Katherine Matthews of Care UK’s ‘outstanding’ rated Perry Manor shares her recipe for success
How did you join Care UK?
I first joined Care UK as the clinical lead at a specialist hospital, supporting young people with severe and enduring eating disorders. I then left to become deputy hospital director at the Priory Hospital in Bristol. I saw an advert for the manager post at Perry Manor and I could see how my previous experiences and skills could be transferred to support residents in this older people’s home.
What is special about Care UK?
Care UK feels like a family. Senior managers respect home managers, supporting them to create excellent services and real homes for residents. Our ethos is that we work in our residents’ home, everything we do is based on their needs, wishes and desires – Care UK supports us to deliver that.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
It gives me the ability to use all my skills while learning new ones: I am a nurse, home manager and business manager. I am at the centre of a living, breathing home, where every action we take can enhance the health, wellbeing and happiness of our 82 residents. It is rewarding to know my mental health skills have supported residents with dementia. We hardly use anti-psychotic medication, as we look at the unmet needs that cause behaviours that can be challenging. By addressing those needs, we ensure the person is fully supported and content. Those skills have also helped me to support relatives, especially when people first come to us at a time of crisis. I also find it rewarding that my experience with eating disorders has enabled me to put nutrition front-and-centre for those at risk of losing weight and I’m delighted that we have seen an increase in appetite, weight and wellbeing as a result.
What has been your proudest moment?
Gaining our ‘outstanding’ CQC grade. We gained it when the home had only been open 18 months and it is my first home. The result came late on a Friday and I scared the team by going very quiet before cheering. The team received vouchers and “I am Outstanding” badges, as did the resident members of the management team. We wanted to celebrate with our local community too, as we have worked hard to become a part of the area, so we had a fireworks party for everyone.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Not being a general nurse – I have nurses who are far more experienced in managing physical health challenges. The trick is to be honest about what you don’t know and to have the confidence to learn from those who do. It is a two-way street: our nurses have learnt from me as I have from them. Sharing our experience and knowledge to get the best outcome for our residents is what we do best.
Tell us three things you need to provide great care?
A committed, loyal team. Transparency and the ability to admit when things aren’t going to plan. A drive to make things better.
How do you relax?
I have two wonderful young children and a mad boxer dog called Molly – playing with them is a joy.
If you have an outstanding home manager you would like to see featured in CHP, please contact Lee Peart at firstname.lastname@example.org