In the same week I visited Saxon Close to have a coffee and catch up with the people that live there that I have known for many years, and the staff that support them. Saxon Close is a Registered Care home for 6 people in Bedfordshire that I had the opportunity to be the Registered Manager of about 15 years ago. Saxon Close achieves all the internal and external targets that are set and performs well financially (I know this from the recent commercial review report I have written). The people that live at Saxon Close are the same people that I had the opportunity to support all those years ago.
While I was at Saxon I spoke with all of the people that live there and Trisha, Sandra, Nicole and Jane who were working on that day. I enjoyed a cup of coffee, reminisced about things we have done and looked at the changes made to the building. I was shown by one lady the new bed she had purchased and her bedroom filled with the photos of her family members that are sadly no longer with us. I witnessed Sandra supporting two people to look at pictures to select meals and I was shown the changes to the building to support one lady’s change in need. I witnessed a person we support interacting fondly with a person she lives with and talked with staff about the way they offer support and how this has changed over the years. It was great to see everyone and observe so many opportunities for Great Interactions to be experienced, I left wondering why I had not visited sooner.
Driving home after my visit to Saxon Close and thinking about everything I had heard at the conference caused me to think about how the people that I had just spent two hours with could be so positive in these difficult times that we live in. No the people at Saxon Close would probably not choose to live together, no the service does not offer independent living and no the staff have not had a pay rise in many years so why did I not walk away feeling dismayed?
My conclusion is leadership and ownership! It has always been clear to me that Trisha manages Saxon Close by passionately taking responsibility for the outcomes that the people and the staff experience. Trisha is clear in her communication of the expectations of the staff, confident in managing her rota, vacancies and finances, clear about the outcomes for the people that live at Saxon and is a consistently excellent role model and takes responsibility for all outcomes both the good and the bad.
I have concluded that because the staff team that work with Trisha experience her behaviours and facilitative approach as a role model they too behave in a similar way. The staff team appeared well supported, positive and confident that they were providing great outcomes for the people they are supporting and behaved in a way that was respectful and supportive of everything Saxon Close.
It would be great if everyone at Saxon Close were offered their own flat and all the support they required from a staff team with no vacancies but I wonder what they would miss out on If this were to be the case.
So my recipe for ‘providing support…….your way’ is
- take 1 strong leader
- add a team of committed and facilitative support staff
- build relationships based on respect and understanding
- put the foundations in place and support all people well
- everyone to take responsibility and to be accountable in achieving great outcomes for everyone
Sorry Trisha, I know this will make you cringe.
Head of Operations (South)