Two specialist dementia nursing homes have appointed their first family liaison officer, as a dedicated link person between residents and their families.
Laura Haynes says that she will work especially closely with families when their loved one first arrives at a Meddyg Care Group home in Porthmadog or Criccieth.
Laura, 32, came into the care sector accidentally, when seeking work after leaving university, before discovering it was her vocation. She worked her way up from home carer to office manager within the private domiciliary care sector, and said:
“I was very close to my late grandfather and used to sit and talk to him for hours about his life and experiences. I love old people. They so often get ignored. I’m passionate about making sure they are engaged with and have an enjoyable time.
“Moving into nursing care is an anxious time for the individual, but also their family. I’m here to help fill in any gaps as the families learn about, for example, how council funding works.
“Making the move into residential or nursing care is difficult to come to terms with at the best of times, and never more so than now.
“The lockdown has given ordinary people a bit of insight into what elderly people go through day by day. They can’t go out and families can’t come in and see their loved ones.”
As well as introducing herself to residents and getting to know them, a key part of Laura’s role is to support families.
She added: “I’m enjoying introducing myself and making friends over a cup of tea. I also help families, as it’s usually the first time they’ve gone through the process of arranging residential care and they don’t know the processes and don’t have anyone to talk to about their concerns.
“I am here as their single point of contact.”
Laura’s role also involves keeping in touch with families, updating them on any changes at the home, explaining consent procedures and getting permissions such as for flu inoculations, which need obtaining annually, and helping co-ordinate video calls to substitute for visits.
Originally from Holyhead, Laura now lives in Porthmadog with her partner, David, her children, Taylor, 14, and Carter, six, as well as his son, Thomas, also six.
Her arrival marks the latest in a series of developments at Meddyg Care Group.
Managing director Kevin Edwards took over the running of the Porthmadog site in October 2017, before bringing The Pines nursing home in Criccieth into the group in April 2018.
He said: “Laura really stood out among the candidates. She has lots of experience as a carer and manager, and spoke of her vocation with great warmth, which really resonated with me. She’s perfect for this important liaison role, and is fitting in really well already.”
Meddyg Care Group, which is currently rolling out a new career structure with the aim of becoming a Living Wage employer, has a waiting list at both homes.