Making A Difficult Job Seem Impossible: Media Portrayals Of Care Homes

Gill BostonBlog by Gill Boston

Gill Boston, NCF/VODG/ SRC Strategic Partnership Advisor reflects on the recent SPP events and the impact of negative media towards care homes

NCF (in Partnership with VODG and Sue Ryder) recently held a series of free events for frontline managers as part of our Strategic Partnership Programme.

We hold these events every year as a way of communicating to frontline managers changes to legislation and regulation in the sector that affect them. The format is usually the same beginning with a policy update followed by the latest news and information from CQC and Skills for Care. This year the policy update concentrated on aspects of the Care Act 2014 that affect their services, CQC update was about the new inspection regime and ratings and the Skills for Care presentation concentrated on the care certificate and training resources to support providers.

I attend these events each year and each year I am reminded anew how caring, compassionate, knowledgeable our managers are and how thirsty they are for more information that will improve the lives of the people they support.

After reading Carole Sawyers great blog about Registered Managers and after attending this year’s manager’s events, I started to think about the average Registered Manager and where they come from? I suspect most have been care/support workers, few have formal further/higher education; any awards they have achieved often meant juggling work and family responsibilities, sometimes studying at the kitchen table between preparing the meal and doing the ironing!

I wondered how it must feel to function in this climate, to work in a job you really care about and constantly have to defend that job and the people you work with because society’s perception of you, your staff and your service is so negative. It must make a difficult job seem impossible! Issues such as responsible risk-taking must provoke high levels of anxiety when weighed against the possibility of the wrong decision hitting the front page of the tabloids. Managers could be forgiven for never supporting people to take risks, but in reality that doesn’t happen nor should it, but it does make it more complicated and therefore more time consuming.

That kind of determination is often at the heart of what makes our Registered Managers who they are and explains why the vast majority continue to strive to improve the care and support they offer to the people they care for and to  the staff who work with them, despite the current climate of austerity and negativity.

Yet despite (or maybe because of) the difficulties of managing a 24 hour a day 7 day a week service, in a negative, cash-constrained climate, our Registered Managers still turn up to events like ours and participate enthusiastically. Not for them to sit and listen quietly to the speakers, they want to learn from the speakers, challenge if they disagree but also share their knowledge and experience with each other, taking away ideas examples and stories to share with colleagues. That thirst for knowledge doesn’t seem to get less, in fact the more they know the more they want to know.

Attending an event like the ones we have just done is for me such a pleasure, not least because I get to witness first hand just how passionate and committed the people who attend are and how much it matters to them to improve the lives of those they work with.

Reading the evaluation sheets at the end a lot of people said “A great day. Thank you.” I would like to say to all of you who attended “thank you”, you made a good day great!

Gill Boston

NCF Sue Ryder VODG Programme Advisor

Reproduced with the kind permission of The national Care Forum