Living, loving, laughing, learning
“Entering the home on the first day after the event was like walking into a different home, people were smiling and laughing, being nice to each other and helping each other out.”
I had just taken over as manager at a residential care home for older people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I had been recruited because the home was in crisis. It had been without a full time manager for eighteen months and there had been a series of interim managers who had come in and made changes in line with their personal philosophy rather than organisational policies.
The result was a very fractured and demoralised staff team who were delivering a poor quality of care to the residents of the home; the focus had shifted away from the residents and onto the staff. There were several long term outstanding grievances that had not been dealt with and there seemed that a day did not go by without some new staff issue that needed to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. As a manager I was unable to effectively make any changes to the quality of the service, as my time was spent dealing with staffing issues. When I did attempt to make changes, the staff were sceptical and hostile, their response was “this has been done before”, “You will be gone in a few months and someone else will come and change it again”, “Why should we bother?”
In April of 2005 I was selected by my organisation to take part in a new idea. This was the transformational workshop offered by Georgeanne Lamont. I have to admit that at first I was sceptical but on the other hand I was desperate for something to help me break the deadlock I felt the home was in.
Georgeanne and her team met with me and explained what the workshop would entail, they also spent a great deal of time before the workshop speaking with the staff team and getting them to express their frustrations and anxieties about what was wrong with the home and how they felt things could move forward.
Because of the existing problems, we decided to use the “two day event” as it became known to us, as a way to treat the staff team and say “thank you, we know the past few months have been difficult but it is now time to change”. We booked a nice hotel in the centre of London and laid on lunches and a staff dinner at the end of the first day.
From the very beginning, when Georgeanne and her team came in to explain the process and started to speak to the staff, they created a sense of excitement, a can do attitude began to appear in the team. Something was happening but we did not know what.
The two day transformational workshop was just fantastic, the whole team turned up for the first day with so much energy and excitement. The event helped us identify what we all wanted for the home. Funnily enough we all wanted the same thing, we all wanted a great place to work where the residents of the home had the best levels of service we could give them, we wanted the best home.
If you’d have asked me what the staff wanted at the beginning of the day, I never in a million years would have said that. Georgeanne helped us see that we all wanted the same thing, we were just all going about getting it in different ways and the result was conflict and distress.
Over the two days Georgeanne and her team helped us heal the team so that we could then move forward to making the home a great place to live. We worked together to identify what the problems were and what we could all do to move beyond them and move forward. They gave us the tools to apply when we returned to the home that would help us to continue to move forward.
What was the result? We had spent a lot of money on this?
Entering the home on the first day after the event was like walking into a different home, people were smiling and laughing, being nice to each other and helping each other out. This translated directly onto the service the residents of the home received. Several residents asked if we had secretly replaced the staff with look-alikes. There was a new energy in the home, one of excitement and optimism. We were on top of the world and we could change the home and make it a great place to live and work.
With our further involvement with the transformational process we were introduced to other people who also wanted to make a difference and changes were made at the home that never would have happened if not for Georgeanne’s intervention. It truly was a transformation. I am so proud of what we have achieved since our time with Lamont, we use the tools for change regularly and these have helped us move through the inevitable difficulties that arise when you are running a home.
If it had not been for our connection with Georgeanne Lamont I feel it would have taken us a considerable length of time for us to get where we are today. In fact I do not think we would be where we are today if it had not been for the transformational process. As a manager I gained new insight into my team, I was given skills and tools for helping me move through road blocks. My team and the home shifted to a place I was proud to be in. We were a transformed team and as a result the residents now live in a great home with people who really care about the service they receive.
Andrew G Mattocks-Lewis
Together creating truly great care for older people