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A day in the life of a care home manager

PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 September 2014

Care home manager Roda Williams with resident Sheila Newman

Care home manager Roda Williams with resident Sheila Newman

Archant

Ensuring round-the-clock care for 40 elderly people while maintaining their independence is the 365-day-a-year job faced by Roda Williams, manager of Romford Grange Care Home.

Roda, who runs a 50-strong-team at the care home in Collier Row Lane, explained how she ensures that everything runs smoothly in what can be a high pressure environment.

She said: “You are on the go all the time. We are responsible for the lives of other people, ensuring they are safeguarded at all times.

“When I walk in, my first job is to go around, see all the residents and ask is everybody OK? Did they have a good night? They tell me if they have any concerns, if they are in pain. From there, it depends what’s happening.”

Roda may have to arrange for medical professionals or social workers to visit residents during the day to address any problems. Even smaller requests, such as a visit to the town or a change in routine, will require a meeting and paperwork to ensure every aspect of care is monitored.

The day shift at the home begins at 7.30am with a handover from the night staff.

When the residents are awake, they have a choice of breakfasts, then activities start.

A range of events, from bingo to board games and ballroom dancing, is organised by the home’s activities co-ordinator throughout the day.

At 10am it’s time for a cup of tea or a cold drink, then activities continue until lunch, the main meal of the day, which is served in the dining room or in residents’ own rooms.

Choices

Roda said: “I have a resident who says, ‘Because of my Parkinson’s, I do not want to sit with everyone else’, and they want to have their dinner in their room.

“It’s giving people choices and allowing people to live the life they would have while they were at home.”

Residents may also have their families or partners visit for lunch. Roda told me of a man who visits his wife regularly. On the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary, staff set them a special table so they could have a romantic meal together.

After lunch, most residents choose to relax before activities start again in the afternoon.

A light dinner is served at 5pm after which residents relax until they choose to go to bed.

Roda’s key role is to ensure the residents’ safety, by conducting spot checks, monitoring weights and medication and even sampling the food each day.

She said: “There are days when I have to deal with a disciplinary, when things are not being done properly. Sometimes we have to go down that route. It’s not nice, but it has to be done. There are some days when you have to be there for the team, almost like being a mother.

“We spend so much time at work; we try to make it as pleasant as possible. I have a great team here. I do not have to be behind them all the time, which makes my job easy because they know and enjoy what they do.”

Ensuring staff work in a secure environment and enjoy their jobs is crucial for Roda.

She said: “The positives of the job are the fulfilment, not just for me but for the people we look after. That smile that you get from somebody, knowing you have supported someone. Some of the people do not have any family, so they see us as family. Being there for them is priceless.”

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