Jeanette Vaill - RMA Qualified Care Home Manager
We chated with Jeanette, who began her social care career as a Community Carer and has worked her way up through being a Deputy Manager to a Care Home Manager. Read all about the responsibilities of the job and how you could progress your career to this level.
14th November 2011
You began your career in social care as a community carer, and worked in that role for several years. Can you describe the kind of work you used to do?
They were long days starting from early morning till at least 11pm. I would assist clients to get up washed and dresses and make them something to eat and drink. For one client I used to build a coal fire each morning and as I visited her 4 times a day I would ensure the fire kept going throughout the day. The last visits of the day would involve getting the client ready and into bed ensuring they had access to call somebody in an emergency, before locking up on my way out. Some of these clients would only really see their carer for days on end which is quite sad really but you build up a relationship with them.
After your 10 years as a community carer you became the Deputy Manager at a rest home. How did you handle the transition into a management job?
It was hard at first as I was used to doing my own hours with not as much responsibility but an old friend persuaded me to give it a go and I then never looked back. I got to know my clients really well. It was this job that made me realize that I wanted to go into management as I knew that I would be good at this as I wanted to run a care home that gave their clients everything they wanted.
You completed your RMA award in 2003 and progressed on to a Care Home Manager Job. How did the RMA help you prepare for the role of manager?
It helped me by looking more into the management side of running a care home such as budgeting.
The care home you currently manage has a 5 star rating. Can you talk me through the criteria you need to meet in order to maintain this?
The inspection covers two full days looking at every department within the home, it looks at staff turnover and staff training. The inspectors look at health and safety, maintenance and client care plans as well as speaking to staff members, clients and their families. Everything needs to be in place and evidence of good practice.
Can you give us more information about your current role as Care Home Manager and what exactly your job entails?
As I not only manage the care home I also work the floor, so 1st thing I generally dispense the morning medication then assist with getting clients up washed and dressed. Only when all clients are ready will I then go into the office and deal with any issues there such as mail, email, client care files and invoices, staff rota’s as they need to be at least 4 weeks in advance. Lunch time medication is completed then I assist with serving the meals, once this is completed I go back into the office until 4pm. If needed I will stay late to resolve any issues or help out.
Tell us about a typical day in your role as manager.
There is no typical day as something usually comes up, an emergency with a client, staff phoning in sick. Every day is different.
You’re currently working on a foundation degree “Working with Vulnerable Adults”. How will this help you improve the service you can provide in your care home?
It has helped me improve the service I provide to our clients with dementia, I have focused more on mental health whilst doing this course. All elderly clients are vulnerable and at risk.
Do you think staff training plays an essential part in the quality of care delivered in a care home?
Staff training is an integral part of running a care home. I have assessed staff through their NVQ and they have stated that they feel more confident in assisting clients in their care. You can never know enough as you learn every day.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the care home sector in the next few years?
Poor funding from the government, the figures expected of people who will go on to have dementia is astronomical. I was in a meeting with LCC a few months ago and it was said that residential care homes will phase out over the next five years and it will be more about dementia care.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in a career in social care and hoping to achieve the level of manager one day?
Go for it as it was the best decision I ever made, the job satisfaction is amazing, just to see a happy client really makes my day and any effort I have put in worthwhile.
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