Sweating the small stuff

Well here it goes – my first ever blog! I’m Julie Hodges and I have been working with Scottish Care as a Development Officer based in Highland since July 2015.  My experiences so far have covered all ranges of emotions – great joy, sadness, and frustration. That said, the most overwhelming feeling I get and witness is one of hope and a commitment to continually improve the way we all support our older people to live the best life possible. One that is inclusive and person-centred and recognises the importance of all involved in the care home service – residents, families, and staff.

To support people to live a meaningful and fulfilling life can be difficult in trying times – but the desire to do so always seems to be there. I am delighted my role allows me to be supportive to providers (and residents/families) who are experiencing both good and more complicated situations.

Highland is further down the road with integration than other partnership areas. Because of this, I could write about numerous interesting collaborative pieces of work that are taking place on a regular basis; Highland Business Stream, the ‘Echo’ project, the 10-second pause tool, NHSH finance surgeries, NHSH & SSE contingency workshops, day-care review short term working group, complex care STWG. However, the one I have chosen to focus on is ‘Culture of Care & the impact of you’ workshops.

The workshops take place over two days and are open to anyone wishing to attend – our aim is to include residents and relatives in the future. Each group has a cross section of staff and is delivered locally were possible. The participants are introduced to some of the My Home Life tools and philosophies and reflect on their own roles in creating and supporting a positive and quality experience for anyone living, visiting, working, and dying in a care home or care setting. Workshop content is influenced by feedback from residents, staff, and relatives. The workshops are currently being delivered by the NHSH along with colleagues from all sectors who have undertaken the MHL program.

The plan is for those colleagues to present the workshops within their own services and locations to ensure a spread and share of experience and knowledge. Following on from the workshops we have created a support network for people working in care homes and care at home services. This is a supportive group of providers, managers and senior staff who are committed to sharing resources and offering help, as and when is needed, by other services and colleagues. This includes helping to identify effective paperwork/systems assistance following a care inspection or even just a ‘fresh pair of eyes’.

There is a lot to celebrate in care home life and it’s lovely to see this first hand – committed owners, thoughtful managers, hardworking knowledgeable staff, and residents who blossom with the support they have. There is also a lot of work behind the scenes – difficult negotiations and challenging conversations, and I see my role as supporting people through these in a positive way.

I’ve met some amazing people along the way and something which I notice all the time is that small things matter – the way we speak to each other, the care taken to get to know each other and to care. To care about doing a job well, whatever it is. Unlike the title of a popular book, my experience so far is that sweating the small stuff matters and many people are doing it daily. I love being part of this.

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