Welcome to the first in a series of blogs where I have the pleasure of interviewing my colleagues at CareDocs to get to know them better and share their stories with you. I’m Joe and I work in the Marketing team, and today I have some questions for Karen.
The CareDocs Family
As you would expect, the CareDocs family have a combined wealth of knowledge surrounding the care sector. For a start, the software was created and developed by care home owners. However, a diverse set of skills is required throughout the business to provide the levels of support we endeavour to provide, and one of our most experienced members is based within our fantastic Training team.
You may have spoken to Karen personally to learn how to use the system or perhaps recognise her name from one of our monthly live webinars. She’s friendly, helpful, wise and we thought this would be a great platform to find out more about Karen.
We had the opportunity to sit down together and speak about work, history and personal interests. I went into our meeting with a brief idea that Karen’s background involved care, but I was surprised to learn the extent of her experience.
It was immediately clear she is passionate about what she does. Then as we delved deeper into her past, to say I’m impressed at the dedication she has shown to the sector would be an understatement. But enough from me – let’s find out about Karen.
Life at CareDocs
Hi Karen. Tell us about your role at CareDocs.
I’ve been a Trainer at CareDocs for two years. I mainly teach customers how to use the software but because each session I attend brings me a unique experience, rarely are two days the same. Our users have different needs and expectations, so I have to adapt my approach and delivery each time to suit the setting. For example, I could be in a nursing home one day but in a home that caters for mental health or learning difficulties the next.
I usually travel to care homes to provide face-to-face training which I prefer, but since the COVID-19 outbreak we have pro-actively switched to providing dedicated remote training to support customers in the way that fits their situation.
What does your role mean to you?
I enjoy training because I’m passionate about educating people on care. I get to improve the quality of service which carers provide to their clients. After all, proper care is the most important thing. Those who require care need to be respected as the individuals they are, and without the right training and education it’s easy to lose sight of that. Using a quality digital care management system gives people the opportunity to look deeper at the levels of service they are giving. So, I like to think that CareDocs gives residents a voice.
What do you think CareDocs does well?
We encourage our users to enter as much detail as possible when adding information about a resident, whereas other software providers have been known to over-simplify the process by providing shortcuts like tick boxes. But care home residents are not tick boxes – they are individuals. Taking a person-centred approach to care helps ensure there’s compassion, empathy, inclusion and that a sense of independency can be maintained which is needed to build confidence.
Life Before CareDocs
When did you start working in care?
I’ve been working in the care sector since I left school at 16 years old. I originally trained as a paediatric nurse before making the move to a nursing home for seven years. I left to become a registered manager with a focus on elderly care. I stayed for 23 years and supported with opening several services for mental health, chartered living, residential care and domiciliary care. I would help the set them up and manage them for the first 12 months.
Why did you decide to pursue a career as a trainer?
At 51 years old I decided I should go back to school to get a teaching qualification. I wanted to make a difference to the care sector by using my experience to educate people on how to give quality care. I grew up at time when there weren’t the same standards or regulations in care homes as there are today and I have some unpleasant memories, but those same memories are what drive me to inspire change.
What are some favourite moments you have as a trainer?
After getting my qualification I went back to work, helping unemployed people to achieve their NVQ Level 1 in Health and Social Care. Being certified in several care-related skills, I would train them in First Aid, Moving and Handling, Safeguarding and Infection. I would also assist with CVs and applications. We ended up with a fantastic 62% employment rate for our efforts but unfortunately the Government withdrew funding.
Finally, before joining CareDocs I spent several years at a care corporation as a Learning and Development Partner, where I oversaw compliance requirements for staff training. This was a great responsibility as I worked in partnership with care managers across 15-20 residential and nursing homes. My experience has allowed me to gain valuable exposure and understanding of care businesses and settings from a variety of different facets which I still use today.
Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share?
I’m a Dementia Friend, which is somebody who learns about the condition to raise awareness and understanding about how people with dementia live. I would also go out into the community and offer support face-to-face. I even co-created a training program to help people relate to those affected by dementia and learn how to care for them effectively. The program was adopted by the University of Worcester for research, which I am very proud to have contributed to.
I spent seven years as a Samaritan listening to vulnerable people and managing rotas for other volunteers. It was difficult but I found offering an ear to those in need to be extremely rewarding. I’m also a Champion for the Dignity in Care campaign, spreading the importance of maintaining the dignity of those who require care. Dignity means a lot of things to me: human rights, self-belief, self-esteem, respect, honesty, kindness, compassion, communicating and promoting independence.
What does being a Dignity for Care Champion mean to you?
I became a Champion to make a difference to the older generation. People should be treated as individuals, with the resident being at the heart of the care service. In my opinion, all aspects of care should be person-centred, with focus being on people’s strengths as well as weaknesses.
Thanks for your time, Karen!
If you would like to schedule a CareDocs training session, please get in touch by phoning 0330 056 3333 or emailing email@example.com.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a Dementia Friend, a Samaritan or the Dignity for Care campaign, please follow the links to their websites.