Just weeks into her new role as care home manager at Minster Grange Care Home in York, Victoria Darlow, is already making changes to boost communication and empower staff to deliver the best care.
Victoria has worked in health and social care for 14 years, working her way up from care assistant to home manager. She comes from a successful care home in Leeds, where she was manager for 18 months, and before that deputy manager and unit manager for five years. She took the helm at Minster Grange in March.
“Having met with the Maria Mallaband team before taking on the role I could see they share the same ethos as me – that whatever we can do to make the care better, the home better, the environment better, we will do that.
“This is already such a lovely environment. The staff here come to work for the right reasons, they want to be there for the people they care for, and family members have said they’re like a second family – I can’t think of much better feeling than that when you’re leaving loved ones in our care.”
Victoria has already brought some new ideas and energy to the home, redecorating lounges, setting up a weekly newsletter, and creating a Facebook page which will be updated with photos and news from the day to day life of the home. She would like to create a residents committee and a relatives committee.
“My aim as a home manager is to support, coach and enable the team to deliver the best possible care for those living within in our care as well as their families.”
A new ‘employee of the month’ award will recognise staff who’ve gone the extra mile, and Victoria is also set to train more ‘champions’ – care staff who have specialist knowledge and skills and can take a lead in different key areas, such as dignity champions or infection control champions.
“It’s about empowering the team to deliver the best care. For me it’s not about who wears the managers badge its about the whole team that delivers great care makes the home what it is. Everybody needs to be able to shine, regardless of what their role is.”
Minster Grange offers nursing care for disabled young people, residential dementia care, nursing care, and dementia nursing care, and Victoria is looking to bring improvements to all areas.
“Dementia care and end of life care and both are particular passions for me. I want staff to feel confident and comfortable providing end-of-life care because it is so important – you don’t get a second chance to get it right. We are also looking at the environment in the home, getting advice around how we can make the dementia units more purposeful spaces with safe tasks that those living there can be part of.
“And we’re looking forward to things opening up and creating links with the community again – inviting the local theatre group in to do performances, connecting with children in local nurseries for messy play sessions, getting a swimming group going out to the local pool.
“I’m also really looking forward to properly meeting relatives and families after lockdown – I want to get to know them and involve them even more.”
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