PCI care home managers recognised

23.9.2022 | Mission News, Social Witness, Church in Society, Mission

Two of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s care home managers, Mae Irvine of Corkey House in Belfast, and Anna McCaffery of Sunnyside House in Bangor, have been congratulated by Health Minister Robin Swann MLA for completing the leadership programme ‘My Home Life’.

One hundred and thirty two care home managers from across Northern Ireland completed the My Home Life (MHL) programme and where presented with their certificates by the Minister. At the time, Mr Swann said that the programme “…is helping to improve quality of life for residents, relatives, and staff by promoting voice, choice and control in their care homes.”

The Council for Social Witness, PCI’s social care arm, manages the denomination’s day-to-day provision of residential, nursing, supported housing, respite and day care, along with a number of community-based programmes. As a social care provider PCI looks after over 300-plus people, 35 of whom live in Corkey House with 45 folk calling Sunnyside House ‘home’. The work of the Council, on behalf of the General Assembly, is a simple demonstration of Jesus’ love for others, which is also a powerful social witness to the gospel.

Congratulating Mae and Anna on their achievement, Dermot Parsons, Director and Secretary to the Council for Social Witness said, “This international initiative aims to improve the quality of life for people living in care homes, while promoting positive changes in management approaches.

“While our homes have a strong non-denominational Christian ethos, our managers set the tone, so that it is important that they are empowered and supported in their work. At the same time, if families know that their loved ones are in a place that is well led and managed, that goes a long way in relieving some of the anxiety that they may have about the new journey their relation has embarked upon.”

Mr Parsons continued, “Our services aim to reflect our Mission Statement – People Matter to God – and the learning from this programme will certainly help Anna and Mae to continue to make this a reality in Sunnyside and Corkey House. I am delighted that they have successfully taken part in the My Home Life programme. Congratulations!”

Funded by the Department of Health, the 10-month programme is led by Ulster University in partnership with Age NI and the Independent Health Care Providers to support care home managers to implement globally recognised best practice principles in their care homes. Participants are supported with quality improvement initiatives that are aligned with the MHL principles, which have a direct impact on the quality of life for residents.

Introduced in Northern Ireland in 2014 MHL uses a combination of face-to face and online sessions. Each group consists of 20 care home managers who come together to enhance their leadership skills and share their experiences to improve the quality of life for residents, relatives, and staff. Each group met on a monthly basis.

Talking about the programme, Mae Irvine said, “I felt that for me, the programme was a great experience and made me think about how to get the best for the residents, staff, myself and Corkey as a community.

“The experience also made me rethink how I communicate and how what I say could be perceived by others, I also feel it has given me skills to be confident in difficult conversations and made me realise that I cannot fix ever problem, and that is OK. I really enjoyed the interaction in the groups, and felt that I’ve learnt so much from them, especially the experience and knowledge of others, which I feel has helped me to improve how I am as a manager. I would highly recommend this course to others,” she said.

Congratulating all 132 graduates of the programme, Robin Swann said “…The transformation of our health and social care services is essential if we are to provide a modern and fit for purpose model of delivering health and social care. The My Home Life programme is helping to improve quality of life for residents, relatives, and staff by promoting voice, choice and control in their care homes.

“It cannot be overstated that as we face an ageing population and rises in the incidence of chronic illnesses and dementia, it is essential that care home managers and staff have opportunities to reflect on and change their practice so that they can make care homes good places to live, end your life, visit and work.”

Photo: Health Minister Robin Swann MLA at the My Home Life certificate presentation with PCI care home manager Mae Irvine of Corkey House in Belfast (left) and her colleague Anna McCaffery, who manages Sunnyside House in Bangor.

You can find out more about the My Home Life programme in Northern Ireland here.

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