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Rachel Gilbert on quality

Rachel Gilbert, Director for Care, Quality and Governance

How long have you worked in the care sector?


I’ve spent my entire career in this sector. When I was at college I worked as a carer in a nursing home before moving to work in a long stay community hospital. The matron there suggested I did my nurse training, and the rest is history.

How long have you worked for Care UK and what does your job entail?

I’ve been with Care UK since 2013 when I joined as a regional director. I then became operations director for the eastern region before moving into my current role in early 2016. I make sure that the Care, Quality and Governance team provides the best possible service to support our homes to improve care and quality and achieve ‘good’ ratings in inspections.

What do you think are the most important aspects of the service Care UK provides to the people you care for?

In order to be safe the care we provide needs to be person centred, clinically effective, and based on evidence and best practice. We provide the training and support to develop the knowledge and skills of our nurses and carers so they are able to deliver care which is safe and effective. We strive to provide person centred care from the outset: ensuring that each new resident is fully involved in their move to a Care UK care home, and that their wishes and expectations are detailed in their care plan.

What do you believe high quality care means?

Caring for the whole person and providing safe care with empathy, dignity and respect. These aspects are at the heart of our person centred approach to care. It’s crucial that we take the time to get to know the people we care for and what they want and need, so that we can tailor care to them and deliver the best possible support. It’s also important to value and involve family members in developing and reviewing care plans.

What are the main drivers and innovations behind improving care?

Services should be innovative and committed to improvement. At Care UK we seek feedback from residents, families, colleagues, health and social care professionals, commissioners and regulatory bodies. We listen and take account of what they tell us so that we can continually improve.

What part of the social care experience do you think is most important?

What’s important is that people receive the right care in the right place at the right time. For example, many emergency hospital admissions for older people can be avoided. It’s not always the right place for someone, especially if they are living with dementia. Nursing care in a care home is a far more cost effective and appropriate solution than a bed in a hospital – especially if the team providing the care is able to help with rehabilitation, which the majority of Care UK’s care teams are.

 A temporary stay in a care home can help a person get back on their feet while enabling them to build strong and trusting relationships with those caring for them. What’s more, this can smooth the journey to a possible permanent stay as the individual will have had time to adjust to the idea and what it means for them.