Care for the Carers

Valerie Manor provides safe and caring environment for all residents and staff do everything they can to sensitively yet efficiently look after all who live there. Staff take time to get to know each resident and their families, form enduring relationships with them and ensure everyone is treated professionally and empathically. The CQC Inspection of October 2017 recognised all of these qualities when Valerie Manor received a rating of Outstanding.

Let us remember this level of care can only be provided by careful and thoughtful planning and management and ensuring all staff have the right training and support to do their job competently. Zoe Fry, owner of Valerie Manor, has always been mindful of the need to support her staff on an emotional, as well as professional, level.

In 2014, in recognition of the emotional demands of the work, Zoe asked me to provide Reflective Practice group sessions for staff. These sessions have given staff the opportunity to come together and further support and understand each other.  Valerie Manor is a small Care Home and staff frequently feel a real sense of grief and sadness at the loss of any resident. This can impact greatly and tap into personal losses staff may have experienced. The Reflective Practice sessions provide a safe space for feelings to be discussed.

Staff have also attended workshops to enhance and strengthen their interpersonal skills. Subjects have included Understanding Empathy, Building Emotional Resilience and Dealing with Dying and End of Life Care. All workshops are intended to support and care for staff emotionally, which will then enable them to deal with the inevitable challenges of their role.

In November 2019 Zoe approached me as she was keen to find further ways to support her staff and we agreed to plan sessions throughout 2020 which all staff would have the opportunity to attend. These sessions would focus on the importance of wellbeing and the need for us all to enhance our self care. People who work in the care sector are often very well equipped to look after others, but often not so good at looking after themselves!

Coincidentally in October 2019 The Care Workers Charity published a report entitled The Beating Heart of Care; supporting care workers better. Paying attention to the mental wellbeing of staff, creating a culture of wellbeing and building a supportive and appreciative workplace were all vital elements of the report, to which Valerie Manor is already attuned.

Our first Nurture Workshop took place on 2nd March and was attended by 6 staff and included both Nurses and Care Staff. We began with a visualisation to help everyone “arrive” and be fully present and went on to explore both the joys and demands of their roles. Staff were encouraged to think about their work/life balance and how to develop aspects of their own self care. They each completed a goal setting exercise to focus on one thing they could change to improve their self care, which could be physical, emotional or spiritual. We were served some delicious energising smoothies to finish the session. Staff responded very positively to the session and valued the time spent with colleagues as well as the time for self reflection.

Sadly, with Covid-19 further sessions now have to be put on hold for the moment, but hopefully we will be able to resume in the not too distant future. In the meantime, staff at Valerie Manor can access emotional support on an individual basis when needed.

If you need some ideas on how to increase your own self care have a look at the poster below. 

Lynn Bertram

MBACP (Accred) Counsellor, Supervisor, Trainer

01903 741290 / 07802 373233.







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Care Home Professional – Lightening the load