Angie is home manager of Broadwater Lodge near Godalming in Surrey, rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.
How long have you worked in the care sector?
I’ve worked in the sector for 44 years. As a child, I always wanted to be a nurse but was told I should become a secretary. But by the age of 16 I was pursuing my true calling and I became a carer at an orphanage.
How long have you worked for Care UK and what does your job entail?
I started at Broadwater Lodge in 1994 as a care worker. I was quickly promoted through the ranks to team leader and on to deputy manager. I was seconded to Jubilee House, our sister home, for two years but returned to Broadwater Lodge as manager in 2012.
As manager, my role is all-encompassing but I’m ably assisted by a fantastic team. Every day is different, but what doesn’t change is how I always strive to put myself in the shoes of residents. I passionately believe in giving people the level of care I would want if I were in their place.
What do you think are the most important aspects of the service Care UK provides to the people you care for?
In my opinion, providing individualised care is all-important, from ensuring that a full assessment is completed before a new resident is admitted, to gaining as much information about the resident as possible so that we deliver care that fits with their beliefs, wishes and morals. However, this must be balanced with getting to know a resident in the ‘here and now’ as people’s likes and dislikes, and needs, can change as they get older.
What do you believe high quality care means?
Again, personalisation is key. In terms of one-to-one interaction, it’s vital that we ensure that all colleagues in the home take the time to get to know each resident as an individual and learn how to adapt their personality and approach to best interact with that person. We need to ensure that we’re adapting to residents, rather than expecting them to adapt to us, or to the home. Colleagues must be able to quickly switch how they are to ensure that residents are treated as individuals.
High quality care is also about enabling residents to enjoy meaningful experiences every day. We organise a huge variety of activities for residents to take part in and we’ll include them in everyday tasks so they stay active and engaged. One lady said she fancied doing some ironing, so the housekeeper set up an ironing board in the conservatory and she tackles a little pile of ironing. But it can also be about attention to detail: knowing what chocolate a person likes, or how they like their toast cut. The smallest detail can speak volumes to a resident, showing them that they’re special and valued.
What are the main drivers and innovations behind improving care?
It’s important to have a strong team in place that’s willing and able to adjust, adapt and move forward and accept different ideas and approaches. A good team is vital to producing strong and innovative ideas – no manager can improve care alone – and to drive them forward. You need to be able to embrace and respect different ideas and visions, and welcome being challenged. Only then can you be sure that your ideas are watertight.
What part of the social care experience do you think is most important?
So many people – residents and their families included – feel that a move to a care home signals the end of life. Far from it! In a great care home, with fantastic care and support, freedom and choice, a person can start an exciting new chapter in their life, having new experiences, making new friends, having fun, and being cared for with respect, dignity and individuality. If a new resident who joins us feels they have come home, then we’ve done well.