In your care home search journey, you’ll be communicating with a number of different people, including care home staff. The most important person you’ll talk to is the care home manager, who will be helping you make your decision and answering any questions you might have about the home and how it’s run.
A care home manager is the person responsible for running the care home in accordance with laws and regulations, including the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Depending on the size of the care home, care home managers may receive support from a deputy manager, or there may in some cases be more than one head manager.
There are lots of different aspects to a care home manager’s role, but the main responsibilities are:
A care home manager must effectively manage the care home’s income and expenditure, including looking at how many beds in the home are occupied, how many hours staff are working and the split between residents that are private paying and publicly funded.
Care home managers must organise the staff rotas and sort out holiday or sickness cover when needed, to make sure there are qualified members of staff on shift at all times to provide care and support to residents.
Managers are also responsible for arranging training to ensure all team members are properly trained and qualified.
Another top priority for a care home manager is the health and safety of the home’s residents. Managers must ensure all residents are well-cared for and happy and deal with any complaints or issues on a day-to-day basis.
Care managers are also responsible for following the time-sensitive protocols in place regarding residents who are nearing the end of their lives, including communications with the doctor, nursing team and resident’s family.
To keep the care home running at the most efficient level possible, care home managers must regularly audit the home and its services in accordance with CQC guidelines. They will make sure that quality standards are met. This could involve checking facilities are operating properly, monitoring staff meetings and testing the quality of the food being served.
The CQC uses a regulation framework to measure a care home’s quality of care and support. The framework uses questions called key lines of enquiry, or KLOEs, to ensure that the care home is safe and well managed.
Care home managers are legally required to send through notifications to the CQC, including reports of complaints about the home, or deaths in the home.
To be a registered care home manager, you can do a university course or an apprenticeship.
There are lots of foundation degrees, higher apprenticeships and higher national diplomas that offer courses in health and social care management – the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services is particularly recommended.
You can also apply for a place on a graduate trainee scheme or apply for further training if you already work in a more junior position in social care.
In addition to this, useful skills include management skills, leadership skills, knowledge of counselling or psychology, good people skills, customer service skills, problem-solving skills, organisational skills teamwork, patience and IT proficiency.
Care home managers spend a lot of time talking to customers and staff and need to be good at problem solving and staying calm in stressful situations.
Care home managers are there to help you with every step of your care home journey. This could include answering any initial questions about the home and its facilities, queries about fees, costs and budgeting and even giving you helpful information about what else is in the area that could be of interest, such as nearby shops, amenities and eateries.
Care home managers should encourage you to take part in group activities, keep up with hobbies and interests, or build bonds with the local community.
So there we have it – care home managers are essentially the life’s blood of the care home, making sure the home is running smoothly on a day-to-day basis, answering questions and queries from customers and their families and dealing with any issues that might crop up.
It’s a full-on job for sure, but when you see the difference you’re making to people’s lives, it’s also a rewarding one.