Sharon Howe shares how she took Quantum Care’s Belmont View from Requires Improvement to Outstanding in less than two years.
How did you join Quantum Care?
My Quantum Care journey spans nearly two decades, beginning in 1992 when I started as a care worker at Quantum’s Belmont View Day Care Centre. Since then, I have worn several different hats – from leading the care team to being deputy home manager – at several Quantum Care homes. Following stints at Fourfields and Elmhurst care homes, I returned to where it all started, Belmont View, taking up the home manager role in 2013.
What is special about Quantum Care?
At the heart of the organisation are the people. I’m sure many providers would claim the same, but I cannot stress enough how the enthusiasm of the frontline teams is what truly makes Quantum Care special to me and my colleagues. Our head office never shy away from showing their appreciation, and you genuinely feel part of something bigger than just one home – it’s more of a ‘movement’ that wants to improve the lives of all older people in Hertfordshire.
Staff across all homes are supported and pushed to excel in whatever role they are in. Quantum Care encourages personal and professional growth through training, and there are plenty of opportunities to develop within the organisation. Most of my fellow home managers within the organisation started their careers with Quantum, which is very unusual in the sector.
What is particularly special to me is the emphasis on family values and developing that strong culture across the whole organisation. Whether it’s coming up with innovative programmes, such as the Rhythm of Life person centred care framework, or equipping staff with the appropriate tools and knowledge to provide excellent care to our residents, Quantum Care leads by example in the sector. I think it helps that we are not-for-profit too; it means that we can reinvest in residents and everyone from the senior team to the local carer is in the job for the right reasons.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Knowing that you are making a difference to people’s lives is the most rewarding – making people feel valued and happy is the best feeling. I feel particularly privileged to be caring for a generation that gave up so much for our country – I don’t think we will see another generation like them for a very long time. It’s an honour to be able to give back to them in my role.
What has been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was leading the Belmont View team to achieving an Outstanding CQC rating. It was incredibly hard work, but everyone knew their role in working towards achieving this goal and I am so proud of the hours and effort they put in, day in, day out.
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Prior to our Outstanding rating, we were rated Requires Improvement but my team and I were determined to turn things around and show the potential of what we knew Belmont View could be. It was less two years between the inspections, which really underlines how much we achieved in such a relatively short space of time.
It took long hours, especially implementing and embedding several plans and systems at once. We also developed a more vocal presence in the local community by building stronger relationships with local schools and businesses – and it paid off. Seeing the Outstanding rating plastered across the home has been worth it.
Tell us three things you need to provide great care?
Well trained staff; a dedicated, compassionate team; and in-depth knowledge of resident’s history and current needs. This ensures a bespoke and personal experience can be delivered to each resident to the highest possible standard. These are easy to write down, but far harder to foster in a home environment. Quantum’s strong ethos and culture has helped me develop a team that truly cares and lives these values.
How do you relax?
I love spending time with my daughter, who is my world. On my days off you’re likely to find me gardening, walking our dogs and enjoying a relaxing holiday.
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