwork), I’m always busy doing the best I can for each resident. As a Therapy Assistant I am not confined to one aspect of therapy, and as such need to switch roles; assisting in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy as required. For me, it’s a bit like going to an ice cream parlour, but instead of having to choose just one ice cream flavour, I get to sample the entire shop.

Whilst I do have my caseload of residents who receive active therapy every day, I do also try and assist the rest of the residents with their daily needs around Swanborough House. I’m the go to guy for checking in on wheelchairs and splints, (and also the guy for calling in the professionals when there’s something I can’t fix with an Allen key or spanner!). I’ve also particularly enjoyed working with the rehabilitation team in helping the residents discuss and achieve their own goals that they’d like to work towards during their time at Swanborough House. Each resident is a person with their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations, and being able to help them achieve these to even a minor extent has been incredibly rewarding.

Of course, the best bit about the role is getting to work with the residents of Swanborough House. Getting to know them, their lives, and (very importantly) their sense of humour, has been one of my favourite parts of the job. No matter what I’m doing, whether it be helping someone stand, supervising a cooking session, or helping someone communicate, we’ve always been able to have a laugh and a quick chat whilst we go through their exercises. With some residents, I’ve even been known to have a bit of a sing-song, as nothing makes exercise go a little faster than doing it to some music!

I’ve found that in a care setting it’s important to remember that when we’re at work, we are also in someone’s home. So when I knock on their door asking if a resident wants to do some exercises, I hope they don’t just see me as a therapist coming to assist them with their therapy, but also as a friend coming over to have a chat and a quick laugh.

I’m now coming up to 7 months of being employed by Renovo and in contrast to when I started, I couldn’t feel more at home. Ultimately being a therapy assistant has allowed me to become a jack of all trades and allowed me to dip my toes into the many different pools of therapy. But contrary to the popular saying, I don’t believe being a jack of all trades makes me a master of none. In fact, being a Therapy Assistant has allowed me to master one trade, in particular, the trade of caring for the residents of Swanborough House.

By Matthew Austin