Care Home Managers Celebrate Caring for Older People of Kent for 80 Years
All of Rapport Housing & Care’s care home managers are celebrating 20 years of service with the charity this year, each staring their employment with us back in the year 2000 as carers.
With 80 years of service combined, our four home managers have seen a lot of changes over the last two decades; they’ve developed their skills and worked their way up the ladder to now run their own homes.
Christine Devlin, manages our Canterbury home, Connors House, Nicky Pett runs our most recently opened care home in Tonbridge, Barnes Lodge, Christine Hutchinson splits her time between our two homes in Gravesend, Edward Moore House and Northfleet, Dene Holm, and Jackie Miles oversees Rogers House in Gillingham.
“I remember being quite nervous when I first started as I really had no experience at all,” says Christine Hutchinson, “care in general was very different back then, for example, we didn’t have much knowledge surrounding dementia and care was more routine orientated, things have definitely improved and changed for the better!”
“When I came to Connors House, I liked the feel of the home straight away,” adds Christine Devlin, “training was taken seriously, it was purpose built and staff were friendly. I came from Germany and I was dismayed at the approach of some providers, they seemed to be light years behind but I felt we were very much working towards those standards and the organisation shared my beliefs and vision on how residential care and particularly dementia care, should look.”
“I think I stayed for so long because the organisation has always supported me in my career development, I’ve also loved getting to know the residents, I just love seeing them smile; a small gesture can a long way,” says Jackie Miles.
All of our managers started their careers as carers, undergoing training and development to progress to senior roles and eventually, management, between them they have seen the care sector change immensely.
“Over the years, the sector really has changed a lot. Back then, we saw residents coming in with low and medium needs, these are much higher now,” continues Christine, “when we started providing specialist dementia care, it brought an entirely different challenge for us. No two days are the same here but I love dealing with the many obstacles we come across each day, I thrive on challenging situations.”
But just what has 20 years in care taught them and what will the next 20 bring?
“In the last 20 years, I have seen how the social care sector sadly continues to be undervalued,” says Christine Hutchinson, “I would like to think that social care will finally get the recognition it deserves and the government funding it has been lacking for so long. I’d like to see carers for the vital work they do.”
“The past 20 years have taught me the importance of treating people as individuals. It has taught me patience, understanding and given me the skills to manage most situations. I have also learned the importance of listening and taking time to respond to challenges,” concludes Christine Devlin, “the next 20 years will bring retirement, which seems unbelievable as I feel like I could do much more. I have a five year plan and I’d love to take Connors House to a CQC outstanding rating, that would be an achievement to retire on!”
Jackie reiterates this, “Twenty years in care has taught me that everyday is different, with new challenges and every person is different. What do I hope the next 20 years will bring? An outstanding CQC report for Rogers House!”