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A day in the life of a home care manager

Two managers at Bluebird Care describe a ‘normal’ day at work

No two days are ever the same for a care manager. This was the case even before the coronavirus pandemic. As is the nature of working with people, every day brings challenges and joys unique to each care manager.

To find out more, we spoke with two managers at Bluebird Care: Caroline Sommerville, the registered care manager for Mid and West Cornwall, and Becki Moore, regional manager for North East Lincolnshire, about a ‘normal’ day at work.

First, we asked Caroline what she loves about being a care manager.

‘As a care manager you wear so many different hats and every day you are presented with new challenges. I receive a great sense of satisfaction when I have been able to resolve an issue for someone, whether it is for somebody we support or a team member. As a manager I can implement and facilitate positive changes for people.’

‘I see myself as the glue that holds everyone together and the person that keeps the organisation on the right path. I have a strong team that keeps things running day-to-day but as the care manager I provide the overall guidance and leadership.’

Take us through an example of a day at work for you.

‘Generally, I start my day with an update from the person who has been on call overnight and we deal with any issues that have arisen. I’ll then ensure that the managers have all visits and shifts covered and I will catch up with them on any ongoing issues. I also usually have several meetings to attend. These could be with team members, families, the people we support or other key stake-holders.

‘Other tasks include:

• collating and submitting figures to our funders

• delivering training to staff members

• helping to prepare for payroll

• preparing invoicing

• carrying out care visits

• cleaning the office

• filling cars with petrol

• providing a listening ear to customers and team members.

‘The list really is endless!’

Can you give us an instance where you have made an impact in your role?

‘We support a gentleman who has a brain injury as a result of an accident around eight years ago. He was very seriously injured, was on life support and has significant needs as a result. In the time that we have supported him, he has made terrific progress with his rehabilitation and has even had a reduction in his support.

‘He knows that he is not able to return to his profession (he was a consultant in a local hospital) and he has accepted that now, so he was looking for alternative roles.

‘One of the areas that interests him is public/motivational speaking. Over the past year he has become more and more involved in our induction and now delivers a talk at each session. He talks about what it is like to have care/support and his own journey.

‘As a result of this, I was able to work with another organisation to enable him to speak at a conference. He gave a very successful talk about resilience, which was incredibly well received.

‘This has made an enormous difference to his confidence and self-belief. He has support to attend the sessions, but he designs them himself and prepares the content.’

How do you juggle all the different tasks in a day?

‘I have a strong and capable management team, so I am confident in their abilities to manage the areas that they have responsibility for within the organisation. I ensure that the right people are doing the right things, so it does not always fall to me to be the person who responds or deals with the issue. I know how to delegate appropriately.

‘I do work long hours but that is part of being a manager. You take responsibility and lead by example. I also have a very supportive family and they understand the pressures of my job.’

What motivates you?

‘I love helping people. If I can do something to help another person then I will always do my very best. That is not just in my pro-fessional life but in my personal life too. I also do voluntary work and like to be active within my local community for the benefit of others.

‘It also helps that I absolutely love my role and having a job that I am truly passionate about motivates me.’

Caroline’s exceptional management skills were recognised when she won the ‘Registered Manager of the Year’ award, which acknowledges the role of responsibility and accountability that managers hold. It also acknowledges the leadership and the im-portance of guiding and directing their teams and supporting them to achieve their true potential.

Next, we spoke to Becki Moore. We first asked her why she wanted to work in the care sector.

‘Bluebird Care Lincoln opened in February 2012. I joined in May 2012 and my career progression followed from there. Home care is fantastic for the time you get to spend with the customers and families on a one-to-one basis. For me, home care is vital, as individuals have a better quality of life in their own homes with more person-centred care.’

What does a day at work look like for you?

‘A day usually begins with a team catch-up from the on-call staff. We’ll then work through any changes and issues from there

‘Some of my other tasks include:

• supporting and coordinating the team throughout the day

• conducting staff training, inductions and interviews

• attending complex care meetings and meetings with directors

• writing new training courses, including on dementia, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, nutrition and hydration

• trouble-shooting

• supporting other managers in the business

• organising and thinking of new customer engagement events.

‘My role is basically a mixture of everyone else’s, but I also support my management team and carers to complete their jobs to the best of their abilities.’

Can you give us an instance where you have made an impact in your role?

‘A customer had motor neurone disease and had been told by their previous provider they would no longer be providing care with just four days’ notice. We had to coordinate training for a care team with specialist nurses and communicate with the customer’s family, who lived in London and Manchester.

‘At the time we had challenging targets set for ourselves. However, I am delighted to say we reached these targets and managed to go even further. To date this is my biggest achievement. The lady had three months of care with us and I even spent Boxing Day on the phone to the family arranging extra overnight care.

‘Overall, my role was the whole coordination of the package, whilst often communicating with her family late at night and meeting them when they visited at weekends.’

What tips would you give to others looking to work in the care sector and those who wish to become care managers?

‘They should expect hard work and a lot of learning, along with good and bad days. As a manager, they must be a team player, expect to work unsociable hours, have targets set which are hard to reach but are achievable with hard work and determination. There are always opportunities to grow your own knowledge and skills and you never stop learning, as every day is a school day!’