Lin Barnes: Why Live-in Care matters more than ever

Lin Barnes: Why Live-in Care matters more than ever

Lin Barnes, Director of Christies Care, explains why she’s dedicated so much of her career to championing top quality live-in home care, and providing a positive alternative to care homes across the UK….

I started at Christies Care nearly twenty years ago. Believe it or not, I began part-time, setting up payroll. It was just up the road, and at the time a small company that provided a flexible job which fitted around my young family. Back then most of our live-in-home clients were in East Anglia and London, whereas now they’re all over the UK.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the level of care we provide, not only for clients, but staff too. It’s a great place to work, and very fulfilling. That’s why we have so many team members who’ve been with us for ten, twenty years. This makes for a tight, well trained team. It gives our clients real continuity, as they get to know and trust their live-in carers, and their booking team.

Our clients typically have two or three carers, who alternate the care provision fortnightly, living 24/7 in their own homes. As you can imagine, they form a strong bond that deepens over the years.

By opting for live-in home care, our clients can stay near their friends, continue with their hobbies and even keep their pets! The carers support them in the life they know and love – as much as possible.

Christies Care’s award-winning training

Things were different when I started, with far fewer regulations. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) didn’t exist, and a lot of Care companies outsourced their training through local hospitals and training providers. We were one of the first to bring training in-house, and introduce an induction course. Training really is the core of our business model.

Because Christies Care offers live in care, with one on one, 24/7 care provided by a dedicated carer, staff need to be ready for anything. Ensuring a client’s house is clean, helping them get dressed, and preparing food. Even looking after pets. Our carers ensure clients are taken to appointments, social events, and shopping, as well as helping with medication and mobility.  Whatever they need, really, to be able to live as independently as possible, and remain in the house they know, love, and feel familiar with.

So, as you can imagine, we focus on training our team fully, first with our induction course, and continually throughout their career with us. All our office staff attend the carer’s induction training, so they know exactly what a demanding job it can be and can empathise with both clients and carers. This is especially necessary where staff have come from a commercial background as opposed to one in care.  It’s something I’m so passionate about. The highlight of my career so far was when Christies Care received the Princess Royal Training Award, from Princess Anne, at the end of 2017. We competed with businesses of all sizes throughout the UK, with rigorous examinations, and it was wonderful to be recognised for our training excellence.

We were also rated outstanding in 2017 by the CQC, and that makes me very proud of my team.

Care is a fulfilling career

I find this job extremely fulfilling. No two days are the same, and the business is growing. But the population of this country is aging, which puts greater demands on the care industry. The reality is that the number of people who need care outweighs the number of carers available. Which is why Christies Care focuses so much on providing a positive working environment. We want to show people the many benefits of a career in care, especially in Christies Care, where we train, support, and care for our staff and help them develop their skills in a positive, rewarding environment. For example, we are currently in the process of signing up to becoming an accredited Living Wage employer, to endorse of ethos of paying more than the minimum wage to our carers.

When we moved into providing end of life care, we were concerned that carers may find this a difficult area to work in and may burn out.  However, this is quite the opposite, the majority of carers who provide end of life care and support find this the most rewarding aspect of their job, feeling that they have really made a difference in helping people remain in or return to their home for the last few weeks of their life.

Expanding the borders of live-in home care

We expanded our live-in care service to the Channel Islands in 2016, and we’ve just registered with the Scottish Inspectorate, as we plan to expand into Scotland next. It’s so important that we give people an alternative to care homes, and provide a chance for people to enjoy the dignity, self-esteem and general wellbeing that remaining independent, in their own home, brings.

Christies Care is one of the largest providers of 24/7 live in home care throughout the UK. Find out more here.

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