Meet Community Support Manager, Emma Lawrence. Emma joined Gray Healthcare in February 2019. Here she tells us what it is like to work at Gray Healthcare.
What did you do before you joined Gray Healthcare?
‘When I finished school, I went to my local Yale college to complete a one year ‘Access to Nursing’ course. I then attended Wrexham Glyndwr University to do my nurse training, but for personal reasons I did not complete my qualification. My first job in health care was as a Support worker providing care to people with learning disabilities and older people in their own homes. During this time, I completed my NVQ Level 2 and 3 and was promoted to a training role within the company, which I really enjoyed. After several years, I then moved to work in a residential care home for the elderly in Wales and after two years I was promoted to the role of Deputy Manager and completed my NVQ level 5. I later relocated to Chester to work in a residential, nursing and dementia care home to be close to a member of my family who had become ill. Sadly the role did not offer me the flexibility in hours I needed to be able to support my relative at home. About this time, a good friend of mine told me about Gray Healthcare and suggested that we both apply. We now work together supporting a gentleman who has autism and learning disabilities in his first ever home living independently with staff support and I’ve been here working with him ever since.’
Can you tell us about a typical day ?
‘Every single day is different, even though the gentleman I work with likes routine! We have a very close bond and have lots of laughs together. The person I support loves going out for coffee, clothes shopping or just for walks along the marina. We are out most days doing something different. We have a daily activity planner which the gentleman I support completes with our help – he can choose what he wants to do each day. He loves to go to Nantwich canal or to Winsford Marina to feed the ducks. When we’re in the house, we cook together, do some household chores and, for fun we do jigsaws and other games - a particular favourite pastime of ours is guessing games!’
What’s the best thing about working at Gray Healthcare?
‘There is very much a family feeling at Gray Healthcare. Everyone supports each other and looks out for each other. Where I work there are several other Gray Healthcare packages of care nearby, which means you have support from your colleagues in other packages as well as from your immediate team. Everything we do is for the people we support. When we are working out the rotas, the team work together to try and make sure that, wherever possible, we cover the hours in all the packages in our area to cover holiday and illness rather than using agency staff. This works much better for the people we support and is less disruptive because they know all our team members so well.’
What, if anything, do you find challenging about your role?
‘There have been days that were difficult. The gentleman I support has lived in institutions most of his adult life, and it has been hard work to gain his trust and confidence. Before he came to us, the team spent months visiting him in his current setting to ensure that when he was ready, his move into his own home went as smoothly as possible. He has now been with us for four years, the longest he has ever lived in the community. With a regular staff team, he now feels safe and that’s why his placement is working so well.’
Do you feel you are well supported?
‘I feel very well supported, not just by my local team but also by the wider team. We receive a huge amount of support from the family of the gentleman we support as well. The training is comprehensive and tailored to the person we support. The face-to-face training sessions are particularly good. My team recently went to the Liverpool office for training on PROACT-SCIPr -UK®. This training session was not just basic training on the approach, but was tailored specifically to the gentleman we support, so it was very useful and insightful. It’s also lovely to meet up with our Liverpool colleagues.’
What advice would you give to someone considering working for Gray Healthcare?
‘If you are naturally a strong, caring and positive person, who genuinely wants to make a difference to people’s lives, I would say ‘go for it’. I go to bed every night knowing that I have done something that day that has really made a difference to the person I support – that’s a great feeling.’
Describe Gray Healthcare in three words...
Honest, proactive, caring