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A Day in the Life of a Care Home Facilitator

A Day in the Life of Lesley-Ann: Care Home Facilitator at NCH&C

Find out what it’s like to work in Specialist Palliative Care at NCH&C.

We spoke to our Care Home Facilitator, Lesley-Ann, for this Day in the Life article.

What team do you sit on, and what does this team do?

Specialist Palliative Care. I work at the Priscilla Bacon Centre with Specialist Palliative Care Nurses.

What is your job role?

I am the sole Care Home Facilitator on the team. I work with care homes to support them with end-of-life care, mainly through training.

I organise and deliver a national training programme called Six Steps End-of-Life Care for Care Homes, ensuring that it reflects local services.  The programme supports care homes as they put systems in place to enhance their end-of-life care delivery, ensuring the best possible end-of-life care for residents.

I also deliver ‘bite-size’ end-of-life care training sessions to care home staff. These include principles of palliative and end of life care, identifying those who may be at risk of dying in the next year, advance care planning, and care of the dying person.

Throughout my work, I keep in touch with as many care homes as possible to be a source of advice and to signpost to other services. I also work on the strategic development of end-of-life care, to ensure that we are always improving the way this care is delivered.

What sort of activities do you do day-to-day?

Since I deliver a lot of training, I spend a lot of my time preparing for this, and then delivering the training, either online or face-to-face.

I regularly contact care home managers or end-of life-care leads to reflect on their end-of-life care provision.  Sometimes these are introductory calls, sometimes speaking to manager I’ve known for a long time, and sometimes they are because of a referral from a GP, Community Nurse or CSPCN Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse. This helps to ensure that end-of-life care is delivered consistently across our local healthcare system.

To ensure that local care homes are following the Six Steps programme effectively, I evaluate portfolios of evidence submitted by care home managers.

I also attend relevant meetings such as:

  • Crossing Boundaries: a collaboration between our specialist palliative care and learning disability services.  The aim is to support both teams to provide excellent end of life care to people with a learning disability.  Currently, we are working on a resource pack.
  • Integrated Care System Palliative & End of Life Care Education Subgroup: to make sure care homes training needs are considered.

What are the highlights of your job?

Seeing the ‘penny drop’ when care home staff realise that palliative and end-of-life care is what they do day-in and day-out, and when they take a fresh look at what they do and work together as a whole team to put everything into place to support the end-of-life care of their residents. It is rewarding that my work not only benefits patients and residents but empowers staff and gives them greater job satisfaction through training.

How did you get into your role?

Before starting work as the Care Home Facilitator, I previously worked as a secretary, a Red Cross training instructor, care home nurse, and most recently, as a senior nurse at the Priscilla Bacon Lodge.

When I saw the Care Home Facilitator job advertised, I thought it had been written just for me!  All my previous experiences have been used to the full.  The role has changed over the years, although end of life training has always been at the core.

How has your role changed over the last two years due to the pandemic?

The pandemic has affected everyone working in the NHS, and my role is no different!

During the height of the pandemic, I supported the carers’ palliative care advice line – providing information and guidance to carers over the phone. I have also followed up patients who were fast-track discharged from hospital into a care home to offer support.

During the pandemic, care home staff have needed end-of life care training more than ever, but they had no time or energy for it.  I made many phone calls to managers and end-of-life care leads to see how they were doing, and they were grateful for an active listening ear and for advice received.

All the above were temporary changes.  A lasting change to my role is that a lot more work (meetings and delivering Six Steps programme) is now online.  This is helpful for time-management, and it reduces cost of travel.

Anything else you’d like to add or talk about?

Care home staff work hard, have high expectations placed upon them, are knowledgeable about their service users, and most deliver care with great compassion.  It is a pleasure to work with them and build up strong relationships, which in turn benefits their residents and local communities.