When Sarah Vaughan was appointed the manager of a newly established 24/7 community response service, not only had she recently given birth to her second son, but the country was in the midst of a pandemic, nothing like it had ever experienced before.
Sarah, aged 29 at the time, remembers it was a frightening and uncertain time, but it was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down. And like the people it serves, it has changed her life for the better.
Sarah had worked in the care sector for over 10 years when she saw Delta Wellbeing’s advert for a response manager, as part of a pioneering new service called Delta CONNECT that was set to transform the way health and social care was being delivered across west Wales.
Sarah had two young children, her second son Elis was only 7 weeks old, and the UK was in lockdown. But Sarah was extremely passionate about her work and the people that she supported, and she could see that this service was unique; and could make a difference to thousands of people across the region. She said she had to be a part of it.
“I decided to cut my maternity leave short. I knew that if I didn’t take this opportunity, I would regret it,” she said. “The social care sector was on its knees, recruitment was a problem, and the pandemic was causing all sorts of issues. I knew I couldn’t stay at home and do nothing. I wanted to help as much as I could, I wanted to make a difference. I knew this service had the potential to change lives, helping people to stay at home, which is where they want to be, and to remain as independent as possible. We make sure they are safe, and that help is at hand 24/7 if they need it.”
So, in July 2020, Delta Wellbeing appointed the newly qualified manager who had the drive, ambition and passion to lead their newly established emergency and welfare response service.
A a local authority trading company, owned by Carmarthenshire County Council, Delta Wellbeing provides assistive technology and proactive monitoring to support older and vulnerable people to live independently at home for longer. Set up in 2018, it has expanded its services to provide a range of Technology Enabled Care solutions in the health and social care sector and providing innovative services to support patients leaving acute settings as well as in the community.
Sarah worked incredibly hard during the first nine months in post to achieve registration with Care Inspectorate Wales in March 2021, the first of its kind in Wales. It allowed the service to respond to urgent assistance for care and support needs and the ability to provide emergency bridging care in a crisis to avoid unnecessary calls to 999 and avoid inappropriate hospital admissions or inappropriate and unfamiliar placements being arranged as the only alternative.
“The bridging service is critical in maintaining the safety of vulnerable residents when in crisis, often out-of-hours,” said Sarah. “This early intervention gives residents the best possible chance of regaining their impendence and becoming less reliant on long-term statutory services.”
Sarah has a set of personal and professional values that make a real difference to patient outcomes and is committed to implementing the principles of health and social care to ensure the person is always at the centre of all decisions.
Three years on, the service has gone from strength to strength. Sarah has an impressive staff retention rate and low turnover which has retained the skills and experience of employees, but also doubled the workforce. Sarah has designed new patient pathways through innovation and collaboration with key partners and made various improvements which have benefitted thousands of residents across the region.