Sarah’s Story

“I knew care should be better than this”

Sarah’s Carers was formed out of a desire to prove that care at home could be provided in a way that provides the care team with a great work environment and the clients with the care that makes a positive difference to them. Here is Sarah’s story in her own words:

Sarah’s Carers began in April 2013

This had been a few weeks after my husband, Robert, had been diagnosed with a ‘life limiting condition’. Not an easy time to start a company by any means, especially as, back then, the media was full of stories of bad care and poor management of care services.

When my husband became so ill he needed the help of carers, I had the opportunity to experience life ‘on the other side’, as it were. Because of where we lived and circumstances beyond my control I needed to source care from another provider.

I could tell you about the poor service we received, the delayed visits, the lack of respect, craziness which almost generated more stress than it solved.

But if you’ve experienced home care, you probably know what I mean anyway. If you have experienced care at home and you are reading this you are probably looking to solve the problem the same way I did, find a care company that really cared.

The point is that I knew care could be better. Let me explain…

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Rewind to 1979

When I trained as a nurse in 1979 things were different, there was more structure and what Matron said was law. We would be in deep trouble if we spent too much time at the nursing station and the only quiet time for us was cleaning something in the sluice! We were responsible for cleaning beds and patient areas, and making sure everyone ate. We knew all of the patients on our wards and their needs.

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The Sister was very much held to account for the state of her ward and the wellbeing of her patients. As nurses we felt that the basics of care and attention to detail were key parts of our role.

“Life has changed in the 30 years since I trained. Modern medicine has advanced making hospitals more complex, but basic human needs are still the same. And so is my ethos. I still stick to those nursing values I learnt at the very start of my career; that attention to detail, really looking at the whole person, being considerate of their needs and treating them with respect. To my mind, that all comes under the definition of care.”

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A proud qualified carer

After I qualified, I spent the next decade working for agencies in nursing homes, residential homes and the homes of individuals. I can still remember some of the challenges I had working with people in their own homes, but it was a great way to learn about people and what I felt was good or bad about the care sector.

I moved on to working for the British Red Cross in a whole range of functions from Nursing Officer to Training Manager.

Sarah's Carers Oxford

For me the continual gaining of knowledge and skill development is an important part of a job role as it gives  a better understanding of how to help others and the increased job satisfaction that comes from that understanding.

Since 2001 I have trained carers and worked with a number of organisations who provide care as well as working with care managers.

“I have met hundreds of care givers who believe in the quality of care but who are stuck in the system and whose role is often devalued by the people they work for alongside the bad press gained by the industry. I want to change that. I want carers to believe in the value of the work they do and to see it as a career. I believe that the carer plays a critical role in the well-being and health of the individual.”

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Sarah’s Carers today

Fast forward to 2013, when we launched Sarah’s Carers at a difficult time. The personal challenges and general poor perception of the care industry made me even more determined to offer a service that had a real impact on people’s health and, very importantly, their wellbeing.

It somehow seemed exactly the right time go to ahead – putting 1979 nursing values together with all the advantages of a modern health service.

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We are a nurse led service upholding my professional code of conduct, reacting to changing health needs and supporting clients as much or as little as they want. Identifying our values and staying true to them has become really important. We work in deliberately small teams, putting a lot of effort into our care team and working with clients and their families.

“I’m proud to say that we’ve helped hundreds of people ensuring that, no matter what, they are well-cared for in their own homes for as long as possible. And I know that as a team we’ve contributed to making a real difference in those people’s lives and those around them at a time when help is needed most.”

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Helping us live up to our values are a brilliant team of carers  without whom this would not be possible. I am even more proud of what they all achieve, under often challenging circumstances on a daily basis.

For that I sincerely thank them and thank you for reading.

Take care,

Sarah.