Hi all and welcome to my latest blog. 

All our lovely care homes are getting ready for the autumn and winter seasons and the different challenges this time of year brings. 

Our residents have really enjoyed the summer period and for the first time since the Covid outbreak many have been able to get out and about and enjoy some of the outdoor activities.  The last of our summer fetes took place at Blackdown, and it was another roaring success. We raised over £600 for the residents’ fund.  

All our original overseas sponsored staff have now successfully completed their training, and we now have six new nurses across our homes. I’d like to thank them for the effort they have put in, and comment on how marvellous their individual contributions have been.  I know some have had challenging backgrounds themselves and they have been an inspiration to others.  

This brings me onto the topic of working in care more generally.  Care is my vocation, and I am dedicated to doing all I can to make sure our residents and staff have the best possible experiences in their day to day lives. We have now set official company values after collaborating with staff and managers. We are proud to follow this ethos, which is:  

CARING – We always care for one another, and our residents 

RESPECT – We have respect, dignity and individuality embedded in everything we do 

TEAMWORK – We are a diverse team that always works collaboratively 

HONESTY – We are open, transparent and learn from any mistakes 

This ethos should be the bedrock for anyone who works in care. There has been a lot said and written in recent times about ‘care being in crisis’.  It is, I don’t doubt that, and much of this is to do with problems with recruitment. You won’t find a care manager anywhere in the UK who hasn’t experienced this in the last couple of years 

However, I think the problem is more complicated than it is sometimes portrayed. It’s not just about wages and work conditions. We pay well above the minimum wage and the vast majority of our staff love their job. it’s more about two other things. One, how a career in care is not given the same weight as a career say in health or other public duty professions, and two, ‘a state of mind’. 

To explain further… The care profession is not properly reflected in our academic sector. Being a ‘professional’ is often associated with long hours spent on academic work in a university library, or years of being at college doing exams. People therefore mistakenly believe that as you don’t have to do this to have a career in care somehow it isn’t a proper ‘profession’. This is wrong. There should be more scope to study care as a profession and far more young people should be informed about how a career in care can be not only very rewarding, but also be long-term with career path prospects. 

We have seen many staff using care as a ‘stop gap’ to a career as a nurse, paramedic or doctor. They came to us as students, using the care sector as ‘in-work experience’ towards a career elsewhere, without really thinking, or being properly informed, that care itself is a valuable career, with future prospects.  

This really must change – otherwise the care sector as a whole will go from crisis to crisis. So the way our profession is viewed and valued is fundamental to seeing positive change.  

So too is ‘state of mind’. Somehow, we have developed a generation of young people who don’t see helping others as the virtue it once was. We have lived through a consumerist age, where people ‘want’ rather than ‘give’. Where people aren’t taught the rewards of hard work, of planning for the future or even sometimes just basic respect. It’s sad to see and of course there are many young people who are just brilliant, and have seen through all this, but it is a general trend which hasn’t helped.  

Whenever we have young people coming to us, we try to show them how they can benefit from having the right attitudes to life. We show them that hard work brings not just financial reward, but ‘personal’ reward too. This is crucial. So many young people haven’t learned what the saying ‘rewarding job’ actually means. But once they get into care they soon do, and they realise that giving respect and help to others is invaluable. It doesn’t just help other people, but it also grows that inner sense of respect and fulfilment. 

So I think we have to be honest about this prevailing attitude in some of the younger generation, and we must shake up the system so that Care is treated more seriously as a profession. If we get those two things right, then we can start to make positive strides forward 

Catch up again with you soon.