Team member talking on the phone

A Conversation with Joanna Back, Deputy Manager, Lady Elizabeth House

Joanna tells us what it’s like to work at Lady Elizabeth House and shares her journey of professional growth. Joanna, Deputy Manager at Lady Elizabeth House, sheds light on the supportive environment she has found at Optalis and the positive changes her team have made.

Starting Out

Joanna's career in care started in 2008, a decision influenced by her experience of raising a family. When her children were older, she started work and began to develop her knowledge and skills in social care.

Before Optalis, Joanna was working in a nursing home, which did not feel like a good fit for her. However, circumstances led her to a dementia care home, and a service she felt more connected to and competent in.

Joanna’s decision to move to Optalis was influenced by a lack of stability and support in her previous role: 

“It was a case of just going in to do my job, making sure everybody was safe and happy. Going home and then worrying about the next day when I got up in the morning.”
“Elaine Holloway (Registered Manager) interviewed me for role of Deputy Manager here at Lady Elizabeth House... She'd only been here six months, so we were a brand-new management team. It felt like a clean slate. We knew that for any future CQC inspections, any achievements that were made, were from us as a team. That was a definite positive.”

Embracing Change

“For us, it was a case of moving forward and getting things right for the people that live here.”

Joanna and Elaine were determined to make enhancements for the residents. Their approach focused on improving the residents' experiences during reviews, ensuring a comfortable living environment, and improving communication with residents and the services they work with.

Joanna emphasised the positive shift in the relationship with the housing provider. They have worked with the housing provider to introduce regular resident meetings, a digital information board and an enhanced sense of community.

“The housing manager that we have now, is amazing. People are much clearer about who they approach for certain issues that they might be experiencing. We're trying to make more use of our communal space that we've got. We have activities running, and some of the residents have organised a regular karaoke night in the lounge.”

Professional Growth

After joining Optalis, Joanna was keen to complete her Level 3 in Care: “The first thing I did when I joined Optalis was sign up to the training. I managed to complete it within seven months. I really pushed myself to get it done, because it's something I've wanted to do for so long. And I knew I could achieve it. It was good to use the time to sit and reflect on my past experiences and what I have learnt from them.”

Joanna plans to undertake the Level 5 qualification next, highlighting her dedication to personal development.

Supportive Work Environment

Joanna attributes much of her success to the culture at Optalis. The company's commitment to staff development and the support among colleagues has been key.

“Working for Optalis, I have to say has been the best step for my work career. My manager is always so supportive and if she's not around, I know I can ask the Head of Service for advice.”

Despite moving to an office-based role, Joanna remains deeply passionate about providing exceptional care. This commitment extends to her involvement in care shifts, where she willingly steps in when needed, ensuring that people we support receive the attention and care they deserve.

“One thing I miss is that I spend a bit less time with people. I still get time to talk with them and help them out, when I do spot checks and building walk arounds. I have been able to make things better in other ways also. For example, I have spent a lot of time updating people’s support plans to reflect their needs and wishes.
I think, if this was my mum or my dad how would I want them to be treated. It's a case of respect for the person, our team and our company. Because if I'm failing, Optalis is failing and that's not what we're about. It's about achieving and making things good.”

If you would like to join our supportive teams explore our open roles today

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