Warnford Close Care Home offers accommodation to those who have mental health conditions that require support in their day-to-day lives. Caroline Woods has managed Warnford Close since 2014, but her experience goes back to 2004 when she first started working for The YOU Trust. Also, in a mental health role. I sat with Caroline to chat about her work life and what she does to keep her mind healthy.
How did you join YOU?
I started as a support worker in Portsmouth for Mental Health Supported Living. I loved how rewarding and different it was every day and the conversations were different. Everyday challenges were there but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I still enjoy and love the job that I do and the people that we work with.
Who do you work with?
The individuals that we tend to work with are people that have been diagnosed with severe mental challenges such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorders. They could have schizoaffective disorder which generally comes along with anxiety, depression and some obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) traits. As well as just lots of anxiety about everyday life.
A lot of the people that are referred to us come from hospital. Usually because they might have been in hospital for a long period of time. So, it’s kind of like a step back into the community to help them build their skills.
At Warnford Close we’ve got 12 rooms and there is no maximum length of stay. We’ve got people that have been here 20 plus years. This is their home and we respect that. You do have to be 18, but there’s no real upper age limit.
Describe an average day at Warnford Close
The first thing I do is I check the online platform for care management. I will always check what happened yesterday and if everything has been done that should have been done. And if it hasn’t, I find out why and make sure it’s done today. I then check what appointments our clients may have.
Next, I go on to check in with the staff and make sure they’re okay; there’s seven of us in total. And then I always do a walk around the building, greet the clients, see how they are. So, if they’re coming in for medication, I’m here so I’ll administer it for them.
So, the day in the life of me is different day to day. Like last Monday and Tuesday, I was decorating a bathroom. That’s a very different day to what I might do on a Wednesday when I’m doing an all-day audit. This incldues file audits, service audits, making sure the cash is there and checking the stock to make sure you’ve got enough provisions for the service. Then there’s staff, supervisions and making sure everyone’s training’s in place. So yeah, so it’s very different but I like that!
How do you deal with anxiety? Work stress?
Usually, when I’m on my way home from work, I call my husband and have a conversation with him. So, it’s been dealt with before I get in the house. As soon as I go in the door, the work’s then gone. I will tell him if I’ve had a stressful day or if someone’s been really unwell and it’s been really hard. I live probably about half an hour away from work, so it’s quite a good decompression time and then by the time I get into the house, then I’m like, I’m separated like this.
How do you help clients with their mental health?
We recognize if someone’s irritating or someone’s losing tolerance towards somebody. So, we would just divert and we’d go, “Oh, let’s go out in the garden”. One of our guys in here is quite demanding of everyone’s time and can be very self-opinionated about everything. It can be quite hurtful towards some of the other residents. But they are so tolerant and understanding and they if they don’t like it, they’ll just go and walk off. Just roll their eyes like, let’s go and support them somewhere else.
We’ve got a lounge upstairs and downstairs and we’ve got two beautiful big gardens. The kitchen is like the hub of the house. Everyone tends to be in the kitchen at some point, but if we can see there’s a little bit of rub or a little bit of discontent, we will just distract.
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us Caroline.
Edited by Jessica Coleman