Everybody has a leadership role...

Empowering workers to take a leadership role

Empowering workers to take a leadership role

Roger Davies, Chief Executive – MHA relays the story of how his team worked with a person with dementia to ensure that the care and support she received was person centred and relationship focused. This case study explains how his team are empowered to take a leadership role.

The Challenge

Sometimes care workers do not feel empowered to do the little things that make a big difference to people receiving care and support. Care workers need to feel confident in their knowledge and skills and feel supported by their managers to sometimes think outside of the box. They can only do this if they feel that they are empowered by their managers.

What was the difference we made

By focusing on the little things that make a big difference the care workers at Aughton Park in Ormskirk, Lancashire enabled Edith and her daughter Pearl to feel happy with the care and support that they were receiving. Before Pearl was looking for a care home for her Mum she witnessed a key aspect of the care at Aughton Park, Pearl explains:

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I had been to Aughton Park in Ormskirk, Lancashire, the year before with my singing group, I remember one resident became so touched by the hymn someone was singing that she started weeping. A carer went over, sat with her and stroked her hand, not just for a minute, but for the rest of the concert.

I just thought, my word, this person isn’t just doing her job, she really genuinely cares about this lady. And I started wondering what the rooms were like. I never thought at the time that I might be taking my mother to live there."

This is typical of care workers taking the leadership role; they don’t need to wait to be instructed, they have the confidence to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

How we did it

Pearl explains that when the time came for her to consider residential care for her Mum, it was a difficult time for them both, she recalls:

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When we arrived on the day Mum was moving in the senior carer told us about the key worker system, where every resident has a particular staff member to give them one-to-one attention in developing their care plan and acting as a point of contact. Mum’s keyworker when she moved in was a lovely girl called Louise. The senior carer told me that Louise was not going to take her eyes off Mum for the rest of the day. I thought that kind of approach was just wonderful.

When Mum moved in, I wrote down a lot of things about her for the care staff to know. I wrote about her family, the holidays she’d had, that she’d been a seamstress and a farmer, that she liked gardening, things like that. A new carer could read it and know about Mum as a person, and be able to talk about things that would connect with her.

The home also gave me a book to fill in about my mother and her life. I put in photos of our family and a lot of narrative about the jobs she’d had, anecdotes of her riding her bike, her best friend, people close to her, TV programmes she liked to watch. It helps her to reminisce, and it helps the staff to learn more about her.

I really do feel she has person-centred care. When she needs to gain weight, they take the trouble to find out what sort of food she likes so they can add a little cream or sugar to it and she’ll still enjoy it. They also work with me on solving any issues we might have, we discuss them together to ensure Mum is always comfortable and difficulties with her on-going care are resolved.

The staff always use their initiative and will often spend a little time with me filling in the gaps to get to know Mum even better. Every person is so different with different needs and a different view of life, so really getting to know them is crucial to the quality of care they receive."