No two days as a care professional are the same. Whether you’re a care worker, ancillary worker or care manager, each day will bring with it its own challenge and of course rewards. Here we meet Michelle Forbes, a Care Branch Manager at Audley Care.
You worked in an outsourcing factory previously. What made you want to make the switch into the health and social care sector?
Initially, I wanted to get into the care sector in order to gain experience to help me become a paramedic, as this has always been an ambition of mine. But when I embarked on my first care role, this ambition began to change. As I gained knowledge and experience, I discovered that I wanted to improve the lives of those who require support to remain in their own home, where they’re happy and comfortable and feel in control of their own lives.
What was your first care worker role like? Was it how you expected it to be, or more, or less challenging?
My first role in the care sector was a community care worker. At first, I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to manage the role and I remember feeling very nervous on my first day. However, I found it to be the most rewarding job. I felt an overriding sense of achievement and appreciation, and it made any nerves completely disappear. Of course, I was confronted with some of the more challenging aspects of the role. But the challenges are what spurred me to develop further, and I wanted to be in a position where I could focus on my improvements.
What does your typical day look like now?
In my current role as Regional Care Branch Manager at Audley Care, I work with my team to audit, review, continuously improve and implement change where necessary, in line with both Audley and CQC requirements from a compliance perspective. I take the time to ensure my immediate team and the wider team are supported. At the moment, this engagement is mostly through a virtual platform due to the current situation whereby as much of the work that can do remotely, is done at home.
You mentioned that in your previous role as branch manager, care branches have moved from ‘requires improvements’ to a good rating under your management. Is the desire the improve care services a big motivator for you?
Definitely, as the care sector can be very challenging there are constant changes to legislation and governing body guidelines. The end-to end customer journey is the most important focus area for me, along with employee satisfaction. Supporting people to live as independently as possible in their own homes and ensuring employee satisfaction and wellbeing are my key goals. To be able to achieve these goals, reviewing and continuously improving our current practices, and implementing feedback from those who receive and deliver our services, are critical in celebrating success.
Why did you decide to move to a care management role at a retirement village?
Prior to joining Audley Care, I predominantly worked in domiciliary and extra care services. While they offered many services, there was not a very joined approach to delivering them. When I first heard about Audley Villages, I was intrigued to understand how a joined up approach worked in practice and how this improved and benefited those both using and delivering the service. I carried out some research on Audley and found that the company Vision, Mission and Values captured my ambitions to continuously improve, with the customer at the heart of everything they do. I felt I could add value within the team of the market leader and most trusted provider of luxury retirement living in the UK.
Tell us about how your role has changed over the lockdown. There will obviously have been great challenges for the team, but what do you think has been most the most rewarding part of your job during this time?
Life has changed quite dramatically for me. From driving around every day to visit the most wonderful villages, to suddenly working at home – it initially seemed like it was going to be a huge challenge. However I can now say with confidence that despite the challenges, I have continued to feel supported, motivated and empowered. Audley Care has worked extremely hard and dedicated a lot of time to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our team members. The sense of inclusion, commitment, togetherness and teamwork has ultimately overridden the challenges we’ve faced during these unprecedented times, and I feel confident that we’ll continue to overcome them as a team.