As the General Manager at Brendoncare Knightwood, three of the most commonly-asked questions I’m asked are: “Have you had a good day?”, “What have you been up to today?” and “How’s work been?”. Whenever I’m asked these, my response is often the same. “Not too bad, thank you,” I reply, simply because I can never sum up the enormity of the work we do in a few sentences. But let me give it a go!
What is working in care?
As you may have already discovered, there’s a lot to it. Due to the nature of working in the care sector, going home thinking about outstanding tasks is not uncommon because we offer a 24//7 service. There is a permanent responsibility to ensure every resident within your setting is cared for properly – with kindness, dignity and respect. It can also be an emotional role, providing regular support for staff by listening, guiding, coaching and reassuring.
Our home is always filled with laughter – from daily activities which fill rooms and corridors with frivolity to intense games of Uno, which brings out a competitive side to anyone. It is an extended family that learns about each other over time – and a true home for everyone. Hearing a resident call Brendoncare Knightwood their home is the highest compliment and the best feeling.
A typical day at Brendoncare Knightwood
I start most days by greeting staff and residents before sitting down to catch up with any goings-on, messages or emails. Reports always need to be completed, including audit tools, spreadsheets, stock and medication management – and general meetings to fit in to.
Being an ear for someone to talk to or a shoulder needed for them to lean on matters to me, so I maintain an open-door policy for residents, staff and relatives. This can be by phone or email if an in-person visit isn’t possible.
As a care home manager, many people look to you for answers, which is a big pair of shoes to wear! Commonly, external stakeholders include GP surgeries, hospitals, district nursing and community care teams, pharmacies, visiting professionals, governing bodies and community members. Time is spent having internal discussions with our on-site maintenance team, other care home managers and Brendoncare’s Senior Leadership Team.
Making a difference
Being involved in every aspect of residents’ lives is paramount to me, even by supporting them and their loved ones quietly in the background. I believe it’s vital to make a difference in the lives of our residents. For my sins, I often spend more time with residents and staff than with my own family! However, the care we deliver around the clock undoubtedly has a positive impact on the residents daily lives which makes all our efforts worthwhile.
The care sector can be a challenging field to work in. Your day-to-day responsibilities revolve around putting others first and ensuring everyone else’s needs are met above your own. However, the team here need little encouragement from me to perform to the best of their abilities. Boundless energy and enthusiasm pay huge dividends for the residents and make an invaluable contribution to this safe, warm, happy and inclusive home. As a team, and as friends, good communication and collaborative working can help everyone thrive.
Kindness and Compassion at Work
It is always desperately sad whenever we lose a resident, and experience has been the most significant educator in terms of helping me deal with grief. Losing people you have cared for whilst supporting their loved ones and your staff team is an emotionally intense part of the role – but one many might never think about. There aren’t many careers where you can go from giving CPR to replacing clean towels in a resident’s bathroom. Both important tasks but completely worlds apart.
For me, the difference you can make to elderly and vulnerable people, the life you give back to them when they thought they may have lost it, means more than anything ever could. Where we can, we take comfort in having made a person’s stay at Brendoncare Knightwood the best experience possible for all involved.
To explain the feeling of working in care in just a few words… I’m still not sure I can do it, but I guess I’d have to say pride, honour, empathy, love and, more so than anything, privilege. I am very fortunate to work with a team of amazing people throughout Brendoncare who care for and support the most extraordinary people who live in or use our services.
As you may have gathered by now, being the General Manager at Brendoncare Knightwood is more than a job. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
About Brendoncare Knightwood
Charlotte Gilbert is the General Manager Brendoncare Knightwood, a 20 bedroom residential home that offers respite care in Chandler’s Ford. Conveniently located in Hampshire, Brendoncare Knightwood is also home to our close care complex where residents live independently in their own homes with support on hand 24 hours a day if needed.
You can find out more about Brendoncare Knightwood or our friendly team on call 0300 303 4866.