What does the day in the life of your role look like?

A typical day as Head of Dementia and Development at RCH involves supporting our services to achieve excellence in all five focus areas of the RCH dementia strategy.

I am passionate about educating staff to help improve their knowledge, skills and competence in order that they can make a difference to the lives of our residents. Sometimes that means designing and delivering programmes of training for staff in our homes, but it can also mean supporting staff to understand why creating the right environment is so beneficial to our residents whether that be a cosy lounge, an inviting dining room or a safe and stimulating garden space.

In each home I work closely with our Dementia Ambassadors and Lifestyle Teams to create opportunities for meaningful activity and engagement, helping residents to keep on doing the things they love as well as have new experiences. Recently we have introduced ‘Motitech’ exercise bikes and ‘Real World Walks’ and it has been great to watch residents and staff alike discover the joys of virtual reality technology. Similarly introducing the family newspaper ‘Famileo’ has helped us reconnect friends and family with our residents using a mobile phone app.

Bringing people together and making connections is an essential part of my role and I facilitate our home teams to learn from each other and share good practice using on line forums as well as face to face opportunities when allowed. This extends to providing opportunities for family and friends of our relatives to get together (both in person and virtually) to learn more about what we do at RCH as well as talk about their experience of supporting a family member with dementia. By listening to what our relatives say, we can learn what is important to them and our residents and improve the care we provide.

I visit our services daily and am on hand to offer advice to the teams about the care and treatment of individuals as well as guidance on how to implement the dementia strategy. Remembering that small things can make a difference is really important as I go home at the end of each day compiling in my head a ‘to do’ list for tomorrow!

Why do you love working for RCH care homes?

I love the passion and commitment of the senior leadership team who on a daily basis guide the homes to achieve the very best for our residents living with dementia and their families.

I love the drive and determination of the care home managers who strive to lead their teams towards excellence in person-centred dementia care.

I love meeting the residents in our homes, chatting to them about their lives now and in the past, they help me focus on what is important in life and remind me why I do this job.

What does a perfect day with your family look like?

A perfect day with my family would be one where we invite friends to share an aussie bbq in our garden. The sun would be shining, the garden would be in full bloom and the cats, Roger and Trevor would be sheltering from the sun under a bush. We would have grown some of what we eat at our allotment and there would be lots of laughter, reminiscing and a glass or two of something bubbly.