A Sussex-based home care service offered West Sussex County Council (WSCC) a helping hand this month, by welcoming a senior staff member from the Adult Social Care unit to their offices in Haywards Heath.
Caremark (Mid Sussex & Crawley), which has been a part of the council’s care framework since 2008, spent time with Tracie Thomas, Head of Adult Social Care and Principal Social Worker for WSCC, to help her get ‘back to the floor’ and reconnect with local care services on a grassroots level.
After getting to know the team, Tracie chatted with Sarah-Louise Hatchard, Director and Registered Manager, and Sue Hills, Managing Director, to learn about the company’s history and current challenges. Later in the day, she accompanied Field Care Supervisor Lisa Gandolf on her daily rounds and met with three of the company’s valued customers.
“Lisa fed back to us that Tracie was reminded how the emotional support we provide is just as important as any physical assistance.
“We met with an elderly customer who told us that the day trips and shopping calls we provide are a lifeline for her. She said they make her feel like a valued member of the community, and they encourage her to be more mobile. Unfortunately, due to budgetary restraints, such trips are not currently funded by the Council but Tracie said she had been encouraged to look for a solution.”
The most eye-opening moment of the day came when the team took Tracie to meet Mary, a care and support worker for Caremark who recently broke both her ankles and is now on the receiving end of care funded by WSCC.
With five children and no nearby family to support her, Caremark has played a crucial role in her recovery. “They’ve been incredible,” said Mary. “It’s a strange turn of events that I’m in need of the care that I usually provide for others, but I couldn’t be more grateful. The team takes it in turns to come over and feed my family, and they even take the kids out when I can’t.”
Last week, staff went one step further by surprising Mary with money they’d raised to help with her Christmas shopping. “They know I can’t work at the moment, and they wanted to make sure the kids could still have a great time regardless of my injuries. It really reminded me that they don’t just care for their customers, they really care about them.”
Tracie Thomas, Head of Adult Social Care and Principle Social Worker, said: “It is all too easy to forget how important the services Caremark provide are once you become a manager, and removed from day to day contact with people who rely on social care support, but this visit really showed me the excellent work that the team are doing, and what a difference they make to people’s lives. I wish them all the best for the future.”