‘Willowstone appears to be making headway!’ – a guest blog by Samantha

In February, the Quality Care Campaign interviewed and wrote about the woman that left care because she had enough of what she saw and decided to act. Today, Samantha from Willowstone tells us about what she’s up to and her continuous hopes for the company.

After seven months of continuous work, Willowstone appears to be making headway! I, Samantha, never realised just how much politics and business marketing goes into running a Care company.

Since setting up this company, I have come to a sad realisation. It isn’t about providing good care that will ensure success in your business, but it is the ability to market yourself (and your company) correctly and through the right channels – which is not a strong point of mine!

This ethos has demonstrated some of the reasons why there is so much care in the industry today. Big corporate businesses have huge budgets set aside to go into marketing campaigns, whereas we are a new business so we have tried to access other channels. We reached out to local communities, took part in fundraising events, run information sessions and advertise in local magazines. During our long journey to success, it was clear we want to be known as a company that is aware of what’s happening in the community we are trying so hard to support and change. To keep up-to-date with the community and to keep our clients up-to-date, we regularly publish blogs on our website, advertise local events and also provide health and well-being advice.

Another problem we, as a company, have encountered is resistance from local authorities and even charities when all we want is to join forces to make a change. We have been told that despite having more experience in the care industry then most care company owners and managers, local authorities can’t work with us because of their company policy that does not allow them to work with companies that have been in operation less than 12 months. Don’t get me wrong, this does make total sense, but there are companies that are providing bad care are still in operation because new companies just are not given the chance.

It is quite disheartening – and frustrating – to see the number of vulnerable people in the community that are suffering due to poor practice, and also the carers that are consistently pushed to their limits to provide unsustainable care.

We are still campaigning every day to bring out excellent care standard everywhere. Earlier this month (March), our new team leader – Tracey – joined us after feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated in her previous role. Tracey is excellent and her dedicated and commitment in providing exceptional standards of care is truly something to be admired. When I first met Tracey, I knew she was going to be a huge asset to the team, by her passion during the interview stages. What I admire most is her drive to continuously do better, her drive to keep learning and her drive of networking in the local community.

One of our great achievements, so far, is becoming Dementia Champions. This achievement gives us the opportunity to run information events to help raise awareness in our local communities on how best to support someone living with dementia.

The blogs on our website are written and updated regularly to keep our clients informed about current issues and we also provide information about local events in Chesterfield – where we are based – so our clients can maintain their social life which is good for emotional well-being.

Even though we only have a handful of clients, they are showing huge improvements indicating that our staff and services are benefitting people in the community so they can live independently, surrounded by the people and things that they love. Being independent is vitally important for our clients that live with dementia, as taking someone out of their familiar surroundings can have such negative effects on their health that they can deteriorate quickly.

Despite being in the early stages of our company, we are thrilled at being able to provide the services in the way that care should be delivered – high standards, person-centred care and family inclusive.

Owning a care company is very challenging, but the small changes we make each day, will one day be a town that we have impacted, then a city. We not only shout about change, but we want to lead by example. This mantra is exactly what we offer at Willowstone, a service that is nurse-led – this means that yes, I put my uniform on and get involved with care. If I don’t how can I guarantee high standards for clients and support my wonderful staff to be amazing every day? It also gives me a chance to keep my skills up to date – as well as thriving on seeing people happy with the care that they receive.

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