Domiciliary care leaders: The lessons learned from 2019

Home care chiefs

The most senior directors of four of the leading home care providers in the country have shared the biggest lessons they have learned from 2019.

Speaking to Home Care Insight, Dominique Kent, managing director of the Good Care Group; Ken Deary, CEO of Right at Home UK; Martin Jones, CEO of Home Instead UK; and Yvonne Hignell, managing director of Bluebird Care, reflect on what the last 12 months have taught them about running a domiciliary care business, and discuss the work that still needs to be done to build a sustainable future.

Scroll down to read their comments.

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Dominique Kent, managing director, Good Care Group

“One of the lessons we have learned is that the sector is tough. This is not a new lesson, but valuing the contribution of and looking after your team is essential in ensuring we maintain a competitive edge.

“We also learned that our investment in technology really paid off and played a key part alongside a very dedicated team at all levels in achieving our 5 star CQC ‘Outstanding’ rating.

“Finally, we’ve learned to always have an eye on the emerging ideas and entrants into our space, make friends, and work together to drive change in our sector. It’s the sum of the total that will have a voice and be heard. We have to work together to ensure this sector gets the recognition it deserves and the funding it needs to affect the change we must make happen.”

Ken Deary, CEO, Right at Home UK

“I learn lessons every day and therefore the lessons of 2019 haven’t been built up over just one year – they have been built over a lifetime, but cemented in 2019.

“The first one is to always follow your gut feeling. After careful evaluation you tend to have a gut instinct, especially when hiring people, and inevitably when I have gone against my gut instinct this has led to some of my least successful decisions. 

“Secondly, as we continue to grow, we have learned just how important giving value for money is to our clients. For us, this means pricing appropriately so that we can provide a premium, value-for-money service by going the extra mile. 

“2019 has also reinforced the importance of our key core values. As a national office we must continue to lead by listening to our stakeholders, keeping ourselves very grounded and keeping close to our community of franchise owners. In turn, our franchise owners must keep close to the local community they serve, essentially cascading our important values, culture of trust and ardent commitment to quality.  

“Thirdly, we have learned to never get complacent. My job to ensure that we pay attention to detail, remain humble and have a passion and intensity that allows us to compete with the very best in our sector.

“Finally, we’ve learned to be resilient. This business will inevitably throw up unexpected challenges and it is those who tackle the challenges and look at them as opportunities to learn and improve who will be the real winners.”

Click here to read HCI’s interview with Ken Deary.

Martin Jones, CEO, Home Instead Senior Care UK

“The main lesson is that there is still a long way to go in educating the general public as well as health care professionals about home care as an option. The population at large simply doesn’t know about the full range of options open to them and this needs to change.

Our mission is to educate people so that they know that quality home care is available. Clearly residential care homes have their place and are the right choice for some, but, for many, in-home care is more suitable and a favoured option.

“People need to realise that they will be living for much longer after retirement but haven’t planned for their needs into their ageing journey. We want to change this and make longer term retirement planning and the role of care in support of that, a reality.”

Click here to read HCI’s interview with Martin Jones

Yvonne Hignell, managing director, Bluebird Care

Referring to the work undertaken by Bluebird Care to restructure its Franchise Support Centre and realign its strategy to become the local employer of choice, Hignell said: “We’ve learned that organisational change takes time – something we knew but perhaps the added complexities of franchising have thrown this into sharper focus. 

“Effective transformation requires clear vision, a willingness to work with others, determination, resilience, effort and commitment – it also takes a readiness to acknowledge when things aren’t working and enough humility to change tact. 

“Bluebird Care is in a really strong position, we have turned a corner in terms of the relationship with owners and I believe both the network and franchisor are committed to working together, egos aside, in the best interests of the brand, team, members and of course our customers. Last year was a busy year for many reasons. Focus was required both strategically and tactically, but the organisation has emerged stronger and much more focused.”

Click here to read HCI’s interview with Yvonne Hignell

Tags : Bluebird CareHome Instead Senior CareLessons LearnedRight at HomeThe Good Care Group
Sarah Clarke

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