Dibour (known locally as Pat) Clark has been an independent Micro-Provider in Exmoor, one of the most rural areas of Somerset for the last three years. Specialising in end of life care she has built a good relationship with the local GP’s and receives most of her referrals through word of mouth. Dibour explains her motivation for being a Micro-provider and the role Community Catalysts have played.
Why have you chosen to be a Micro-Provider?
I chose to be an independent micro-provider because I like to build a trusting relationship between myself the family I am supporting. Every week I visit it becomes easier, because we get to know each other. This means I can get to see their strengths and weaknesses, to see when they need help but importantly where they can help themselves. It really works when we get to a position where I can help them to do more things for themselves, but this only comes when we have confidence and trust in each other.
What makes working as a micro-provider different?
When there are different people visiting the home it is hard for the family to be confident and have open communication. When people can be supported to do things themselves they get life, they get a chance to improve. If you do everything for them they inevitably deteriorate, there is no life, no spark. Families know that I prefer to work on the understanding that I will support them to regain or build upon their energy and strength.
Why do families like using your service?
My support lasts for an hour minimum. I don’t do half-hour calls. I don’t feel comfortable with half-hour calls as they feel too rushed. If I am finished in half an hour we will spend the rest of the time together talking or doing anything they choose. If you are doing short calls you are just saying hello, goodbye, there is little chance for connection or building a relationship. Many of my clients spend hours alone so it is so important to spend this time, with them at their pace and on their terms.
What is the secret of being a successful Micro-Provider?
Communication. As part of my role I speak to families and doctors regularly. Communication is so important keeping people well at home.
The challenge of being a Micro-Provider
The greatest challenge as a Micro-provider is working in isolation. When I am tired, or emotionally drained it can be hard finding support, or people to talk to. Clients and their families can have complex and challenging needs which means I need the right systems in place to make sure that both myself and the people I support are safe. But it is a worry wondering if what I have is up to date or covers everything.
How have Community Catalysts supported you?
Since Community Catalysts have been in Somerset it has really helped. The information they send through is very useful. I now have a lot more support in what I am doing. Now if anything is wrong or if I have any doubts I can call Rhys and I have someone by my side who can give unbiased advice or point me in the right direction. The networking meetings, and training courses that I have been encouraged and enabled to attend have been a real help and have ensured that I am kept up to date and learning more skills.
Ms C – Family Carer
“We are extremely lucky that we have Dibour, she is like family now. We decided to go with independent care because it meant that we have more control over the timing of the visits. Dibour shares the work with another micro-provider that lives in the village, who we have known since she was a child. This has worked really well, as it is important to have people we can relate to. We all just help each other. It is a real team effort.”