I started in the sector as a care assistant in a hospital in Dorset in 1980, before doing my general nurse training and specialising in neurology and neurosurgery. I’ve subsequently spent many years in the residential care sector in both learning and development, quality and dementia services.
I started in January 2018 as a Quality Development Manager. In March 2019 I became Lead Quality Development Manager for our approach to care and dementia services.
My role is varied, and is both strategic and tactical. I am involved in policy making and developing and implementing plans for supporting our approach to care for people living with dementia to live well within our care homes. The role includes working with colleagues at all levels to inform and support people to live fulfilling lives, as well as working with external agencies, including our partners at the University of Worcester and Namaste International. I am also involved in working on research projects with the Alzheimer’s Society and University of Exeter. Most importantly, I support colleagues to be the best they can be when supporting people living with dementia.
I believe that it’s crucial to recognise each person as an individual and support them with kindness, understanding and empathy while respecting their dignity and personal choices. It is also important to recognise a person’s changing abilities and adapt our care and support to enable them to retain their independence, whatever that may look like for them.
To me, high quality care means:
Recognising the uniqueness of the individual – which includes the people we care for and our colleagues. Working in care and supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society takes very special people. I believe it is important to listen, hear what is being said and support colleagues to achieve their goals and aspirations. It is essential we recognise and value people, and that our colleagues feel proud of all that they do. Many theories and models of care have changed during my nursing career. Helping colleagues to understand and embrace these changes to better support people living with dementia is essential.
It is impossible to single out one part. However, working collaboratively with people living with dementia, their partners, families and our care colleagues in a truly person-centred way is at the top of my list.