‘I’ve had enough’ – the decision that changed Sam’s life in the care industry

Sam, CEO of Willowstone Care, is just one of thousands of carers who give their everything to do the jobs they do. Sam was a nurse who became frustrated with the way care is delivered in hospitals and local communities. Today, she tells us [The Quality Care Campaign] about why she left the role, her company and how she aims to help the industry.

“My journey began in 2002, when I started my nurse training, in that time I spent most of it as a Community Nurse, then I specialised in palliative care working for a national charity.”

This nurse realised the country’s dire need for quality well-led home care services in reducing the completely unnecessary hospital admissions. Age UK found that almost 1,000 elderly people are admitted to hospital needlessly everyday in the current social care crisis. An analysis of NHS figures by Age UK found there were 341,074 avoidable emergency admissions for people aged 65 and over throughout 2017.

“I left my role as a traditional nurse as I felt so frustrated in the way that care is delivered both in hospitals and local communities. I got so tired of speaking up about issues in healthcare, only to be told I was a trouble maker. I felt isolated and intimidated by senior staff.

“I was left dreading to go into work, knowing that if I highlighted any issues regarding good practice or substandard care they would go ignored. I didn’t want to be seen as a trouble maker, I wanted to be seen as someone who was standing up and advocating for people that can’t themselves.”

Feeling pretty defeated, Sam didn’t know what to do. All she wanted was to help the industry and give a voice – it was this despair that she realised her greatest adventure was about to begin. Sam was going to start up her own home care company.

“After being bullied and conditions being intolerable, I had a better idea to win – I would start my own home care company. I would get to work alongside and ensure staff encouragement to provide care that we are passionate about. Not only this but giving them [staff] recognition for a very demanding job.

“Supporting them [staff] to become innovative and come up with new ideas to assist people to stay in their homes and live independently for longer. More importantly, instead of using ‘person-centred care’ I wanted to already have this in practice by just listening to what families want and support them and their choices, so they feel empowerment and can be assured their loved ones will have their dignity intact. People want to feel listened to and be actively involved so let’s make this happen.”

Sam started her business in September 2018 after working hard on the compliance for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and successfully completing a foundation year of counselling skills at university.

Willowstone Home Care is based in Chesterfield and aims to be the best home care provider for its area by having professionally trained staff to support independence in the home. The company want to reduce hospital admissions and facilitating early discharge support packages in the community.

The Home Care company provides services that are not task orientated, but one that provides interaction and focuses on what a person can do for themselves. They believe that supporting someone emotionally can have a positive effect on a persons physical well-being and self-esteem.

Their services include:

  • Medication support
  • Personal care
  • Palliative care
  • Dementia care
  • Sitting/companionship/respite at home service
  • 24hr support in the home
  • Prevention of hospital admission service for social reasons

“We stand out from other business because we are a nurse-led service and we strive to promote independence at home and reduce hospital admissions for social reasons. All our care plans and assessments are done by fully-trained nurses, we promote empowerment through education, communication, choice and candour, we listen and collaborate with clients and their families for true person-centered care,” Sam added.

Sam’s long-term goals for the company are to be a flagship and support for companies and families in their local community who are involved in the care sector.

She continues: “Care is an interest that just isn’t going away. The need is going intensify and so is the need for quality, which means we need to work with other care companies, charities, hospices, hospitals and social services.

“Let’s step away from our egos and practice what we preach – person-centered care for all. Our goal isn’t to be the biggest, just be the best quality home care provider.”

Willowstone Home Care are offering free befriender/carer respite sessions during the winter months in support of their mission to keep people out of hospital and be supported at home for longer. Anyone can refer, they need to contact Willowstone on 01785 747010 or via the Willowstone website: https://www.willowstonecare.co.uk

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