Teresa Bennett-Johnson is the Care Branch Manager at Audley Cooper’s Hill, a role she started in May 2021. She began her career in care at age 18 and through her experiences has become passionate about supporting people to maintain their independence as they get older.
What does your typical day look like?
It’s hard to tell you about my typical day because in all honesty no two days are the same as a Care Branch Manager. But a big focus of my day is working with the care team to map out our care schedules. All our care support is planned around individual need, that means person-centred care planning, supervising staff, making sure our facilities are safe and building strong relationships with people we care for and their loved ones.
Another big part of my role is making sure our carers are continuing to upskill and that Audley has a real presence in an integrated care approach with local services. This means a training programme with lots of co-ordination for the team and building partnerships with other community organisations to establish the best care for clients.
Aside from this, you’ll catch me keeping on top of the admin, double checking we’re meeting and exceeding the standards set by our regulatory bodies and keeping in touch with the care and village teams.
What attracted you to the care sector?
I started my career in biomedical science and through this worked with patients from a variety of backgrounds, with a range of experiences, but they all had at least one thing in common. And that was a desire to stay at home while they received care, regardless of the condition they were living with.
It was through this, and some time working within a palliative care team, that I saw the immense value in supporting people in their own home. This steered me to Audley Care. We enable people, both those living in Audley retirement villages and the local community, to stay in their home, stay independent with the level of support they need.
What’s the most rewarding part of the job?
I have a real passion for dementia care and in 2021 I started the Memory Lane Café. My inspiration was to create an event that was inclusive to all regardless of their condition. And this passion really translates through to the care we provide as a team. I remember one particular case where a lady we cared for, who’d had a fall, was only predicted to live for a few days in hospital. But, by being able to get her home with the right support she lived for a further two years.
What’s the most challenging part of the job?
The nature of our work means that we have to deal with loss sometimes and that can be really difficult emotionally. And then, for me as a Care Branch Manager there are things which are outside of our control, like team illness or power/gas outages, which I have to manage. At these times it’s all hands-on deck and some quick thinking that’s needed, but all it does is underline the importance of the team.
What was you experience of Covid?
Our Audley Villages locked down ahead of the Government guidance and put enhanced checks in place early and this really helped to protect many of the owners in our villages. We also had strict protocols for our care team working in the local community. The incidence of coronavirus stayed very low amongst our client base through the pandemic and many of our clients continued to get the care they needed.
As I look back on it, it was an incredibly heartening time. Our care team turned their hands to hairdressing, IT support and even some landscape gardening to help people during a difficult time.
What do you get up to outside of work?
I love being in my garden, I have a little vegetable patch and enjoy growing vegetable and tending to my flower beds. A few years ago my husband taught me wood turning, so I quite often spend my time making items like fruit bowls.