Care Heroes spotlight – Specialist Care Worker of the Year 2022 – Ben Kelly
This week, we are shining a spotlight on Ben Kelly – winner of the ‘Specialist Care Worker of the Year Award’ at City & County’s Care Heroes Awards 2022.
Ben has worked in care for 14 years and has been with his current client for the past eight, offering 24-hour support to him three days a week.
Branch manager, Jackie McCormack, at Guardian Homecare Blackpool, nominated Ben for the award due to his commitment, professionalism, and resilience. Jackie said, “The client can be aggressive and very demanding, we only have a small cohort of staff who will go into this location, but Ben’s commitment and patience has kept his service user in his home and inspired his entire team.” This client’s aggressiveness goes beyond what is manageable to most. But there is one person the client can always count on to show up day in and day out: Ben.
At one point, the council was pushing to put the client into a secure facility, but Ben pushed back. He has figured out what can keep his client calm, he knows how to manage his personality shifts. Ben deals with his client’s physical and mentally challenging behaviour daily – so we sat down with Ben to uncover the secret to his unflappable dedication. (Ben is pictured below, with HR Director Judith Lyons, at the Care Heroes Awards ceremony).
It sounds like there are some very hard days. How do you stay motivated?
I don’t take anything personally. If he gets aggressive or insulting; I know he doesn’t mean it. He does it with everyone. I see past his actions and focus on the fact that he is struggling and needs my help.
What is the biggest challenge of working with this client?
The unpredictability is definitely the hardest part. I never know who I am going to get. It is a challenge trying the empathise and be patient with all his personalities, which change throughout the day. I must always stay on my toes.
I care about my client, and I couldn’t accept the idea of him being locked up. I know at his home, with my support, he can have a much better quality of life. We go on outings, cook together, chat and have the freedom to explore. He has a car that was fitted for him that he drives us around in and he loves that.
What brought you into care?
My family. My sisters are support workers. They are nurses. My mum is a registered manager in care. My mum used to do respite with clients with Learning Disabilities. They would come to our house, and I would interact with them. It came naturally to me.
What do you like about your job?
It doesn’t feel like a job. I like helping clients who are unable to help themselves. If my client didn’t have a staff member, his life would be much worse. I like being able to give people better lives.
Do you feel supported by your team?
I have an incredible team. The Blackpool branch manager and team leaders go above and beyond to make sure I am ok and have the support I need. They are always at the end of the phone, and they are happy to step in, roll up their sleeves and help if I need it. I couldn’t have lasted without them. I know that I am never alone.