On Thursday afternoon I undertook a shift at Valerie Manor Care Home in Upper Beeding. I was one of a number of Members and staff to be going ‘back to the floor’ as a care worker.
The home is the first in West Sussex to achieve an ‘outstanding’ CQC rating and I was delighted to be able to observe at first hand their very best practices.
The home’s owner and manager is Zoe Bates who is a fully qualified nurse.
After a full briefing I started my shift, helping serve lunches and generally supporting staff. My bed making skills were put to the test making sure I did proper hospital corners and no creases in the bed sheets.
Throughout the various tasks it was really good to see was how the staff interacted with the residents, taking an interest in them so there was a friendly family atmosphere.
One of the most important activities is the handover of staff from one shift to another. This is a potential risk area if not given sufficient time and detail where care could fall down. I was able to sit in on the handover and see how it was done. The thoroughness of the process involved going through each of the residents’ needs and how they were being addressed and what to look out for. I was impressed with the obvious knowledge and understanding by staff of the home’s residents.
Another area of learning for me was the protocols of drug management and administration. I was given a very comprehensive briefing of how that was done.
So what did I learn from my shift? It was a privilege to be able to do the shift with the staff. I learned the job of a care worker can be demanding but also very rewarding. You have the opportunity to build a real rapport with residents who are dependent on you as a care worker.
We hear a lot about what is not good but having observed the very best I was very impressed we need to be aware that there are good care homes in the county that, day in day out, are providing good care and support to their residents.
Look out for information in the local media, social media and on the County Council’s website about West Sussex Care Month which runs until the end of October. Already a number of events have been held this month including the West Sussex Care Accolades and a care jobs event.