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Day in the Life of a Care Home Manager

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Name: Nigel Jopson
Role: Care Home Manager
Location: Godalming, Surrey
Wage: £40K+
Previous job: Home Manager for a Southern Cross home

I am the manager of Jubilee House in Surrey, which is part of Care UK. I have been in post since February 2006 and enjoy the challenges and variety in my job. It is very hard to describe a typical day as there are so many different parts to my work, but I will try.

On arrival at work I try to get to my office before I start answering questions but do not usually succeed. I speak to the deputy and administrator if they are already there but sometimes I arrive early to see the night staff. Check emails and post, look in diary and see if anything has been added then walk around the home and see what is happening.

This is a very rewarding part of the day as I usually have time to talk to staff and residents and find out if there are any problems or possible problems developing. I find that if I am accessible then I get told things at an early stage and can deal with small things before they develop into big things.

For the same reason my office door remains open at all times so that visitors and relatives can see me and know that somebody is available. In the same way the administrator and deputy also work with open doors.

OK so having walked around the building, spoken to the nurses, care staff, residents, kitchens, domestics and had a chat with the handyman about what has broken or gone missing I return to the office. By now there is usually another rash of emails and maybe the post has arrived.

As Home Manager I am responsible for everything and this makes for interesting times. On a typical day I can be dealing with problems concerning blocked drains or negotiating contracts.

At the moment I am working on three areas of the home and need to work out what needs to be done when and by whom. The areas are gardens, dining rooms and bedroom furniture. All have certain time-frames they have to fit into but also other logistics to be considered – for instance one of the gardens is in a courtyard and the only way to it is through a dining room. Need to get the garden finished before we start the dining room as the new floors would not take kindly to the concrete and soil that is being moved. When the gardens are finished they will be lovely and the residents will benefit, as we will have raised flowerbeds so that they can join in. This is part of my organisation’s commitment to activities-based care, which considers that activities should be a part of daily life and not an additional thing.

I am also preparing to deliver the Alzheimer’s Society course Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow to the staff here and from another Care UK home nearby. This is an excellent course and helps staff to understand more about the reasons that our residents may behave in the way they do.

It also looks at person-centred care, which is looking at the person first and the disease second. This helps with the development of personalised care and ensures we give the best care we can to our residents. The only drawback to the course is that I have to provide all participants (myself included) with tissues for the last segment.

I am a registered nurse and also have a BSc in Health and Social Studies, which has helped me as there were a lot of social workers on the course and I am now more able to understand their problems and what drives them. I have worked in many areas including hospitals, community, as a nurse practitioner and even for a diving firm.

I find however that my heart is really in elderly care and in particular in dementia care. This job is, I feel, the best way to advance as you can still have contact on a day to day basis with patients and do not spend all of your time in meetings (quite a lot sometimes!). I also receive a decent salary and have a good and supportive team both in the home and also from my company.

Care UK is a very good company to work for and I find them supportive and also open to new ideas. They are not scared to try things out and listen to what the staff say. We have recently had a consultation exercise on pay and conditions and all members of staff were able to put forward their views and wishes for inclusion at local, regional and national meetings.

This has resulted in some changes to staff conditions and everything suggested was discussed. I like the fact that care UK recognises its staff and is happy to promote internally. I know that some Home Managers started with the company as carers or nurses and that some senior managers started from positions such as kitchen porter.

In conclusion, I am very happy in my job.

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