Claire Dutton, Support Worker

Claire Dutton is a support worker with the STAR unit assessment and treatment centre for people with a learning disability who are mentally unwell.

I had a ride in a bath chair today – A service user was feeling down and I was trying to persuade her to have a nice bath and wash her hair to make her feel better - she’d only go if I tried it!

I’ve been a support worker since I was 15. My work experience placement just happened to be at a special needs nursery. I knew from then that was it for me. After volunteering with young people and those with a drug problem and learning disabilities in Texas I knew it wouldn’t be simple but it was all I wanted. I studied Learning Disability Studies and Education studies at Liverpool Hope University.

Now Mersey Care is supporting me to study for a Health and Social Care degree at Chester University to become an Assistant Practitioner. Combining studies with working is challenging but I'm lucky, I work with a brilliant team.

We’ve a patient in segregation - he always eats alone. I’ll take him to our snoezelen room so he can have some company.  

I’m planning a pizza night with non alcoholic cocktails – quite a few of our patients are around my age, 24. Before I leave I’ll go and say goodbye to every patient, it must be hard for them to see me going home when they can’t. But we share things; I tell them about my wedding plans, they tell me about their lives. It’s about making life as normal as possible while they’re here.

I can plan tomorrow’s activities but what happens will depend on what people want to do. Whatever it is I’ll try to make it something good…