Inspired by caring for her grandmother, Kylie Child, from Manor Farm Care Home, (part of KRG Healthcare) has gone from care worker to Head of Care. She still adopts a hands on approach to care, putting residents needs first and ensuring wellbeing is maintained during the most challenging of times.
When Kylie Child was interviewed at Manor Farm in 2014, one of the residents who she met asked why she wanted to work in care. Kylie replied that she thought it would make her grandmother proud. Kylie’s grandmother had recently passed away, and she had wanted Kylie to become a nurse. Six years later Kylie is Head of Care at Manor Farm and is inspiring new and old colleagues alike.
Kylie says that she knew soon after joining the home that care work was what she wanted to do, and quickly began training to become a Relief Team Leader, taking the role permanently in 2017. She has been Head of Care since 2019.
When the pandemic arrived Manor Farm had already closed to visitors. Kylie not only had to manage the ever-changing advice and protocols, but also the myriad of other issues which appeared as the months went by. As she explains, “Our main concern was the welfare of the residents, not only physically but mentally too. They were upset that they couldn’t have family visits, and we also needed to prevent the virus from entering the home.”
Despite being a mum, whose children were being home-schooled due to the pandemic, Kylie led by example and covered care shifts when needed, even night shifts, so that the residents were cared for without using agency staff. This ensured that residents had familiar faces around them, vitally important when they were unable to see family, and reduced the risk of the infection being brought into the home.
To bring further cheer to the home during those dark days, Kylie and her colleagues organised a dance video for the residents to enjoy, which was so popular that it went viral.
At the time of writing the second lockdown has ended, but we are living with restrictions and Christmas is approaching. Kylie’s care for her residents’ wellbeing is at the front of her mind again, and she tells me that she has been talking to residents about the things they will do when the restrictions are lifted. She has also organised ‘advent boxes’ for each resident filled with things from their families.
Kylie is a Finalist in the Great British Care Awards, and one of the things which most impressed the judges was her passion for End of Life care. Kylie feels that being with someone in the final moments of their life is a privilege and recounts a time when she supported the very lady who she had met at her first interview when she was in her final days. She says, “The resident had been living with dementia for some years and in those last days her family were unable to be with her. I remained in her room with her for 48 hours until she passed away, sitting in a chair and talking to her, as we are always told that hearing is the last sense to go. I continued talking to her after she had died.”
Kylie explains how proud she felt to be able to perform this service, and that the memory of this resident remains with her. She says, “I could name every single person who has passed away at Manor Farm in the past six years. They all leave a lasting imprint.”
When asked what advice she would give to someone considering working in care, she says, “Everyone I work with, both residents and colleagues, are treated like family. It is such a rewarding career; I cannot imagine doing anything else.”
Kylie’s grandmother, who inspired her career, would be immensely proud of her.