Sarah Tomac recently completed her studies as an Occupational Therapist (OT), and was keen to gain insight into the lives of the people she would support in the future – something that she was not taught at university. CPSN spoke with Sarah about the support work she provides CPSN member, Alex Petricca. Image Sarah first met 25-year-old Alex through word of mouth. Sarah was working as a support worker for another family who knew that Sarah was looking for additional work. “They asked if I would be comfortable if they passed my details onto Alex’s mum Lisa – and that is how the relationship started”. From there, Sarah and Lisa met in person, and she was welcomed into the family. For Lisa bringing a support worker into her home is a personal experience, and while Alex has complex needs – she wants it to be a positive, happy environment for all her support workers to be in. “There are a lot of things that come from this role that you don’t get to learn when you’re studying to be an OT. By being a support worker you really get to know the people that you work with and I have a great time with Alex – you have to put your heart and soul into what you do,” says Sarah. Sarah wants to ensure that beyond his basic needs, Alex gets to have fun. Recently, they have both been working on a mosaic – just one of the many activities they enjoy doing together. “We chat and laugh and go out for dinner or to the shops – it just depends on the day,” she explains. These activities are not insignificant however, as Alex’s complex needs mean that being on-on-one with him requires a strong understanding of his personal needs and his medical requirements. It also represents a strong trust that Sarah has established with his mother, Lisa. While she juggles work and her personal life, Sarah knows the importance of looking after herself. “Take some time for yourself. I’m a very active person, I go bouldering, swimming, running and catching up with my friends,” Sarah says. “It’s important to strike a balance – you need to make sure you’re well-rested and have enough energy for the day, as it can be exhausting, but if you enjoy what you do, it’s all worth it,” she adds. Sarah’s enthusiasm for her role is reflected in how much happier Alex has become and the warmth that has been added to the Petricca family home. “I think at the start, I was still getting to know Alex and his routine, but now that’s become more relaxed, and Alex senses that. We enjoy a laugh and a giggle together and that’s important,” Sarah said. For more information about becoming a support worker click here. To find a support worker for you or your family contact us on 1300 277 600. Image Partner with the cerebral palsy specialists and choose your own support workers. CPSN’s Innovative Choices program allows you to choose your own support worker while we help you manage their employment. For more information, call 1300 277 600 and speak with our friendly team.