There are many different roads that lead people to care as a profession. However, the common denominator is the ability and desire to look after others. Our fourth carer learned these invaluable skills from watching her mother work as a nurse. She developed them further while helping to raise her siblings.

Ozioma Okpala brings a passion and commitment to her care that resonates with those she helps. She has been working for Nema Homecare since July 2018. During this time she has made the welfare of her service users paramount in everything she does. Ozioma chose to study Health and Social Care to support vulnerable people. Outside of her studies, she utilises her incredibly empathy and warmth to deliver the type of care one can’t learn from a book.

Ozioma has an incredible ability to earn service users’ trust through her sincerity. A skill her mother first introduced her to, before she made it her own. One such example saw her slowly develop a relationship with a very independent older man. He had largely refused previous offers of care. Ozioma built up a relationship of trust with him through a shared love of football. Over time he began to allow Ozioma to assist him further around the house: preparing meals, reading his correspondence and supporting him with his personal care. From this trust, a friendship grew. Through this friendship, Ozioma helped her service user to regain some of his lost confidence. Now he looks forward to each appointment. He even requested extra hours so Ozioma can help with his GP visits and take him downtown for social events.

Another example of Ozioma going above and beyond what was required involves a newer service user. They had been through several different care agencies and recently requested a change to Nema. When Ozioma visited him she noticed that he only had a sandwich for his meals. When she asked what he’d prefer he respodned the other carers did not have time to prepare anything more during their appointments. This is a common problem faced in the care industry. It is more a result of the conditions in which carers work, rather than the intentions of the carers themselves.  

Ozioma simply could not let such a situation continue. It was not how her mother raised her. She bought ingredients out of her own money and made several different meals so the service user could choose which ones they liked. Needless to say, this was an incredible gesture and changed the life of her service user. The extent of Ozioma’s generosity was brought to Nema’s attention by other residents of that service user’s sheltered accommodation. It turned out the service user was so delighted with the cooking he had been sharing it! Such is the snowball effect of Ozioma’s compassion and dedication. 

Her manager, Nicole Veeramootoo, sums up what Ozioma means to the organisation:

“Ozioma has proven [to be a] young adult [who] is very caring, shows empathy and gives compassionate care. Ozioma can be used as a role model for other young adults who want to choose a career in Health and Social Care.”

We carry the lessons of our families with us, for better or worse. In Ozioma’s exemplary case, it seems to be very much for the better, and for the benefit of those who receive her care