Caregiving Career: Vocation or Passport?
I work as a caregiver here in one of the homes owned by a big company in the UK. I always watch any news that involves care giving as it sometimes helps
me improve in my job role. I have been working as a caregiver for nearly six years now in this foreign land, and I do love my job and always enjoy everyday that I spend with my residents.
Just the other day one of my Filipino friends texted me and asked if I have seen the documentary about a care home. After I replied no, not yet, she then said “This is an embarrassment for us. Other people will think we are all the same.“
Now this statement puzzled me a lot. And I was thinking it could not be a Filipino worker who had done something nasty towards an old person. At this point I was late going home after taking one of my residents to the hospital. As soon as I got home I tried to watch the documentary on my phone using the iPlayer of BBC, but unfortunately it was not yet available. I only managed to watch the documentary when I was having my lunch break at work the day after. While watching it I was in tears, and I really felt for the family and for the resident who was maltreated.
The resident was only in the home for six weeks and she already sustained plenty of bruises. The daughter was told that it was only because she was taking aspirin so she easily bruise. The daughter was not convinced at all as the bruises appeared to be finger marks on the residents wrists and other parts of her body. She was so distressed to the point that she finally decided to buy a secret camera to record what was happening in her mother’s bedroom at the home.
For two days the camera recorded incidents that even I could not take; let alone the resident’s own daughter. And what made me feel more angry and ashamed is that three of them are Filipinos. Watching your fellow Filipino abuse an old person is not a very nice sight. It made me feel so angry and embarrassed of my own kin. The two Filipino women who were not named in the documentary was doing banned maneuvers on the old lady while giving her a wash.
I am the manual handling trainer in the home I am working for. Within my area of responsibility, whenever I see staff doing maneuvers wrongly, I pull them in one corner and tell them off. These old people are vulnerable enough without dementia, let alone being demented and not knowing what is going on around you. The two Filipino female caregivers were also talking in their own dialect. They were talking about the resident, not to the resident.
Imagine yourselves being the resident, laid in bed and being stripped off your clothing by two people you do not even recognize, listening to them talking in a very alien language, then being just pulled about to wherever suits them to make things easier for them. How would you feel? Facilities like hoists and slide sheets are available to help caregivers assisting heavy dependent residents. I have not seen these two Filipino female caregivers use any of them. Instead, they drag and lifted the lady from the wheelchair to a bed and rolled her like a cattle in the cattle farm being butchered.
Another Filipino male caregiver was filmed washing the female resident on his own. First, no male caregiver should be left alone assisting a female resident on their own. Second, the resident needs assistance of two staff and he was on his own. Third, to mock and swear to a resident is abuse. Fourth, to hit or slap a resident is assault. These are the things that this male Filipino caregiver was caught doing to a lady that was more than old enough to be his grandmother.
What was more frustrating was finding out that he was a trained nurse back in the Philippines. Now this made me think; are people in the Philippines now only taking up nursing to be able to get to another country for money? Are the days where people think I want to be a nurse because I always wanted to be one of those people who makes people feel better?
This male Filipino caregiver has been to court and was convicted for eighteen months and would possibly get deported after serving his sentence. Eighteen months in prison is probably not close enough to ease the distress and fear he has inflicted to the resident he abused. Though I must say I feel for his wife and little kid. Shame he never thought about their future before he did something like this.
Being a caregiver myself, I have always been proud that best care are from a Filipino caregiver. I know a lot of Filipino nurses and caregivers who excel in their own jobs. But after watching that documentary, I then started to doubt.
If I, a Filipino myself, feels that way, how do you think other people feel from this country? That someone from another country comes here to work and disrespect their elders? Being a caregiver or a nurse is not just a job that could put food on our table. This profession takes a lot of patience, compassion, respect and honesty. This is a vocation, this is a call. You have to think and re-think if this is what you want to do and not just because you think you have the brains to be a nurse and it will take you places one day. I have always been a proud Filipino, but at this moment … I am very ashamed to be one.