MANAGER OF THE MONTH: Liz Hewitt, AbleCare Homes

Liz Hewitt

Liz Hewitt, registered manager of AbleCare Homes’ ‘Good’ rated Hengrove Lodge, shares her proudest moment.

How did you join AbleCare Homes?

After working in care management for many years, I had been providing palliative care for my father-in-law.  At the time he sadly passed away, I was contacted by an agency who were working with AbleCare Homes to recruit a registered manager.  I was interested in the role, went along to find out more and was quickly offered the job.

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What is special about Hengrove Lodge?

It is a small, family run, really homely home.  As registered manager I have been able to put my own stamp on it.  People within the organisation are there to support you so much, but if you are managing well and meeting standards you can get on with things. The company offers the freedom to do what you would like to do without someone breathing down your neck. Suggestions and ideas are always considered.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I feel really pleased and happy that our staff group are so supportive. That’s why we don’t use agency. They always help out if they can. The team feel it is important to have continuity for the residents. That makes me feel happy. They want the best for our residents and for them to be cared for really well.  They get to know all the likes and interests of the person to make sure the care is how they like it.

What has been your proudest moment?

We had a resident who developed a serious condition that progressed from a minor condition really quickly and unexpectedly. With the help of other professionals, the team cared for her in bed for eight months or so.  Recently, with approval of the healthcare team, she sat her in wheelchair and we took her to get her hair done. Seeing that was so lovely. That’s what good care is all about; people don’t just deteriorate, they can get back to how they were and enjoy life.  Being cared for in bed had done nothing for this lady’s hair style!  It was so rewarding just seeing her again enjoying an activity she had always loved in
the past.

What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

It has got to be coping with COVID-19 and putting a brave face on when you would just like to dodge the situation. In the early days of the pandemic, before we had full PPE and knew what we were dealing with, it felt really scary. Living on my own I had to be extra strong and do what I thought was right. I managed to relax all the staff and help the whole team through that time. Once things were clearer, it got to the stage that Hengrove Lodge was the only place you felt safe as there were so many infection control precautions in place.  Everyone has just been happy to implement these even though they may seem strict.

Tell us some of the key things you need to provide great care?

You need to definitely think outside the box. You need to be patient, calm, a good listener- sometimes you need to learn to move quickly through just listening to what that person wants and understanding, rather than doing what you think is best, is key. Sometimes that can be very hard to do in practice.

How do you relax?

When I had my week off I cut down a 40 foot fir tree with my friend! I have a lot of animals – including two huskies and two rabbits – and I love to sit and watch them run around the garden – except when they eat my plants! Watching the fish swim around my big pond is relaxing.  I have recently been remodelling my garden; I have just bought a big air filter system for the pond, so the water should be crystal clear.  I am not going on holiday this year and this is something I’ll enjoy.

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The author Lee Peart

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