Star Carer for September: Cheryl Walker from Brightening Lives

Star Carer Cheryl has a client who is non verbal. She talks to us about how their relationship and mutual trust has developed.
Star Carer Cheryl Walker
Marie Page
27th October 2022

Samantha Spencer, Team Leader at Brightening Lives, North Yorkshire, nominated Cheryl Walker as our Star Carer for September saying:

Cheryl has been with us only a short time, however her commitment to improving people’s lives through her positive communication and responding effectively in a person-centred way to non-verbal individuals has seen so much progress with the clients she supports and has also helped to improve the knowledge and skills of the colleagues that work alongside her!
We are very proud to have her as part of our team here at Brightening Lives.

We caught up with Cheryl and asked her about her work.

What was your reaction to winning CareLineLive’s September Star Carer Award?

I was totally shocked. I was just doing my job. It was really lovely. The news has made my day!

What aspects of being a carer do you enjoy?

One of my clients is non verbal. He has a fear of going out and getting close to anyone. He has a lot of anxiety but we have gained a lot of trust in each other. He knows I understand him and he understands me. He has trust in me and feels that he can come to me because I get what he is asking. The love from him is lovely. We touch noses – that’s his way of connecting when he feels safe.

Yesterday he was eating his dinner with one hand and he held my hand with the other. When I first started, he was scared to touch because of his fear of people and the outside world.

You have to read this client’s face – his face tells you everything about his mood at that moment – I’ve been helping other carer’s to see that. If we get it wrong there can be an incident.

What brought you to work at Brightening Lives?

I was a positive behaviour support worker before – I have done a lot of work with challenging people before. I love the chance to improve someone’s life.

Brightening Lives is a small company that shows a lot of care. As carers we mean as much to them as the people we care for do. They are lovely friendly people that I can go to with any problems.

How does CareLineLive’s Carer Companion App help in your job?

I like CareLineLive. You don’t have to worry about finding a pen! Everything is there.

I can take photos using it, for instance to show that a service user is doing something for the first time – to capture that moment. A couple of weeks ago my non verbal client followed us into the garden for the first time ever and started to clean the windows outside. He had a big smile on his face as he was getting cobwebs off the windows. We were able to write that up in CareLineLive and take a photo which went to management straight away.

I found CareLineLive very quick to pick up and I sometimes help some of my colleagues to use it and better understand how it works.

What are the challenges in your job?

The most challenging thing is getting things right for individuals so that they have a good day, and ensuring that they are understood. We are really trying to deliver person centred care because every client is so different and we want to get that right for everyone.

How do you switch off after a hard day at work?

Coming home knowing I’ve made someone smile and given them a good day is great. I love all music – I’ll plug my ear phones in and enjoy listening.

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