10 Questions with... Stacey McCann
Each issue we ask an industry professional the Tomorrow’s Care 10 Questions. This month, we chatted to Stacey McCann, Chief Operating Officer at Belong care villages, to get her views on the how the sector is changing
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE CARE INDUSTRY? I was educated in Merseyside, training as a nurse and I
worked in the NHS for over 35 years. More recently, I was responsible for the implementation of NHS England’s national nursing, midwifery and care staff framework. Now at Belong, I oversee operations at one of the North West’s leading dementia care specialists.
WHO, IN ANY OTHER INDUSTRY, DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Sir Richard Branson is a great businessman with a
humanitarian outlook, but what resonates with me particularly is the way he ‘lives life to the fullest’, which is a key value and ethos of Belong.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A DINNER PARTY WITH ANY THREE PEOPLE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Gandi would be an incredibly interesting guest, I could sit and listen to him for hours. Of course, Sir Richard Branson would receive an invitation; and the guest of honour would be my late mum, I’d love to speak with her again.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW COMING INTO THE CARE PROFESSION?
Be open-minded and leave pre-conceptions at the door. Care is about supporting people; people with a wealth of life experience and incredible stories. We find it’s our residents who are oſten the ones sharing their knowledge with our colleagues.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE CARE SECTOR COULD BE IMPROVED?
We need improved input from the government. A social care paper and the appropriate funding would be a good place to start. It’s about really considering how older people would like to live, being able to offer them choice and independence, all working towards providing an active and enjoyable later life.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD IT BE?
It would be wonderful to be able to magic-up a break for all care colleagues – I think everyone would agree that this year particularly they are more than deserving of one.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING THE CARE INDUSTRY TODAY?
Staffing. Despite being a great place to build a career, care struggles to attract and retain the volume of support workers needed and presently, the pressures of COVID and mandatory vaccinations are exacerbating the issue.
Also in relation to COVID, for customers, their concerns regarding moving into care settings are very real. We need to provide reassurance to alleviate their apprehension and make them feel safe and confident to get the support they need.
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WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN A FUTURE ISSUE OF TOMORROW’S CARE?
It would be interesting to hear more about how technology is being used to keep people safe, how it supports them to live independently for longer.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE CARE SECTOR?
Care has a huge future, but it needs to adjust to meet changing needs as people live longer. For example, our physical and emotional demands will become more complex – I’m going to be one of those people and I’m already considering, ‘where would I like to live and how will I choose to be supported?’.
I also believe the gap in care provision starting in the home will widen. People are choosing to have children later in life, or not at all, and so, family support may not be as prevalent in the future. This is why it’s imperative our government prioritises the industry and ensures its needs are met.
DR. LINDA HARRIS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AT SPECTRUM COMMUNITY HEALTH CIC, ASKED:
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES MAY BE FOR THE GREATER USE AND ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CARE SECTOR? From a customer welfare viewpoint, the use of technology in care presents both opportunity and a concern. It can be used to enhance wellbeing, for example, smart speakers can provide a degree of companionship.
At the same time, it cannot be used as a substitute for personal and physical human interaction. A spontaneous chat with a resident has massive impact on their wellbeing. If we leave it to technology to tell us when to make contact, there is a risk this can be detrimental to health. It’s about finding the right balance and using it where appropriate to meet the needs of the individual.
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