1st Zoom – Team Meeting

As you can imagine trying to ensure we are following the current guidance can be almost impossible at times but we always try to ensure we review any change to maintain the safety and health of our residents and staff.

Over the last 3-4 weeks we have seen a lot of changes in the way we all communicate with each other and we have had to adapt at Valerie Manor as well.

At the outset we wanted to ensure relatives, next of kin, staff and other professionals connected with us, knew what we were doing and how we were implementing the Governments advice. It soon became apparent that not only was it nearly impossible to ensure everyone knew every change that was announced but to keep up to date at the same time.

We went from nearly daily updates to less frequent but more focused updates which both relatives and staff appreciated – everyone’s in-boxes are filling up at the moment!

As we head deeper into the COVID-19 lock-down -PPE is a topic that concerns the whole country. If you turn on your television – it’s normally being discussed on any channel you choose to view. 

Luckily through our wonderful staff’s efforts we don’t have anyone with symptoms at the moment (touch wood, fingers crossed etc) but staff were asking questions about supplies etc.

So we asked ourselves how could we update as many staff as possible without bringing any ‘extra’ into the home to have a team meeting?

ZOOM! – for those that are not aware it is a video conferencing app which is in much demand at the moment. It allows an unlimited amount of people to all join to talk and see each other (if they choose) . I should point out other similar Apps are available.

Today saw the first of what I think will now become a regular staff meeting. Debs & Lucy coordinated the staff working at Valerie Manor to take part on a laptop in the restaurant whilst off duty staff joined from home.

In total 27 staff took part in the discussion in which Zoe explained how the Management team discuss a huge range of items on a daily basis and are constantly planning for the ‘worse case scenario’.  She detailed how we have calculated how many masks, gloves etc we would need and what we have done to arrange supplies.

Zoe & I hope this reassured the team of all of our contingency planning measures and we also thanked everyone for the immense efforts at this difficult time.

Finally we reminded everyone of the lovely comments we are continuing to receive via emails etc from residents families and friends.

Team meetings may never be the same again!

Thank you to everyone that took part!

A very thoughtful act….

Debs our Registered Manager received the below email which I think proves that however bad things are, there all always others that appreciate the sacrifices, commitment and effort that others make.

As you will see from the photo below – this kind act was very much appreciated.

Afternoon Debbie,

Just a quick email to say that all of us at HPS in Newhaven wanted to show our appreciation by sending you and all the staff at Valerie Manor some Pizza for your lunch today. We really hope that this puts a smile on the faces of all the staff working there through this unprecedented time, I know how hard you are all working to keep your residents not only safe but also in good spirits.

Hope you all enjoy! And thank you all!

Stay Safe  

Chris Westwater

Branch Manager

Heating Plumbing Supplies

Newhaven Branch

Tel:  01273 511111

Fax: 01273 511119

Our lucky employee of the week!

It’s Friday so it must be time to announce this week’s lucky team member!

Drum Roll please………………

and the fourth member of the Brilliant team to receive a Marks & Spencer voucher (kindly donated by some of our generous relatives) is……

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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