- 17 August 2017
- 6 min read
My job as a PA Manager in Social Care
Patricia Sadio recalls the life changing event that changed her career, and enabled her to help others struggling with care.
Adult Social Care was not on my radar ten years ago. Now it is at the forefront of my thoughts.
A former accountant, I was working for a charity as both a qualified psychotherapist and director and very, busy.
Then one single, sudden event profoundly changed my life.
My young relative, a senior police officer, suffered a series of massive, catastrophic strokes.
He was left profoundly disabled, and placed in an elderly care home. However, by gaining knowledge of the Disability Discrimination Act and The Mental Capacity Act, I learned it was ultimately his decision as to where and how he wanted to live.
I set about exploring his options, and after writing up a detailed care-plan we, together, chose to have a private adapted apartment with a team of personal assistants (PAs) and others to support him.
Following detailed discussions, liaisons and co-operation between family, various health professionals, and the local authority, we could make this option a reality. My role as PA Manager and Consultant has grown organically out of this very personal and emotional experience.
Other families began asking for my input and support. To be an effective and efficient PA Manager, it is vital you know yourself well as the challenges are both numerous and unexpected.
My direct PA Management work is currently part-time. My consultancy is expanding in unexpected directions. I manage my own diary and workload, and am registered as self-employed with the Inland Revenue.
Setting up the service can initially be very time consuming as you get to know the client, their family, their health and care needs and then design, test and write up the care-plan, policies and procedures.
This is a bespoke service, so each client is both different and very interesting.
I complete a six-hour PA/Management shift as regularly as the service requires. This means I can carry out all the necessary checks:
• Checking the lived environment; Cleanliness, tidiness, carpets, linen cupboards, standard of ironing, fridge and pantry stocks, toiletry stocks, petty cash,
• Reviewing all written records; Nutrition charts, quality control checks, handover notes, housekeeping records, medical appointments and updates,
• Reviewing social activities and issues,
• Reviewing medication records and changes,
• Reviewing District Nurse visits and external agency notes,
• Every 4-6wks I conduct a client-appropriate review with the client as to their assessment of the standard of care received from each PA and any other health/social care professional,
• I consider any additional training needs /reminders required either individual or as a team,
• I will also accompany clients to their favourite coffee shop for a more social and informal chat to develop relationships,
• Further arrangements and follow up calls are made from my office, rather than during the client’s personal support time,
• Each month I carry out unannounced spot checks, either during or after a shift, and stay until the client is supported to bed,
• Every 3-4months I meet formally with appropriate, approved family members to update them and answer any questions. Family are free to raise any issues at any time,
• Staff 1-2-1s can be arranged by PAs, and team meetings are held every three months,
• Financial management, budget reviews and accounting is done quarterly.
Work experience and qualifications
My work experience includes:
• Ten years observing and interacting with a range of care workers, health professionals, care agencies, social workers and family members,
• Six years training/CPD in hands-on care work including all aspects of personal care ultimately acquiring QCF Level 5 (Leadership in Health & Social Care),
• Fifteen years as a practicing and qualified Accountant (ACCA),
• Fourteen years as a qualified Psychotherapist and Counsellor (MBACP),
• Ten years training and writing bespoke training courses (PTLLS 4),
• I can imagine this becoming a growing area of care work. I would advise learning some of the legal aspects of care e.g. Disability Discrimination Act, Mental Capacity Act, The Care Act and Employment Legislation to best inform your practice.
• An awareness and knowledge of the Court of Protection, Lasting Powers of Attorneys, Local Authorities, CQC and various Ombudsmen will also help.
• A working knowledge and practical understanding of ‘person-centred’ care,
• The ability to really listen, to everyone involved, especially your client,
• Good verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills,• Time management,
• Financial management,
• Recruitment skills,
• Staff and team management skills including rota management,
• Advocacy skills; The ability to ensure your client remains at the centre of all decision making,
• Ability to organise and prioritise an ever-changing workload,
• Ability to understand staff limitations, boundaries and their other commitments to retain and motivate good PAs,
• Self-awareness, pragmatism, confidence and assertiveness,
• The ability to reflect on your own professional practice and receive feedback,
• Willingness to always learn,
• Ability to write and update policies and procedures,
• Computer and social media skills,
• Ability to self-care and arrange appropriate management cover when necessary.
My whole focus is on ensuring care is delivered to the highest professional standards. Working in the care sector can be emotionally charged at times. I always focus on being professional first and foremost.
I ensure I make time to spend with friends and family to both unwind and offload.
I create opportunities to put a healthy distance between me and my work to allow plenty of space for rest and reflection.
Even after ten years of navigating this uncharted territory, I still feel I’m at the beginning of my care career.
There is so much scope for development in this sector. It is fascinating, interesting and exciting, and as it draws on me so personally, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I feel a deep satisfaction for a job well done.