Meet our team: Cheryl, Service Coordinator at St Louis Home Care
"How I put my planning and problem solving skills to good use."
Cheryl has been with St Louis for three years, beginning her role in rostering. While she worked in this role, she began her Certificate in Community Services and moved to a Service Coordinator position in the Adelaide office where she still is today.
Why did you choose a career in Home Care?
“I used to work at a taxi company coordinating and planning all sorts of events, taxis and bookings as well as working as a qualified full time florist before joining St Louis. I had a connection with one of the care staff at the nursing home and she invited me to a presentation on careers in aged care, so I went along.
I loved what I heard, the fulfilling and rewarding aspects of the job, the planning, organising and problems solving skills needed to do the job well. I had developed good skills for coordinating services, people and bookings in my previous roles. My goal is to make the best use of our staff’s time while they are in the community, at the same time ensuring our clients are getting their services when they want them.
These are all skills I had and wanted to put to good use. So I applied for the role and got the job. And here I am!”
What career opportunities have you had at St Louis?
“I started my Certificate in Community services when I had the rostering role. I had plenty of support from the business to transition to becoming a fulltime services coordinator when I was ready.
I already had a relationship with many our clients because I was often on the phone to them, so it made the change an easier one. I appreciated knowing where I was headed and having a goal to work toward.
It can be quiet overwhelming starting a new job from scratch, but I had the time to learn the job before I moved into it fully.”
What attributes/qualities do you feel are needed in aged care?
“To work in aged care, you need to have a genuine desire to help people and see their lives improve. Qualities such as empathy, understanding, flexibility, a caring nature, good communication skills, teamwork, handling many tasks at once and being organised are all important. You also need good problem solving skills as you are working with people and their needs can change daily.
You have to be efficient and resourceful, and sometimes even a peacekeeper as you are dealing with personalities and people who want things a particular way. We all make mistakes but if you have a good foundation to your relationship, then you can resolve difficulties and problems easily.”
What do you enjoy the most about working in aged care?
“You get to see for yourself how important the work you do is to people’s lives, how your help directly impacts their health and wellbeing. A lot of clients may not be in contact with family and be isolated. The services we organise especially the social events and connection with their community makes such a vast improvement to their overall sense of happiness.
Working with older people gives you a sense of purpose and fulfilment because you are making a difference to their lives. Robert is a good example. We helped him get social again after being housebound, and now he’s learning to play new musical instruments as well.
There is also plenty of opportunity in aged care. There are over 100,000 people waiting for a home care package. It’s a growing sector and there will always be work with many options for different types of roles in aged care.”
What do you enjoy about working for St Louis?
We work individually but it is still a team environment. We have open discussions and can ask others for help about anything. The doors are always open here. It is a supportive and family-focused environment.
Feedback from staff is always taken seriously and dealt with quickly so we’re actively contributing to improving the way the business is run.”
What are some of the challenges supporting older people living in the community?
“Family dynamics can be tricky to manage and the needs of the client must remain a priority when this happens. Some clients are still waiting for their higher level home care package to be approved and cannot access the services they need and I find this a challenge. Which is why it is so important to apply for a home care package sooner than later.
Some people don’t use the funds allocated fully, and they are not making the best use of their packages. This means they can miss out on making the improvements to their lifestyle that we know is possible.”
What advice do you have for someone who is considering working in aged care?
“It is very rewarding and working hours can be very flexible. You can still pick up your kids from school and take them home. Or you can work hours to suit your partner’s hours so you can both spend more time together.
You can opt to work morning, afternoon, later in the day, weekends – whatever suits your lifestyle needs.”
Call St Louis to enquire about home care positions in Adelaide and Victor Harbor
Call St Louis Home Care in Adelaide on 8332 0950 to find out about current positions available and to talk to us about a career in aged care. Take the first step today.