Social Care CLE Guide

Gail Howard

Registered Manager, Lakeside Care Home

Gail started her journey as an unpaid personal carer. She then went to study nursing and worked part time in a care home as a student as well as undertaking her various placements. After qualifying Gail worked in a variety of settings including palliative care, working with young adults with challenging behaviours and complex needs for example, drugs, alcohol, Huntington’s disease and learning disabilities before her current role in adult nursing care where she works with an individual with complex clinical care needs such as those with motor neuron disease, strokes, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and dementia

“The care home has welcomed a variety of learners from varying courses including paramedics, sports physios, nurses, speech and language and dietetics.  Many learners initially buy into the myths about social care, but it’s great to see the positive feedback from their reflective accounts as the placements progress.  In particular, from day one, we really focus on the importance of communication because if learners can’t communicate with people then they won’t get anywhere and this fundamental skill will assist them with whatever they go onto next.”

“I want learners to really get to know the residents so that when family, friends or others enquire about their well-being or progress in a particular area, they can have those meaningful conversations, a truly person-centred approach. I think this is possibly one of the greatest skills of all that learners can get from our environment.”

What are the benefits to the care home from working with students?

“In so much as we want to provide a valuable learning experience for the learners where they can meet all their competencies, we also want to learn from them.  They bring fresh eyes, new ideas and make us question the things we do and the ways in which we do things.  The learners are looked after and supported but this two-way process of sharing also helps us to develop as a care home and in turn this benefits our residents.  The residents enjoy being involved in supporting the learners and being asked for their thoughts and opinions.  New people, new personalities and precious 1:1 time that isn’t rushed contributes to our own learning and person-centred approach and so it’s a win:win every time”

Why is this Guide important?

This Guide is welcome as it will help break down barriers, dispel myths and ultimately go towards helping people to be looked after in their own homes (wherever that may be). People want to avoid going into hospital and prefer to stay “at home” and the more learners that can experience the care home as the preferred environment as residents HOME OF CHOICE HOME has to be a very positive thing”.