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I’ve been the Manager at Fairways since Care Plus Group purchased the home on 11th August 2017. Prior to that, I had the advantage of working with the previous owners on their quality assurance programme and got to see how the home was functioning so I came in to the role knowing what the home needed.
My introduction to care began when I was 21 and I was caring for a family member with a long term health condition and following this I volunteered at a pupil referral unit.
In 1996 I got a job working with people with learning disabilities and I knew from this point that this was what I wanted to do for my career – I wanted to help people who had challenges. It was like something clicked and I realised this was what I wanted to do. I moved over to the Local Authority in 2002 as a Support Officer – both working in residential and community settings working with a range of people with learning disabilities and challenging needs. I moved up through a Team Leader, Deputy Manager and then Manager’s role.
Because of my skills and past experience I was asked to go and work within Intermediate Tier Services at The Beacon, to support quality assurance and Care Quality Commission (CQC) compliance. In 2014 I moved over to work on a quality assurance project looking at standards of care in care homes across the country. I spent a lot of time travelling around the country looking at standards of care from both a quality point of view and also if I were a family member looking for a care home for a loved one.
When I took on the Manager’s role at Fairways in 2017 it was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ by the CQC and in short space of time we took it to a ‘Good’ rating.
My background knowledge in terms of people’s needs, challenges and their behaviour is really beneficial working with some of our residents with dementia. My values and beliefs are around person centred care – putting the person first and dealing with everything else afterwards. I’m an NVQ Assessor, Mental Health First Aider and a Respect Facilitator so if we’re dealing with people that may have challenges this provides a safe framework for this.
My background is more around operational management, the structure of the home, setting up systems, regulation and compliance, developing the staff team and working with people who may have challenges. Our Deputy Manager, Samantha has skills and knowledge around delivering the services, nursing interventions, therapy experiences and in this way we complement each other’s skills and knowledge.
I knew when I started working with people with learning disabilities that I wanted to work with people with challenges.
I joined Fairways in August 2017, initially as a secondment then the role of Deputy Manager came up, which I was successful in getting. I started working in Care Homes at the age of 17 and have worked in both residential and dementia care homes.
I moved to work as an Integrated Support Worker within Care Plus Group’s Intermediate Care at Home team and then the opportunity came up to train as an Assistant Practitioner. I continued to work and also went to University for 2.5 years and completed a degree to become an Assistant Practitioner.
I continued with my education and completed a Health and Social Care Degree. I was initially asked to come over to Fairways to support the staff with Infection Control advice and moving and handing on a secondment basis but then the Deputy Manager role became available.
We always try and treat our residents as a person first, and then we look at their conditions and challenges afterwards. We find out about their likes and dislikes, their interests, abilities and limitations and tailor the care around them.
There are obviously all the basic needs to be met, medication and meals for example that our care team look after. But we look at the additional things that we can support that give people a whole life, that go over and above just getting your daily needs met. We try to work with our resident’s individual strengths to allow them to carry on as much of a normal life as possible whilst they are in 24 hour care.
When we are recruiting staff, these are the values we look for – people who want to make a difference to people’s lives.
The thing that makes Fairways unique is our connection to Care Plus Group. Being part of a much larger care organisation gives us access to resources and a wider support network. We are able to bring in specialists from Care Plus Group to support our residents particular needs, such as an onsite therapist and access to specialist moving and handling advice.
We are very person centred and treat each of our residents as an individual. We also encourage family visiting and don’t have strict times for visits. However we do have protected meal times where we ask people not to visit, this it to provide a relaxed meal time experience for all our residents.
The team gets to know each resident as an individual and looks at their individual needs. Our Activities Co-ordinators find out about people’s likes and interests, their backgrounds and their histories so we can create relevant activities. We talk to families about what their loved ones previous careers were like and see if there’s anything linked to this we can get them involved with. Sometimes when people have short term memory loss it’s about spending time with them and reminiscing – it’s not always about bringing in external activities, sometimes it’s more about making time for people and really listening to them.
We are constantly looking for creative ways to keep people stimulated. We have a lot of residents who we can take out to community activities, but we also have people who can’t go out. It’s about meeting those needs in a different way. For example, we have some residents who go to a local hotel for afternoon tea, but there is also a group of people who can’t cope with this anymore – so we recreate the afternoon tea experience for them in the grounds of the home. We try to be creative and think of ways for residents to have these experiences but in a way that is safe and manageable for them.
Sam: “Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Don’t just chose the first care home you see. Get information from other people who live at the care home. Understand that a care home is very different to being at home, even though we try to make it as homely as possible.”
Kim: “Take your first 15 steps into a home, see what it feels like, see what the atmosphere feels like, what it looks like, and are the staff polite? If you imagine moving into your own home and that gut feeling, listen to what your gut feeling tells you.”
“It is warm and welcoming? Always ask questions. If you’re looking to go into a home or you’re representing a loved one who is going into a home – ask lots of questions.”
As much as we try to make Fairways feel homely, a care home is a different environment to being at home. You have to see moving into a care home as the next part of someone’s journey – they’re going to meet new people, have new experiences and have their needs met at that point in their life.
Fairways is a subsidiary of Care Plus Group and there are a lot of opportunities of coming to work for Fairways because of the connection to CPG. There are high expected standards within the organisation and this is reflected in the investment in our staff.
As a Fairways member of staff you will be able to attend the various training courses and opportunities provided by Care Plus Group, this includes a comprehensive induction programme for all new starters and statutory and mandatory training, such as health and safety and safeguarding.
You will also get to develop your role through specific training that will enhance your competency to complete your role to the best of your abilities.
Other opportunities for continuous professional development include the chance to undertake the nationally recognised Care Certificate and Apprenticeships in Health and Social care. We also provide all employees with the chance to attend courses that support both their emotional and physical wellbeing.
You will also have the opportunity to apply for a bursary to support your individual training requests which is open to all staff members each year.
Fairways staff get access to benefits, such as discounts at local retailers, lease cars etc.. and are opened up to a lot of opportunities that being part of a larger organisation offers.
We have a dedicated Sensory Room, which has a huge amount of equipment in it that can be used for enabling the senses – not just keeping them as they are.
The Sensory Room was introduced in 2020, as an additional facility for our residents who are unable to take part in some of the more structured activities.
A lot of residents are very able so can take part in the bingo, textiles, arts and crafts however we do also have some residents with dementia who aren’t able to take part which is where the sensory room comes in.
“The Managers and staff at Fairways Care Home have done wonders for my husband in such a caring way. They have calmed him and cared for him which has helped me immensely knowing he is happy and content. They also consider the feelings of myself and keep me informed about him.”Relative comment
“I think it is beautiful. I come unannounced and it is a nice atmosphere and is always clean.”Relative comment
“It’s wonderful – I feel 100% better since mum has been in here.”Relative comment
“All of you are excellent, your manner is more of care professional friends, rather than just ‘staff’”Relative Comment