The Senior Management Team at Powys County Council has for a number of years gone back to the floor to work alongside staff to gain further knowledge and experience of a service from a different perspective. As the council and Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) continue to accelerate plans for integration, members of the local health board team were invited to trade places.
The opportunity to ‘step across the pond’ gives members of the health board an insight of a council service in operation.
The Chief Executive of PTHB, Carol Shillabeer was the first member to take up the offer, and chose to work with staff from the in-house Domiciliary Care Service in Radnorshire.
The visits are key in further understanding the daily challenges staff may encounter as the service continues to modernise its approach in meeting future demand, and managing public expectation.
For Carol, shadowing Mel and Isobel on their regular home care round in Llandrindod Wells was a first-hand opportunity to listen and learn from their experiences of working as a carer, seeing the challenges they face daily, and the cross over with local health services such as Community Nursing.
The day started with an 8am call for an hour to a lady in the town. This was not just any day, but a Birthday. The two members of staff prepared Carol with a briefing of the lady’s needs, care and support along with the necessary PPE, with present and card in hand, they proceeded to their first call of the day. Over an hour passed before the trio finished the call, quick change and a short journey to the next call.
The morning would continue with two further visits that gave Carol an opportunity to brush up on caring skills from her earlier years as a nurse, and soon became a third carer by carrying out personal care and bed work. But it’s not just about delivering direct care. The two carers encouraged independence at every opportunity, giving tasks and guiding someone to do as much for themselves as possible, something Carol immediately picked up on during the day and gave praise for.
After shadowing for the day, Carol said; “Mel and Isobel showed maturity way beyond their years, and delivered a high quality standard of care with lively enthusiasm, sensitivity and humour that the people they care for instantly warm towards and trust.”
The day finished with a visit to the Gwalia Office and the care planning team. A debrief of the morning visits, general background information of each visit and any issues that may need addressing were highlighted.
Carol had arrived that morning expecting a rushed, under pressure service with little time to truly meet the needs of someone in need of care and support. What she witnessed was something quite different.