Care & Nursing Essentials editor Victoria Galligan spoke to Vanessa Read, managing director of residential care home provider Omega Elifar to find out how the organisation is built around its motto: Every Life Is For A Reason…
I read on the Omega Elifar website about your founder’s history and her time at a children’s care home. Could you describe why the late Hilary Marsden wanted to improve care for youngsters in the 1970s?
As a nurse working in a home for children with severe leaning and physical disabilities, Hilary witnessed first-hand the poor practices and conditions that appeared to be acceptable in the 1970s. She wanted to improve the lives of those children and to ensure that they were integrated into everyday society - enabling families, friends, and especially the children themselves to feel that they were worthy and respected members of the community – and so the ELIFAR (Every Life Is For a Reason) journey began.
How have Omega Elifar put these ideas into practice over the years?
We strive to embody the same ethos that Hilary established back in 1970, although this can be difficult at times due to the changing regulations and financial constraints.
Do you think as a society we are focused enough on the care of elderly and/or disabled people?
Due to changes in working arrangements and the expectations placed on individuals by media and culture, we, as a society, have begun to lose sight of the family unit. In the past, individuals requiring care or extra support were cared for by family members, and for many years, this was the foundation of a caring society. As this foundation has eroded, society has turned its attention to other things, and those who require care, especially the elderly and people with disabilities, have become increasingly vulnerable.
Are policy makers doing enough to support people in independent living properties?
I think policy makers are trying their best to support people and allow them to be as independent in their own homes as possible. However, they are faced with financial constraints, and this has an impact on the quality and number of properties that are available for people with disabilities.
What makes The Firefly Club stand out from other care homes?
The Firefly Club offers a different model of care for the elderly and people with disabilities. By pioneering a smaller care model, we are able to take a more thorough, person-centred approach and provide a high staff-to-resident ratio that ensures residents receive the care and support they require. Living at The Firefly Club is about living your life to the fullest, and our on-site activity suite and therapy sessions – along with new technologies utilised throughout the development – facilitate this and allow individuals to both explore and continue their hobbies and interests.
What qualifications/training do staff at The Firefly Club have?
Our Service Manager, Hannah Whiteman, is qualified to NVQ 5 level and has 10 years of experience, both within the community and in a residential setting. We recruit staff members with both NVQ 2 and NVQ 3 qualification who also have relevant experience to support. This is to ensure that the our team have the experience and training that they require to support residents effectively. We also welcome newcomers with a calling to care, who are further supported by the staff team and must complete the Care Certificate during their probation period before moving on to NVQ qualifications.
What are your plans for the future of The Firefly Club and the rest of the company?
Omega Elifar has a history of providing care to the vulnerable in society. We seek to build on this reputation and to ensure that we continue to provide safe, effective, and person-centred care to all of the adults in our care – whatever their level of need, presently or in the future. As a company, we seek to enable and facilitate individuals to live a colourful and active life for their whole life.
For us, it’s not about being the biggest but about ensuring that we provide high-quality care and are faithful to those individuals who have entrusted us with their wellbeing and security. Omega Elifar have also committed to supporting the Care Workers Charity and will be getting progressively more involved in its sponsorship and promotion.
For more information on Omega Elifar, click here and see the Firefly Club here.
Firefly Club Photos: Christopher Lanaway Photography