Katie Lee has been Deputy Manager at St Augustine’s Home since last September. She has reached NVQ Level 5, starting in the care sector as a part-time domiciliary care assistant because she was looking for a rewarding job. She loves to be with her family in her spare time.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I was born in West Sussex and moved to Devon when I was 11, I met my husband when I was eighteen and we relocated to Hampshire. I have two children – Samuel who is 20 and at university in London, and Isabelle who is 17 and studying for A-Levels. I love spending time with my family and caring for our ever-growing pet collection!
St Augustine’s isn’t like joining a workplace, you really are joining a family.
How long have you been working for the Sisters Hospitallers?
I have been with Sisters Hospitallers since the beginning of September this year, I did not have any knowledge of the institution before.
How has your experience been so far?
Hugely positive – it does not feel like coming to work, it’s more like coming to my second family.
Why did you choose St Augustine’s?
I loved St Augustine’s from the minute I first walked through the door! Its warmth and kindness struck me as soon as I arrived. The dedication Aurea (Manager), Sister Isabel and Katalin (Head Of Care) showed towards the residents and staff truly inspired me to want to become a part of the team.
Could you tell us about your experience before joining Sisters Hospitallers?
I started work as a domiciliary care assistant many years ago when my children were small. I wanted a part-time job that not only fitted around my family commitments but was also rewarding. I worked my way up through the company, before leaving them after 10 years of service. I then joined another small domiciliary care company which had just registered, I stayed with them for over three years and helped them expand and grow their business. Immediately before joining St Augustine’s I managed a supported living service for adults with autism and challenging behaviours.
You have worked in various roles. Which one have you enjoyed the most and which was the most challenging?
The time I enjoyed most was building my career within my first job role, I was a care worker, a senior carer, co-ordinator and also held management roles. To remain in one place of work for so long gave me a real opportunity to develop and build lasting relationships with my colleagues and the people we supported. Like many people who work in care, I’m sure the biggest challenge has been managing service through Covid-19. The huge impact it has had on the industry and in particular, the people we support has been immense.
I started work as a domiciliary care assistant many years ago when my children were small. I wanted a part-time job that not only fitted around my family commitments but was also rewarding.
Based on your experience, how do you think you can contribute to your current workplace?
I hope I bring my optimism, enthusiasm and experience. I am passionate about person-centred care and delivering the highest quality care to our residents.
As Deputy Manager, can you tell us about your daily activities?
No two days are the same! My day can change minute by minute. Tasks can range from interviewing potential new staff to liaising with families and professionals, carrying out Covid-19 tests and course the best part of my day is spending time with the residents.
What do you like most about your job? Would you change anything?
I am lucky enough to say that just being here is the best part of my day! The only thing I would change is to transport St Augustine’s a little nearer to home!
How has your life and work changed since the restrictions of COVID-19 were put in place? Are there any challenges?
Personally, the hardest thing has been to live with the fear of a Covid-19 outbreak. I am lucky that in my previous role and in my role here I have not had first-hand experience of an outbreak but I am only too aware of the devastation this could cause. I miss the input of families and outside activities and the joy these bring to the residents.
The greatest challenge is of course for us to adapt to the situation we now find ourselves in. We can’t change what is happening, but we can change and adapt what we do to make a life for our residents and staff as normal as possible.
This year is challenging so what measures are you taking to protect residents and carers from COVID-19?
We test our staff weekly and our residents every 28 days and we follow all current guidelines. Staff have access to full PPE and mask-wearing is second nature! We are lucky that we have a very large garden and training room so that socially distanced visits from families can take place. Any residents moving to us are Covid-19 tested prior to arrival and again when they arrive. New residents must also remain in isolation for 14days.
If the policy changes and visits stop I don’t think I could under-estimate the effects this would have on the residents and of course their families, in particular our residents living with dementia. It’s of course not only relatives that would stop coming but also our entertainers who at present sing in the garden, (in all weathers!) There would be a huge void if the joy it brings had to stop again.
How are you preparing in case a second wave affects us?
We of course closely monitor the situation and adhere to any changes in the Covid-19 policy. We ensure we have a good supply of PPE and Covid-19 test kits here at the home. Aurea communicates any changes we need to make to the residents and their families.
The Sisters bring wisdom, compassion, and dedication. They inspire us to live the Sisters Hospitaller values.
Have you been through any difficult times working there?
No, Aurea is so supportive I know I can share any difficulties I may face.
Can you recall a truly special moment?
The second day I was working here a resident said ‘good morning Katie’ as I passed by this may seem such a small thing but it made me feel so welcome. I wish they could have seen the smile under my mask!
What do you think makes St Augustine’s special?
St Augustine’s isn’t like joining a workplace, you really are joining a family. Everyone at St Augustine’s strives to deliver the highest standards of care. They all do so with kindness and compassion, they really work with the Sisters Hospitallers values at the heart of everything they do. It is quite simply unique!
What do you think is the influence of the Sisters within the care home?
The Sisters bring wisdom, compassion, and dedication. They inspire us to live the Sisters Hospitaller values. They are quite simply an inspiration!
What would you say to someone who is thinking about working at St Augustine’s?
If you have a passion to care and a desire to make a difference, join us! A career in care is so rewarding, you won’t regret it!
Would you like to add anything?
Just thank you to Aurea, the sisters, the residents and staff for making me feel so welcome.