30 November 2021

Commissioning A Care Home: Building A Staff Team From Zero To Opening Day

Albert Goodman


Albert Goodman
With the shortage of nursing and care staff in the UK quoted frequently in the media, many care providers are experiencing difficulties recruiting for vacant positions.
UK Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences
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With the shortage of nursing and care staff in the UK quoted frequently in the media, many care providers are experiencing difficulties recruiting for vacant positions. But what if you had to build a whole new team at one go? That was the challenge facing Carla Bowman, the Manager of Elliscombe House, earlier this year. Here, she tells us how she successfully recruited a multi-disciplinary team that were ready to welcome residents on the opening day of the home.

How many staff do you have at Elliscombe House?

Currently, we have successfully recruited our immediate team to open the home with safe staffing numbers. Our recruitment will continue as we admit residents and our service evolves. Staffing numbers at Elliscombe House are based on our residents' dependency, promoting safe care throughout. Our staff team practice a person-centred approach to our residents, which is fundamental to quality care and support. Both of these practices affect staffing numbers; at full occupancy we expect to have a minimum of 40 staff in total.

How many of your staff are registered nurses?

Both the Deputy Manager and I are experienced practising Nurses, whilst our wider care staff team is a mixture of Registered Nurses and Health Care Assistants, with a Registered Nurse on duty 24 hours a day.

How did you find your new team?

As with so many things, it has taken a variety of methods to find our team! We used a care specialist recruitment agency with whom I already had a relationship to find many of the staff, whilst others have contacted us directly after learning about Elliscombe House through the media or their friends and family. I have also kept in touch with some former colleagues of mine, and I'm delighted that several of these have chosen to apply for roles with us.

How easy has it been to recruit your staff?

Finding a whole new team was equally exciting and terrifying. I was acutely aware of the importance of finding the right team, to enable us to deliver the quality of service and high standard of care we provide at Elliscombe House. I also needed to ensure that the candidates I chose not only had the appropriate skills sets and experience, but that they embodied our values and would contribute towards creating our vision.

Using a care recruitment agency has been invaluable in this process. Our account manager, Louise from Osa, is someone I have built a relationship with over a number of years. She therefore understands my expectations and standards, and the values which I think are essential in my staff team. Despite the challenges currently facing the Health and Social Care sector, Louise was able to find high-quality candidates who matched our requirements. By understanding our vision she has been able to attract candidates who want to work at Elliscombe House, and it has been exciting seeing the team building and developing. Together we have focused on identifying individual strengths, to ensure we have built a high-quality, diverse team.

How about your non-care staff?

We took the same approach recruiting non-care staff as we did recruiting care staff. At Elliscombe House our residents are our highest priority, so even staff who will not be directly delivering care will play a big part in the experience offered to our residents. Louise and I worked together to ensure that the candidates had the required skill sets for each role, whether it was housekeeper or gardener, along with the qualities and values we were looking for.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans for the future are exciting! We have a unique opportunity to build a wonderful service focused on delivering high quality, person-centred care, and offering experiences to our residents you simply don't find anywhere else. But it's not just our residents who are important. Our staffing team can expect to be empowered, supported and encouraged to be the best versions of themselves, and whether that means developing their careers with Elliscombe House or gaining experience with us before pursuing ambitions and dreams elsewhere, we will celebrate with them.

I naturally hope that everyone who joins our team is as excited about this journey as I am, and we look forward to working together. My ambition is that as Elliscombe House's reputation grows as a provider of excellent nursing care and as a caring employer, it will mean we are recommended, and staff will want to come and work for us in the future should we experience vacancies.

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