At Sheffield Children’s, we aim to support our colleagues who are also working as carers as much as we can. We recently set up a Carers Network for our colleagues to connect, support each other and share stories. As today is Carers Rights Day we had a chat with one of our colleagues who is also a working carer.
Meet Sarah, Improvement Project Manager at Sheffield Children’s, Mum and carer to Bethany.
Hi Sarah! What’s your role at Sheffield Children’s?
“Hello! I work in the Service Improvement Team, meaning that I work with different teams across the organisation to help them improve their services for children, young people, families and colleagues. Recently I have been supporting our work to reduce the impact of Health Inequalities too.”
Who do you care for outside of work?
“I look after my disabled 15-year-old daughter. When Bethany was four, she had a brain bleed which led to her being ventilated, wheelchair dependent, PEG (feeding tube) fed and ‘locked-in’. She needs 1:1 care at all times including through the night, so our house is always full of people.
“She attends a mainstream school and has a dedicated teaching assistant, as well as a support worker. However, because of the level of care, just one person being unwell means that her support quickly unravels, and as her primary carers we have to pick up the gaps.”
Can you tell us how you manage to juggle your responsibilities between caring and your employment?
“I’m really lucky to work in a supportive team and organisation, but the flexibility required to work and care is immense so balancing work and other requests is challenging.
“It’s both a physical and mental challenge as well as emotionally costly. There’s a lot of organising and co-ordinating as well as practical caring. You can often feel like you’re not doing anything well.”
Where do you reach out for support if you need it?
“I have a few close friends who I can moan to and laugh with. But to be honest often I just get my head down and plough on. I think many carers are like that – the buck stops with them so they have learnt to dig deep.”
Where do you recommend that other carers look to find information that can help them?
“The Carers UK website is a great place to start. They have lots of information available for carers when it comes to financial support, explaining your rights and they have set up a useful section dedicated to Carers Rights Day.”
Thanks for sharing your story Sarah!