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“I like to think I make a difference in the residents’ lives every day”. An interview with Becky Hannigan

Becky Hannigan Carer at Stone House Peverel Court Care

 

It’s been a challenging year for the adult care sector. As we approach the end of 2020, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with one of our team to find out how they’re feeling.

 

For most of our team, choosing a career working in adult social care isn’t based purely on the money they will earn. There are far more holistic benefits for carers; from the sense of satisfaction they gain from helping residents to the feeling of their colleagues being like an extended family.

We spoke to Becky Hannigan, who is 25 and one of the younger carers at Stone House Nursing Care Home near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. We asked her about her experience of working for Peverel Court Care and the benefits, and challenges, of life as a carer.

 

How long have you been a part of the Peverel Court Care team?

I have worked at Peverel Court Care for 3 years and 9 months now. Stone House has been a bit like an extended family to me, we’re all very close.

 

What were you doing before you joined us at Stone House?

Before working at Peverel Court I volunteered in the foundation years in a Primary School and then went on to catering for nearly 2 years.

 

What made you decide that a career in care was a good option for you?

I’ve always had a great interest in the healthcare sector, especially since my family have been in the healthcare profession for generations. Stone House is very close to my heart too, as my Grandad & Nanny lived there during their time as nurses for St John’s Hospital in Stone.

 

How have you found the reality of working in care, compared to what you were expecting?

It’s more challenging than I first thought. A lot of people come into it thinking it’s going to be an easy job. It’s mentally challenging as well as physically. I didn’t realise the kind of connections you make with the people around you; they become like a second family and it can make the job much more special and rewarding.

 

With the media coverage of COVID this year, did you have any concerns about working in a care home during this period?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have concerns. It was an uncertain time and everyone was a bit worried, but my biggest concern – and what I think helped me get through it – was focusing on my residents. Not only in keeping them safe, but to keep life as normal as possible for them and to prevent them from feeling lonely or isolated with not having visitors in.

 

Do you as feel safe as is reasonably possible working in Stone House?

I do feel safe working at Stone House. I have a great team by my side and we are very open and honest with each other. Especially during the challenges that this year has thrown our way, we have regular team meetings to discuss new guidelines, to ask any questions or raise any concerns we might have. We also have weekly swab tests, which provides great reassurance and allows me to be able to fulfil my job with confidence. I think it’s important knowing you have a safe space and team around you.

 

Do you think there is any more we could be doing to protect staff and residents?

No, I think Peverel Court does a great job with that already.

 

How well supported do you feel by management and colleagues?

I feel really well supported in my role by my manager and the rest of the team. For example, a resident recently passed away which was quite upsetting for me. My manager asked to see me privately away from everyone to make sure I was okay and if there was anything I needed or he could do to help.

 

We aim to make all of our team feel valued and appreciated; does that come across as we hope?

I do feel valued and appreciated, for example working over the past 6 months has been challenging and uncertain and receiving vouchers as a thanks for our hard work was uplifting and rewarding. It was a nice surprise for us in a difficult time. Also with Perkbox and the perks we receive from that as well as “Employee of the Quarter” where we also receive vouchers helps us to feel valued.

 

Do you have any tips on anything we could do to improve our recruiting and onboarding process?

Have regular private meetings with new staff, just to see how they are getting on and if anyone is struggling as it is a very challenging but rewarding job.

 

In what ways do you feel like you’re able to make a difference to the team and to our residents?

I like to think I make a difference in the residents’ lives every day. I’ve found that in this job it’s the small things that go a long way, such as just sitting and having a cup of tea with a resident and taking the time to chat about their day can improve their mood. Also setting up a small church session with bible readings, prayers and singing along to hymns has made a massive difference for them to still be able to receive their religious and spiritual needs.

 

How do you see your future in the care sector progressing?

Since I started at Peverel Court Care I have experienced a few different roles. For example I have worked as a laundry assistant, domestic assistant, I worked in the kitchen. I now provide care as well as my role as an activity coordinator. During my time here I have also seen more of the clinical side of things; that has peaked my interest and got me thinking I might like to do a course in nursing and progress within the company in that way, as I have seen others do.

 

Would you recommend a career in adult social care, and in particular with Peverel Court Care, to your friends, family or others considering a future in care?

I have previously recommended people to work at Peverel Court Care such as my cousin and my close friend. I will continue to recommend people as I feel it is a very rewarding job and the homes have a family feel to them.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experiences of working for Peverel Court Care, or in the adult care sector in general?

Peverel Court Care has shaped me as a person and helped my knowledge and confidence grow. I have learned to be more understanding and patient towards cognitive impairment as this is something I had not experienced before working in adult care. In my personal opinion everyone should take the opportunity to work in adult care at some point as it is an amazing learning experience and has taught me some valuable life lessons.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Care Home Recruitment, Care Management, CQC Inspection, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Real life, Social Care & Society, Social Care Strategy, Workforce Intelligence

Examining the social care workforce in England

Examining the social care workforce in England - Peverel Court Care

 

As Skills for Care launch their annual ‘State of the Adult Social Care sector and Workforce’ report, we take a look at some of the key findings and how they impact staff recruitment and retention for care businesses in England.

 

Skills for Care are the Sector Skills Council for Adult Social Care in England. They collect workforce data from thousands of care-providing organisations across the public and independent sectors through their National Minimum Dataset for Social Care (NMDS-SC) programme. This data gives us a unique insight into how care businesses are staffed, both regionally and across the country.

Their annual ‘State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce’ report is quite a long read, so we’ve picked out some of the key insights that impact recruitment and retention of staff for care businesses.

 

Turnover of care staff

The turnover rate of staff working in the Adult Social Care sector of 30.8%. This equates to approximately 440,000 leavers in the previous 12 months. It was also shown in the report that Care Workers had the highest turnover rate of direct care-providing roles, at 39.5%; a huge increase of 11.1 percentage points since 2012/13.

Registered Nurses also had a high turnover rate of 34.0%, especially when compared to other regulated professions, such as Social Workers (13.7%) and Occupational Therapists (12.6%).

Around a fifth of Registered Managers left their role in the previous 12 months (22.0%); this was high compared to other managerial roles and equates to around 5,600 leavers in the previous 12 months in total.

 

New starters in care roles

Skills for Care estimates that the rate of new starters in posts over the past 12 months was 39.3%. This equates to around 560,000 workers. Care Workers experienced the highest starter rate, at 48.1%, followed by Registered Nurses at 35.6%.

It should be noted that the starters rate reflects staff that are new to their role. This includes both those who are new to the Adult Social Care sector (34%) and also churn within the sector – which accounts for 66% of the total. This includes those moving between roles or employers; meaning that the sector as a whole has retained the skills and experience of these workers.

However, it also means that a large proportion of employers were going through the recruitment process at any one time, with workers moving between employers with high regularity, and at considerable cost to the sector.

 

Vacancies in the care workforce

There was an estimated increase of 16,500 jobs between 2017 and 2018 in the independent and local authority sectors combined, from a total workforce of 1.36 million to 1.38 million.

Skills for Care estimates that 7.8% of roles in the adult social care sector were vacant at any given time. This represents an average of approximately 122,000 vacancies. The majority, around 77,000, of the vacancies were for Care Worker jobs, with the average vacancy rate for the role 9.0% of the total workforce.

The increase in vacancy rates for direct care-providing roles over recent years could in all probability be linked to the fall in unemployment rates in the UK over that period. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that the unemployment rate was 7.8% in 2012/13, but had fallen to 4.1% by 2018/19. Pay may also be a factor; Retail Assistants earned 13p per hour less than Care Workers in 2012/13, but in 2018/19 earned 10p per hour more on average. This may shift in pay levels may also be contributing to rising vacancy rates within the Adult Social Care sector.

The Registered Nurse vacancy rate was particularly high at 9.9%. This role also had relatively high turnover and starter rates, which is likely a contributory factor to this high vacancy rate. Nurses were added to the UK Shortage Occupation List in 2015 and have remained listed ever since. The Shortage Occupation List is an official list of roles for which the domestic labour market cannot meet the demand to fill vacant posts. Listing is intended to make it easier for employers to recruit migrant workers to fill these vacancies and help reduce skills shortages.

Registered Manager vacancies at 11.4% were double the average of other managerial roles in the sector and equivalent to around 2,900 vacancies at any given point in 2018/19. Skills for Care analysis of Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings data shows that services without a Registered Manager in post at the time of inspection (or in the year leading up to inspection) were less likely to achieve ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ CQC ratings.

The overall vacancy rate has risen by 2.3 percentage points between 2012/13 and 2018/19. This rise in vacancies, in the context of a wider workforce that has grown at a slower rate in recent years, suggests that the sector is struggling to keep up with demand as the Adult Social Care sector continues to grow, coupled with the effects of an ageing population.

 

Social and political influences on the care workforce

At present, Brexit does not appear to be a major contributory factor to the high vacancy rate. The number of people with an EU nationality in the Adult Social Care workforce has continued to rise since the referendum. However, according to Skills for Care, Brexit continues to have the potential to cause future supply issues for the Adult Social Care workforce, depending on the immigration rules applied post-Brexit.

Around 84% of the Adult Social Care workforce in the year 2018/19 were British. Around 8%, or approximately 115,000 workers, were of an EU nationality, and 9%, or about 134,000 workers, were of a non-EU nationality. Therefore, on average, the Adult Social Care sector had a slightly greater reliance on non-EU workers than EU Workers. As a whole, the overall nationality of the Adult Social Care sector was more diverse than the population of England, which is 8% non-British. However, there are regional variations: for example London had the highest proportion of non-British workers, followed by the South East. Care businesses in these regions are, therefore, more sensitive to future changes to immigration policy than those in other parts of the country.

The proportion of Registered Nurses who cited British as their nationality increased from 60% in 2012/13 to 64% in 2018/19. Over the same time period, the proportion of Registered Nurses with an EU nationality has risen from 8% to 18%. Non-EU Registered Nurse numbers have therefore fallen considerably in this time.

Following the Government’s white paper on ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ in December 2018, the specifics of immigration post-Brexit remain unclear. There could be a significant impact on the supply of workers to the Adult Social Care sector in the future.

 

Preparing the care sector for an ageing population

The ‘Projecting Older People Population Information System’ (POPPI) uses figures taken from Office for National Statistics data to estimate the composition of our future population based on age bands. POPPI shows that the number of people aged 65 and above is projected to increase between 2018 and 2035 from 10.2 million to 14.1 million people in England, an increase of around 38%.

Between 2012 and 2017, the population aged 65 and over increased by 2.1% per year on average. This was faster than the population aged 75 and over, which increased by 1.5% per year on average. However, between 2017 and 2018, the population aged 75 and over grew at a faster rate (2.1%) than the over 65 group (1.5%) for the first time. The population aged 75 and over is projected to increase at a faster rate up to 2025, with the highest growth expected between 2020 and 2025 (an 18.8% increase).

Using models, the number of Adult Social Care jobs in each Local Authority area in England were compared with the corresponding number of people aged 65 and over, or aged 75 and over, in the population there. These two factors were found to be strongly correlated. On average, the more people aged 65 and over, or 75 and over, in an area, the larger the Adult Social Care workforce was found to be. The ‘Aged 65 and over’ model shows that, on average in 2018, for every seven people aged 65 and over in the population, one Adult Social Care job was required. The ‘Aged 75 and over’ model shows that, on average in 2018, for every three people aged 75 and over in the population, one adult social care job was required.

These models were then applied to POPPI estimates of the number of people aged 65 and over, and 75 and over, in 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035 to create a forecast for the number of Adult Social Care jobs required going forward. The models project that if the Adult Social Care workforce grows proportionally to the projected number of people aged 65 and over in the population, then a 36% increase (580,000 new jobs) will be required by 2035. If the workforce grows proportionally to the number of people aged 75 and over in the population, then a 50% increase (800,000 new jobs) will be required by 2035.

 

Successful recruitment and retention leads to successful care businesses

Skills for Care published research in which employers with a staff turnover rate of less than 10% were asked to consider what they believe contributes to their success, in relation to recruitment and retention. Results included:

      • investing in learning and development (94%)
      • embedding the values of the organisation (92%)
      • celebrating the organisation’s and individual achievements (86%)
      • involving colleagues in decision making (81%)

At Peverel Court Care we have taken a number of measures to aid us with retaining our fantastic staff, including our learning and development programme and the introduction of career pathways for a number of roles. We have also implemented a Recognition and Rewards programme for our team, so we can constantly remind them how valued they are by our management team.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Workforce Development

Happy staff means happy residents

At Peverel Court Care, it isn’t just our responsibility to look after our residents, but also to take care of our staff.

We have dozens of care staff working daily in our three care homes; Bartletts Residential Care Home, Stone House Nursing Care Home and Merryfield Nursing Care Home. We know that the way they feel about their work directly affects our residents.

We were surprised to hear recently that despite social care being the most popular of all apprenticeships for young people for the fourth consecutive year, more people are leaving care and support roles than any other sector.

If staff are leaving at an unsustainable rate then they aren’t happy. A rapidly changing workforce and unsatisfied staff are not in the best interest of residents. Unhappy staff don’t deliver good care.

For residents, those who take care of them are like a second family. Daily contact with skilled staff is the least residents expect. At Peverel Court Care, we go the extra mile, making sure that our staff are recruited with the right values and, just as importantly, feel happy, supported and comfortable.

One of the ways we make sure this happens is by working hard to make sure staff feel supported and appreciated every time they come to work.

Beverley Webb is Senior Care Lead and has worked with Peverel Court Care for nine years. She says she has no concerns about feeling underappreciated.

“Peverel Court Care have provided me with all mandatory training, as well as desired training. They have an open door policy if I have any concerns or queries or require information. They’re always there to help.”

Beverley says that this dedication to her wellbeing makes her job enjoyable.

“I am able to give one hundred percent commitment and feel I am valued in all I do within the company from all levels, from junior care staff to the manager and above.”

We want to be sure that we’re giving our residents the best care possible, so we’re dedicated to doing all we can to encourage our staff to stay working with us. They’re on our frontlines and looking after our residents every single day, so we need to be sure they’re committed to providing the same level of high quality care that we are as an organisation. If we invest in taking care of them, we know they’ll be extra committed to maintaining the high standards we expect them to.

Beverley believes that Peverel Court Care’s commitment to her wellbeing has a direct impact on the care and attention she provides.

“I look forward to coming into work and have a smile on my face, which has a tremendous effect on our residents.”

Taking care of residents and looking after our employees go hand in hand at Peverel Court Care, and that’s why we know that we provide some of the best care available.

If you want to hear more about our team, please visit our About Us page. If you’re interested in working with us, please have a look at our ‘Work With Us’ page.

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