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Here’s her story of the last 10 years:

I always aspired to be a manager and felt that I had some good attributes to do the role.

I was lucky enough to be appointed as Everycare’s second Manager and was recommended to the Directors by my predecessor. I remember my interview for Everycare that lasted pretty much 5 hours! I was exhausted but it felt right, so I was really delighted to get offered the role as Care Manager. I knew this would be a good opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives, and to this day, I believe have.

It was very busy from day one and I needed to grasp so much. As you can imagine, there was a mountain of things to learn. I had to get out and meet all the clients, deal with lots of problems and issues around the clients and carers, plus get to know other health care professionals. It felt like a whirlwind for the first three months, with long hours. Some days I worked as long as 14 hours and was then on call. I had lots of updating to do with care plans and needed to get to grips with the planning.

I remember doing my first assessment with a client and found it quite a challenge to get all of the information needed to ensure that we could provide the best care, followed by hours of prepping the care plan, adding it on to the system, putting the relevant documents into the house file. It was always a challenge to keep house folder up-to-date as people’s needs changed, so I was quite excited about the electronic app that had been developed. This is the most effective way to ensure that carers had what they needed to complete their work consistently. It allowed us to keep things updated all of the time. It was a bit daunting for some of our carers that were not tech savvy but when they had their training and support, they loved it. Nowadays it is more advanced and effective care is so much better.

I really found my feet and settled after about a year of working at Everycare. We introduced online training to enhance the practical training that carers learned, most enjoyed this, there were always a few that begrudged the training, but they did really understand the importance of it.

I began to get requests from our clients for Live-in care as many people want to stay in their own homes. I looked into this and realised there was a need for this. I started Live-in care services in 2016 and could really see the benefits of having someone living in your home to support your needs. To be able to stay with your own possessions and in a home you love is definitely appealing.

Some of our clients have had some temporary live-in care when they have been unwell or recovering from an illness and this has proved to be a better way to recover with someone assisting. We found that family members were happy about this too and felt reassured that their loved ones were well looked after. It has given me a great sense of pride to make it happen and see clients really happy. It might surprise you to know that we now have more Live-in carers than carers that attend clients for shorter visits.

I’m always a sucker for fun and we wanted to do something for our lonely hearts in Winchester so I had a hair brain idea to hold a speed dating for the older generation. Well, it was so much fun and we had a good turnout. The gentlemen were outnumbered by 3 to one and were spoilt for choice!! We may do another one in the future.

We also recognised that many of our older generation have been launched into an unfamiliar world of technology, so we came up with the idea of Techfest 65. The idea was for the older generation to come to our event whereby we could teach people how to use their devices, such as a mobile phone or a tablet. We started doing these regularly and Vodafone came and supported us, they loved the idea so much and wanted us to go nationwide with them! But we gracefully declined as we couldn’t possibly manage this being a small company. Tech Fest has been so successful we have held at least 10 now and have many returning faces, so watch out for the next one!

Covid happened and this was a scary time for everyone and still affects us today. It was so difficult to manage Everycare when carers and clients became unwell with Covid. The carers were not allowed to work for 10 days. Sometimes we had several carers off, with carers on holiday at the same time and carers going off sick for normal things. As you can imagine it was a very horrible time, but we got through it and kept calm and carried on! Let’s hope that nothing like that happens again!

In the mist of all this, we were approached by Home Care Finder, who were based in Sutton Scotney, and wanted us to take on their business. They were half the size of us, so we decided to go for it.  This was by far one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since working at Everycare, taking on more staff and new clients, I had my work cut out for me. I didn’t sleep properly for about three months and gained a few extra grey hairs! I could not have done it without the team, they were excellent, it didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped as the staff were very unsettled by us taking over and all of the new office team I had acquired left! That was a big blow so we quickly needed to settle the staff. We merged the two companies and all this through lockdown – was not for the faint hearted!

Earlier last year we took on Melody Care based in Winchester who were a fairly new office branch who had found it hard to get going. We acquired some lovely clients and staff to which we still have today. This was an easier acquisition with no sleepless nights!

We had two horrible depressing offices whilst working for Everycare and decided that we needed a place we could call our own. So, we started looking for a new office. We looked at several places, some houses, some shops and then found a lovely office in Sutton Scotney. I initially thought it was a bit far out of the town centre, but it had everything we could possibly need and more, and to be honest it’s better. It is situated in a lovely village and it was perfect! We began the bidding war and were so happy that we got the office! Going from the view of a fence from our old office, where the highlight was a squirrel running across, to a bright and airy room with lots of windows, two floors and nice facilities, was a fabulous upgrade, we thought it was only right to have a grand opening! We had lots of lovely guests and well-known faces including the Mayor of Winchester, to name but a few, to celebrate our special day.

If you asked me what the best thing is about this job is, I’d say all of it. Everyday is a different day, no two days are the same, I love the fact that we help people, that’s all I have ever wanted to do in life. I have run a few other businesses with my husband and it doesn’t compare to this, with the satisfaction. It’s incredibly rewarding and I’m so proud of what we have achieved. There have been many challenges and unexpected things to deal with all the time, things that might even raise an eyebrow and you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you all of them! We have to ensure that we are compliant to all of the rules and regulations of the industry and ultimately provide the best service which we strive to achieve.

I have been blessed with the best team of carers and office staff any manager would wish for. There have been dark days too, but we like to forget about them as quick as they arise. It’s been a great 10 years for me and the team were kind enough to give me a lovely surprise to celebrate my service of 10 years.

2 Responses

  1. Well done Karen. As you know we were so happy with our Mums care over the last 3 years & you obviously played a big part in this. It’s a hard job but you must find it very rewarding
    ……well most of the time !

    Congratulations again on your 10 years

    1. Thank you Sue, we all loved looking after your Mum, you were all very supportive and so welcoming to our team, thank you. Yes it is truly rewarding, it’s the best.